As we've seen in a number of retrospective articles, the Xbox and Xbox 360 are held up as an area where Microsoft got it right, but Kelly points out the closed model of the Xbox 360 and how this benefits Microsoft and the end users.
The signs have been there for some time. With the Xbox Microsoft took control of hardware and software for the first time. It could be argued this was necessary given the intrinsically locked down nature of consoles, but Microsoft could have easily employed the same system Sky uses for its set-top boxes and had them built to specific requirements by third parties.
More to the point it took control of peripherals to an extent where 'Made for iPod' looked positively liberal, and it ventured in a direction even infamous control freak Sony dared not tread: locking down hard drive upgrades. What Microsoft produced were neat, overpriced modules which the company justified by claiming such measures were needed to guarantee they 'just worked'. Sound familiar?
...and then there's Zune:
Microsoft's next big assault was the iPod. It chose once again to control both hardware and software, but the approach garnered few headlines because the resultant Zune was such a failure.
I'd argue that the Zune project taught Microsoft a lot, and part of Windows Phone is the iteration of the Zune and Zune HD players. It might not have made stellar sales, but it's an important link in the history of Microsoft and mobile devices.
Still, the point stands, the recent history of Microsoft is following a pretty consistent path towards a model that looks remarkably like Apple - and also has many echoes with Google's use of a Google ID, central application store, and "suggested" hardware requirements for manufacturers. It's not a black and white copy from someone else (no business model is), but Microsoft have used this style before, it worked then, and they're looking to replicate it on Windows Phone.