It's easy to rib Microsoft for copying Apple, and seeing the two stores side by side does make Team Redmond look a bit pathetic. But in business, losing face isn't as important as making money. And after visiting a couple Microsoft stores, I'm convinced they'll help Microsoft bring in more cash.
I love the Surface. And that's true even though I know very little about it. ... I was only permitted to touch the device while the machine was powered off. ... despite all these unknowns, I'm already deeply smitten. Not because the Surface is so great — though it seems like it might be — but because it represents a new and potentially powerful force in the tech industry.
[W]hile Apple has slowed its design cadence, its rivals have sped up. ... Over the course of a few months, Samsung put out several design refinements, culminating in the Note 7, a big phone that has been universally praised by critics.
For some time now, Apple has faced questions about its growth and what rabbits it can pull out of its hat next ... Apple's immediate future looks sunny, but its long-term outlook has begun to look partly cloudy. In a world that seems to care less and less about beautiful hardware and more about services that help you from afar, over the air, without your ever having to touch a machine, Apple risks becoming an anachronism.