Microsoft Gets It

Ah ha! Redmond gets it!

Months ago, if you were to ask “what do you like about Apple, Mac, and iDevices that you cannot get on the PC platform?” my reply would have been “tight cloud-app integration across all platforms.” At that point in time, if Apple hadn’t already pushed iCloud to all four corners of their desktop and mobile OSes, they were planning to, and that really excited me.

As a PC user with an Android phone, I was becoming frustrated with the hoops I had to jump through, the workarounds I had to create, to try to streamline my e-mail, reminders, calendaring, and contacts across my PC, laptop, and smartphone. Nothing worked particularly well. Windows Phone was an attractive device in and of itself, but it was not backed by powerful, comprehensive, and fully-connected cloud applications on the back-end, and the device ecosystem was spotty — no PC tablets to compete with iPad and Android devices, and desktop OS support was kludgy.

Now, ta-da! It seems Microsoft has gotten their act together, and they’re now pushing a suite of inter-connected services starting with Outlook.com. This is replacing Hotmail for e-mail, and boy, it’s been a long time coming. Skydrive is also playing a part, and it appears they will be bringing their People (contacts) and Calendar pieces into the mix, too. This should all play nicely with their Windows 8 counterparts on upcoming tablets and smartphones. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been excited about any of Microsoft’s initiatives (aside from Windows 7, which was a much-welcomed, iterative improvement over Windows Vista), but yes, I’m excited.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very tempted by Apple’s next iPhone. If the rumors are true, it will be a worthy successor to the 4S. I won’t be there on launch day with a fistful of dollars, however. I want to see what the lineup of new Windows Phones will be like, and may well pick up a “Pro” version of the Surface tablet when it debuts…

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