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From Windows 8.1 to Surface 2 and beyond: What Microsoft's ecosystem needs to thrive

Mark Hachman | Oct. 23, 2013
We look at the areas where each Microsoft product line needs to improve.

Consumers will likely care little about that laundry list of products. But Microsoft is selling a belief that its cloud technology can get the job done in a way that's simple and robust enough to lure both startups and large enterprises. Meanwhile, tools like Visual Studio are critical to ensuring that third-party developers make the apps that enrich our consumer platforms.

But that brings us back to the obvious hole in Microsoft's ecosystem: the lack of third-party apps that tie in with Microsoft's services. A random Android game like Flick Golf is a nice time-waster on its own. But publish a user's activity and scores to the Xbox platform, and you cross-pollinate both the app and the Xbox platform.

Microsoft isn't going to step forward and say, "Hey! Buy a Surface—it has the same browser as your Xbox!" But it needs to do a better job of telling you that when you own an Xbox and a Windows PC and even a Windows Phone, the sum of your purchases will be greater than the parts. And until it does that, Microsoft is going to struggle.


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