Microsoft has applied for a patent for a distributed operating system that matches the description of one its researchers have been developing, known as "Helios". The patent application, dated March 2009, is for "an operating system distributed over heterogeneous platforms."
From the patent abstract: "An illustrative OS distributes two or more instances of the OS over heterogeneous platforms of a computing device. The instances of the os work together to provide single-kernel semantics to present a common os abstraction to app modules. The heterogeneous platforms may include co-processors that use different instruction set architectures and/or functionality, different NUMA domains, etc. Further, the os allows app modules to transparently access components using a local communication path and a remote communication path. Further, the os includes a policy manager module that determines the placement of components based on affinity values associated with interaction relations between components. The affinity values express the sensitivity of the interaction relations to a relative location of the components."