I never thought I'd ever hear myself utter such words post-1995. But after Monday's reveal of the Surface tablet—complete with an ultra-thin, pressure-sensitive keyboard cover and the most discreet integrated kickstand ever—and today's Windows Phone 8 announcement—which will be based on the same underpinnings as the Windows RT part of Windows 8—I'm a believer that Microsoft is the most innovative consumer tech company right now.
And it isn't just this week's announcements that did it. This has been building all year. There's Windows 8, Xbox Live, Skydrive, Kinect, SmartGlass; even Hotmail stepped up its game. The Surface, and now Windows Phone 8, merely feel like the culmination—or maybe the fulfillment—of what Microsoft has been poking and prodding at for the past six years when it first introduced the Xbox 360.