A window does no good unless there's a view one the other side. We had a huge picture window in our old house that overlooked the apartment complex across the street. Needless to say, we kept that window shuttered most of the time.
The new Windows view, as it were, is a robust set of back-end services, ranging from the Windows Azure hosted services to Office 365 and, for consumers, the Xbox and other Microsoft entertainment sites. Microsoft has historically been much stronger than Apple or Google on enterprise class back-end services. Expect the company to push on this advantage sharply.
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This is still rudimentary compared to how it will grow over time. This is also where we are likely to see the biggest changes and advancements going forward, coming from a curated app store which, like the Apple App Store, prevents many kinds of malware attacks and significantly raises platform reliability.
Building Better Hardware to Go With Better Software
Through the years, Microsoft has had one sustaining problem: The quality of the solutions that use Microsoft products has varied tremendously but generally fallen well below Apple or IBM solutions. Microsoft found that, by setting lofty specifications for hardware, quality rose sharply, but OEMs tended to blame Redmond for problems that appeared to be sourced from OEM practices, such as installing on PCs ad-funded applications that were poorly designed or nearly impossible to remove, leaving PCs infected before the box is even opened.
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So Microsoft is beginning a gradual move into hardware-most notably with the Microsoft Surface-in an effort to significantly increase the perceived quality of the resulting solutions. Zune stands as an example that this may not work, while the Xbox shows that it might. Regardless, this is clearly a step in a different direction.
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