Ecosytem - what is it?

This is a direct response to criticism leveled at the score Microsoft Surface received for ecosystem.

Firstly, ecosystem expands well beyond any hardware considerations. It is all of a piece. The word ecosystem actually applies to biomes and habitats and it is an analogy that is easily transferable to today's tech companies.

If we consider Apple, Google and Microsoft to be ecosystems (which is becoming increasingly prevalent,) then the software and hardware they create are, respectively, the habitats and wildlife of that ecosystem.

Apple has MacOSX and iOS, Google? Chrome OS and Android. Microsoft : Windows, Windows Phone and Windows RT.

When a piece of hardware is judged on ecosystem, it's a judgement on how well the device performs, or even 'survives' in its given habitat, not a commentary on Microsoft's ecosystem as a whole. The Surface RT does not have legacy support, and while it is a capable device, it's only real source of sustenance is the app store. Which is sparse and pretty barren I think we can agree. Does that really seem a stretch? That this device, which is really based on a completely new piece of software be considered on what it has available through the app store, it being the primary way to expand its capabilities? Just because it lives in the Microsoft ecosystem and shares a common code with MS's other habitats - doesn't mean we should treat it in the same category.

What about hardware? Well, is it the RT that supports those USB devices, or the other way around? How many USB devices are design-specific towards the tablet? None, is the answer. I know it's not proprietary, but along with this new Windows form factor it needs hardware peripherals that are in-keeping with that form.

As far as the habitat and wildlife analogy goes - it is the Surface Pro that will be a different beast altogether, it shares habitat with the RT, while having its own, one that has been around for an age. It is a laptop in a new form factor - and it is here where Windows 8 will shine.