It is comical to see how Microsoft always plays catch up to the trends that 'catch them by surprise' on an unerringly common basis. Whether they can turn around their rudderless boat is anyone's guess but I do hope they do (I do love a multi-Billion dollar underdog).
After having a pretty good lead in the smart phone market, Microsoft had squandered their market share and now are playing catch up (once again) to attempt to squeeze out a single-percent share of the market with their new Windows Phone. This reactionary strategy involved going into partnership with an ailing phone company that had also squandered their market share through a lack of innovation and forward movement. To sweeten the deal, Microsoft paid Nokia more than $1 Billion for exclusivity.
Now, as part of their strategy to react to a burgeoning ebook market, they have gone into business with Barnes & Noble who are presently playing second fiddle to Amazon and has paid approximately 300 million for the privilege. Whether two average companies makes one competent one is anyone's guess, but it would be good for there to be at least two major players to keep the other from gouging the authors, publishers and consumers. Well, here's to competition - cheers!