What if Microsoft gave up on devices and went all in on services for iPhones and iPads?

Right now Apple makes money on their own devices like the iPhone and iPad, Google makes money on the advertising attached to services for everyone, and Microsoft struggles for breath somewhere in between. What if Microsoft decided to cede the device market and become a full-on competitor to Google in the services space? What if they leveraged their cloud-savvy to provide a true online alternative for iPad and iPhone users, and maybe even Android (AOSP) as well? Ben Thompson writing for Statechery:

  • Apple makes money when you buy devices, and they differentiate those devices by making their own operating system. This incentivizes them to make the best devices and best operating system, and, in my opinion, they do
  • Google makes money when you access their services. This incentivizes them to make their services available, with the best possible implementation, everywhere, regardless of device. And, in my opinion, they do

In this context, Microsoft is divided against itself, licensing Exchange — and maybe even bringing Office to iPad to help services but hurt Windows Phone, keeping Halo on mobile exclusive to help Windows but hurt software sales revenue. Read Thompsons's piece, and then come back here and let me know — would you rather Microsoft go all in on devices against Apple, all in on services against Google, or continue to try and do both?