Open Thread: Microsoft Health's Big Advantage Is Cross-Platform Support

Stuart Dredge | The Guardian | October 31, 2014

Have your say on latest health-tracking service, as well as Chinese copyright, running robots and crash test dummies

Microsoft has been winning generally approving headlines for its Microsoft Band fitness tracker and accompanying Microsoft Health platform, since both were revealed – seemingly unintentionally at first – on Wednesday.  One of the key points about both hardware and software is their cross-platform nature: they won’t just be restricted to people with a Windows Phone smartphone and/or a computer running the Windows OS. They’ll also support Android, iOS and Mac.

Microsoft Health is also open to other devices and apps, with Jawbone’s Up and the apps MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper the first to be announced.  “We plan to have a regular cadence of Microsoft Health announcements including additional device and service partnerships, SDK availability and additional cross-platform applications and services,” blogged Microsoft’s Todd Holmdahl.

Integrating other fitness apps isn’t unusual: it’s an approach also being taken by Apple’s Health app and HealthKit API, as well as Google Fit, which also launched this week. Meanwhile, hardware makers including Fitbit, Withings and Jawbone have built a network of data-sharing deals to work with apps beyond their own.  Even so, Microsoft Health’s commitment to cross-platform is notable, if perhaps essential given the relatively small market share of Windows Phone...