Why Microsoft should have copied Google's mobile model

Sure, the keyboard options are innovative, but not really ground-breaking considering what Asus was doing with its Transformer tablets 18 months previously.

There aren't any software exclusives to draw in the early adopters, and so it's left having to convince people that it has made a great piece of hardware as the main selling point.

And while many will agree that the Surface is indeed a great bit of hardware, it's not accompanied by a smartphone sibling that would give MS the unified range of devices it so sorely needs to compete directly with Google.

It must be said there are some excellent Nokia Lumia and HTC Windows Phone 8 handsets out there, such as the HTC Windows Phone 8X. But without MS branding on the devices, it is yet again relying on third-parties to deliver the results, and MS isn't directly benefiting from any of it.

All about the ecosystem

For the mainstream to jump ship and embrace the Surface as well as Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, Microsoft needs to offer an ecosystem that's recognisable across multiple devices, much like Google's.

With Microsoft, it's hard to know where to start. Hotmail is still a hugely successful webmail service (although Gmail finally overtook it last year), but Microsoft has been trying to rebrand it as Outlook in order to tie it in more closely to Windows 8.

Cloud service SkyDrive is also a distinctly average affair - possibly deliberately so in order to protect Office. And as for media, it's hard to know exactly what is on offer.

The only exciting thing MS has up its sleeve at the moment is SmartGlass integration with Xbox. If implemented properly, this could be a really attractive feature for Windows Phone and Surface users, acting as a second screen and user interface extension for the hugely popular Xbox Live gaming platform.

Microsoft are still a long way from offering a consumer-friendly cloud service that unifies files, settings and other stuff across all Windows devices. Windows Phone 8 takes further strides towards this - and alongside Windows 8 certainly lays some of the groundwork for a brighter mobile future - but you can't help feeling that Microsoft is trailing in Google's wake.