In Pictures: Microsoft's 13 biggest wins and fails of 2012

It's been a busy year for Microsoft, including its challenges to Apple and Google on mobility

Win: Windows Phone 8 makes a fine OS even better

Circumstantial data suggests that the Windows Phone platform has experienced an uptick in user adoption over the past two months, which has to be a relief for Microsoft. Despite a good first effort, Windows Phone 7 never took off, and the future remains uncertain for Windows Phone 8.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has put its best foot forward with Windows Phone 8, which offers a fun, eminently functional operating system loaded with cool new features, including a customizable lock screen; built-in mobile versions of Office apps; always-on Skype integration; seamless file syncing across the whole Windows ecosystem; and Kids Corner, a feature that cordons off a child-safe area on any parent's phone.

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