"Do you honestly think I come to work and say to myself “how can I kill [D] and offer him a death by a thousand cuts”?"
No, Steven, I think that you designed an operating system with nobody but the consumer in mind. Professionals of various stripes were seen as "the edges of the bell curve." By not being "the majority," providing the tools they need to do work efficiently and without impediment is not a priority: building an operating system geared towards easy consumption of content is.
There is validity to the argument that "you can buy third-party tools to modify Windows." XYPlorer for explorer, Classic Shell for the Start Menu, Firefox or Chrome to get a real browser. I think, however, that this misses the point. By not having proper tools - which you used to have, just by the by - embedded into the base operating system, professionals are denied the ability to use workstations belonging to others.
In a sane and rational world, given the technology available to us here in 2012, this wouldn't be a problem. We would use solutions similar to VDI to solve this issue; we could have a cloud-based user experience migration tool, or even full blown-drag-the-screen-across-RDP VDI. Unfortunately, Microsoft's glorious please-kill-them-with-fire licensing department demands a difficult-to-find number of virgins to be sacrificed at equinoxes into even more rare volcanoes before you are allowed to do anything.
Any you'll pay a yearly subscription with a 6-year TCO nearly five times the buy-to-own fee to do it.
Microsoft wants to be on every machine, and take a significant rake from that presence. They want a fee if you use their stuff remotely, and a different one if you use it under different circumstances. They want a fee if you don't use their stuff and a different fee if there is a combination of stuff in play. They really – really – don't want you under any circumstances to use VDI. Have you tried touch? There's this nice Surface…
The issue with this, of course, is that your now fondle-friendly consumptive* operating system if absolute fucking pants at anything approaching user experience migration excepting under some very specific and carefully massaged circumstances. If you're part of a domain, there's a good pipe, storage with adequate IOPS, all your apps are certified (and even then, chicken entrails are required,) you have your GPOs, third-party wrappers and so forth set up…you might be able to take your desktop, apps, configuration, look-and-feel, third-party explorer apps, Classic Shell and so forth with you from physical endpoint to physical endpoint.
Congratulations, Microsoft, you have successfully failed to live up to the standards of mounting /home/%username% on a remote system, or using bloody rsync properly.
15 years after you started trying.
But lo! You are the monopoly, you don't have to worry about these bell curve edges. They are but rounding errors, grouchy internet commenters and so forth, no? Analysts will flock to your cause and cheer you on because you have targeted "the majority" with an operating system that removes the barriers of "thinking" and replaces them with an excellent tool to consume both of the pieces of content you have managed to secure for distribution on Xbox live. Hookers and blow for everyone!
Well that's great, Steve. I know you didn't walk into work every day trying to ruin D – or my, or anyone else's – day. We just didn't matter to you. We don't matter to your replacement, your former boss or the overwhelming majority of people who work there.
We're nerds. Professionals. We have these weird needs and angsty desires to get shit done. It's amazing how much of a pain in the ass that is, because when someone doesn't provide us the tools to do something, we build the fucking things ourselves.**
We don't matter on the balance sheet. Yet.
Very soon here, however, you're going to be reminded of what happens when you let engineers design a tool to increase productivity and save end users money. Once the world is reminded why it was we made these damned computers in the first place, the Microsoft, Apple and the rest of you geniuses that let "user interface experts" take control…you folks are fucked.*
* Consume what, exactly? You can't get licences for the digital enjoyment of fucking anything. Especially if you live in Canada, where the few pitiful things that are on offer to Americans – streaming only at some ungodly price, natch – "aren't available in your region."
** When a vendor gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make the vendor take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give a sysadmin lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your business model down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a product that does what yours does in a third the time with a tenth the effort for half the price.
***Lots of people are going to moan "it's impossible to challenge Microsoft" or some other such tosh. Bull. If enough of the right people are irritate enough, you'd be surprised exactly how fast a decent competitor can spring up. Even for an operating system. Ask Research In Motion, Novell or Yahoo about the permanence of market dominance and the lack of incentive for innovation some day, hmmm?