You can, of course, download various e-reader apps such as the Kindle or Nook for your computer, tablet or phone, and buy books from Amazon and from Barnes & Noble. But that's really just tapping into someone else's ecosystem, not making use of Microsoft's.
In short, Microsoft falls well behind all of its competitors when it comes to buying magazines and books.
Unless you're a hard-core gamer or industry-watcher, you might not know that gaming is a big business -- a very big business. Microsoft estimates that $65 billion is spent annually on gaming: $27 billion on console-based gaming, $12 billion on PC-based gaming, $10 billion on mobile and tablet gaming, $8 billion on social networking/browser-based gaming and $8 billion on handheld device-based gaming. Who's strongest in which category? Which ecosystem is best positioned for the future?
Amazon's gaming strategy can be summed up in a single sentence: Buy games and gaming hardware from the site. And it must be admitted that the selection, like everything else at Amazon, is substantial. Name a game and you'll find it; name gaming hardware and you'll find it. You can buy not just boxed games, but downloadable ones as well.
Unlike Microsoft, Amazon doesn't have a gaming hardware platform. Certainly, the Kindle -- one of the very few hardware devices that bears Amazon's imprimatur -- isn't highly powered enough to be a true gaming platform like Microsoft's Xbox. And because the Kindle app store is a closed store, curated by Amazon, the selection of Android games you can download and play on it are limited compared to what you can get on other Android devices via Google Play.
In short, Amazon doesn't really have what can be called a gaming ecosystem. Instead, it sells game-related hardware and software, and lets you play a selection of games on the Kindle. Overall, this is Amazon's weakest part of its entertainment ecosystem.
Of the 850,000-plus apps currently in the App Store, over 144,000 titles are dedicated to gaming (this figure includes "lite" versions and demos). The number of games isn't indicative of quality, of course, but one can't deny that iOS has been a launching platform for some really great games, both casual and immersive.
Every genre is catered for with the staggering amount of games available. From Tetris to Minecraft, from Grand Theft Auto to Poker, from CSR Racing to Letterpress to Injustice: Gods Among Us, there's a game in the App Store for everyone.
The breadth of games available has spurned an interesting side effect, and that is a plethora of third-party gaming accessories. There are wireless controllers, steering wheels and joysticks; device cases with controllers built in; classic board games like Monopoly that utilize iOS devices to add another level of interactivity; as well as model helicopters, drones and vehicles that can be operated by iOS devices.