Smarter still while app developers have been slow to embrace Windows Phone, Windows itself has a vastly bigger and more lucrative audience and version eight of both platforms will share Windows Marketplace and the same kernel allowing apps to be quickly ported from one to the other. If you're making a Windows 8 app now why wouldn't you make a Windows Phone 8 equivalent?
We've got it covered
Taking this unification even further is the push towards universal touchscreen and Kinect interaction, the continued expansion of Bing, core Skype integration, the potential of SmartGlass, Xbox Live and the Xbox 720 - which is virtually assured to be a huge hit. Where do rivals stand by comparison? Apple may have influence in PCs, tablets and phones, but it lacks search capabilities, a universal UI and a true games console. As for Google it has phones and search, but Chrome OS has virtually no take-up, there's no games console and even with the Nexus 7 the company is still taking early (if drastic) steps with tablets. In terms of a truly unified end-to-end solution Microsoft is unmatched.
Interestingly and perhaps for the first time, Microsoft also thinks it has all the answers and isn't willing to risk third parties messing things up. Consequently following the launch of Xbox, where Microsoft took control of both hardware and software to great affect, it has slowly built an Apple worthy vice-like grip on partners. Only the Zune has faltered since with Microsoft also enforcing every spec and design aspect for Windows Phone handsets and Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT devices of which the Surface tablet is just the latest powerful template. Meanwhile Windows Marketplace app developers continue to exist under conditions Google execs would consider despotic. Yes Microsoft will still use the scale licensing its wares provides, but the trust has gone. Once bitten, twice shy.
Believe the hype?
All of which brings us back to those Q4 earnings. Discussing them much lambasted and lampooned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer proclaimed: "We delivered record fourth quarter and annual revenue, and we're fast approaching the most exciting launch season in Microsoft history. Over the coming year, we'll release the next versions of Windows, Office, Windows Server, Windows Phone, and many other products and services that will drive our business forward and provide unprecedented opportunity to our customers and partners."
For once his hot headed enthusiasm does not smack of hyperbole…