One of the perennial questions about Windows 8 -- and one that many Microsoft watchers asked yet again last week after Microsoft's latest disclosures on Windows on ARM -- is what the Softies think they have to one-up the iPad.
During an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference on February 15, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein offered some more color on Microsoft's plans to stand out from other tablet/PC competitors.
Services, including search; various consumer and enterprise cloud services; and entertainment services like those provided by Xbox Live are going to be key differentiators, Klein said, and will help drive device pick-up with Windows 8.
Microsoft has a growing set of both kinds of services that it will provide to users at home, at work and at play. As Microsoft officials have said before, the grand plan is to offer a core set of services across all kinds of screens: Phones, PCs, tablets and TVs. Microsoft also plans to offer its users common calendaring, email, photo, music, video, gaming and communication services, he said.
The "most fundamental service (category) across devices is communication," Klein told Goldman conference attendees (and those of us watching via the Webcast). Skype extends mail, messaging, voice and video, he said.
Office is another such category/set of experiences that will span all kinds of device types, he said. When asked whether Microsoft was planning to provide Office on iPad, Klein simply said that Microsoft believes it has a "great tablet experience with Office."
On March 6, there will be a day-long event aimed at "professional developers who build games and entertainment applications for Xbox 360 and Kinect, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the web," according to a Microsoft blog post.
"Developers will learn about the new Windows 8 Metro style application platform and new Xbox LIVE services that deliver breakthrough entertainment experiences across all of Microsoft's entertainment platforms," the post added.