Spotlight: Eye Candy

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Last month, Seattle Business contributor Skip Ferderber wondered if Microsoft would ever be the cool kid in class (read it here). Just as that story in our July issue hit the newsstands, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the new Surface, a tablet/PC designed to rival the coolness and cachet of Apple’s iPad.

Whether the Surface can capture a significant share of the tablet market is still open to question. At press time, Microsoft hadn’t disclosed what it plans to charge for the two versions of the device or what the Surface’s battery life is. Some reviewers even suggested that the Surface, designed completely in house, may constitute an ill-advised thumbing of the nose to longtime Microsoft hardware partners like Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard. Nevertheless, plenty of technophiles gushed over the clever design of the Surface, calling it “sleek” and “innovative” for its built-in kickstand and a keyboard that doubles as a cover.

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Susan Gates, left, and Kate Isler

Longtime friends Kate Isler and Susan Gates encourage consumers to shop with purpose