re: Can Microsoft Rebound From Surface Flop?
Agreed, with a few minor caveats.
I know some people aren't bothered by the small screen, but I wonder if this group of people will ever constitute more than a niche community. Personally, I use my Win 8 tablet's desktop mode in specific situations--e.g. on a train or airplane, the tablet is more portable than my laptop, so even though the laptop makes it easier to use Word, the tablet is the one I bring. I actually use the tablet's Modern UI substantially more than I use its desktop side. When I want to use a desktop app, I'm most likely to use my Windows 7 laptop or my iMac.
All that side, I've been surprised at how effectively I've been able to use Adobe Lightroom on a Surface Pro. The touch support is a bit awkward-- but at least it's there, which is more than I can say of any other desktop apps. It's actually possible to process and edit a RAW file with a few taps, which is pretty cool-- and not something an iPad can do. I wouldn't attempt pixel-level edits or anything, but if you were, say, a photographer or journalist working on the road, the Surface is a more viable tool than I would have thought. All things being equal, I'd rather fire up Lightroom on a 30-inch monitor, though. Again, niche uses, but not mass market appeal.
Your point about apps-- spot on. Microsoft made news when it announced Win 8 will get a native Facebook app-- and it should have, since Microsoft needs consumers too. But what Windows 8 really lacks are tablet-optimized enterprise apps. For desktop software, I suspect a lot of enterprise users will keep using traditional desktops, at least most of the time, and for at least the next few years. So if Microsoft wants to produce the best business tablet, it needs applications suited to the form factor. For Win 8 tablets, legacy software access has to be a perk, not the primary appeal.