Windows 8 and Cloud Services
Steve Ballmer just mentioned at Microsoft’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders that they are doing some huge scaling operations with Windows 8. During the meeting, a shareholder asked a question about the industry moving to a “post-PC era.” Ballmer responded by saying that we are always in a Windows era, and that “[Microsoft is] driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8.”
This goes in line with previous statements from Microsoft about their efforts to unify the Windows brand on a variety of “screens.” Microsoft has always had a tremendous opportunity to create a very solid ecosystem around Live, Xbox, Zune, Windows, and Office, but for whatever reason, simply haven’t moved on it. This might be some evidence that they are finally going down that road.
I think that Microsoft needs to go down this road in order to stay competitive in literally every market (except gaming) that it plays in. Apple is continuing to integrate it's life organization tools through iCloud. Google is doing the same thing with all of the various Google Apps (Docs, Calendar, etc). Live works really well, but I'm not convinced that very many people use it - mainly because there is no real integration into the Windows operating system.