Rick, "And who gives a "flip" about an Apps Store ??"
You are kidding, right? MS does!!!! Have you ever heard 'it is the apps stupid?'? That is what sells. I don't care what you think about ANY tablet, but what is the BIG differentiators between Apple and other tablets. THE APP STORE!!! And it IS a money maker for Apple and the vendors. Yeah, Apple has a TIGHT control on what the apps are and do, but that is what makes the difference. It isn't the volume either, but the QUALITY.
MS needs the APP STORE to be as good as or better than Apple's or they will have a hard time cracking the tablet market.
Have any of you actually used a tablet? Different animal from a PC, but other than the OS, one can do the same things. Some better, some worse, FAR worse. A tablet, and a phone, are finger devices mostly. Apple now has dictation on the iPad's, good for short e-mails (with some possible edit corrections), and it removes on headache or the need for a keyboard for some.
MS has competition, and they have to do something or the company could be in trouble. Even the model they use for Work and the office suite has changed. Some driven by competition, some due to a new model to retain the revenue stream.
OS's usually have an evolutionary step as they go forward. Think new file systems, or new h/w supported. What will W8 support that is 'new' or contain. No, changing apps and how they work doesn't count.
If everything was 'even' and you had all the apps the same on every OS, people would use what they want, Apple's, Unix variants, Windows, etc. but it isn't like that. You've both got invested apps, training, knowledge, and h/w that has to be supported, and you only have one path to do all this. Yeah, some can 'leave' Windows and do all they want, but not the greater masses of users. We're 'captured' unless we WANT to change.
No, you can't get a computer and choose what you want. That is backwards. You have to decide what you want and then get the computer that delivers that. What you want drives what you use (oh, I think were back to the apps?).