Do my research? Well I have, long before this article and as far as I can see the worst thing microsoft do is throw lots of money at a problem until it goes away. Underhanded and dirty tactics yes, but far from the worst things they could do.
Apple: Knowingly utilise child labour in China
Coca-cola: Purchase and deny access to the local water supply in India causing famine, disease and many deaths AND funding Columbian militias to torture and kill and worker and their families if they even think about joining a union.
Nestle: Refuse to do anything about the child labour being used in their plantations in the Ivory Coast
Dow Chemicals: Dumping of illegal toxic chemicals into populated areas
Pfizer pharmaceuticals: Knowingly terminate promising lines of research into killer diseases as it is more profitable to focus on products that relieve syptoms and keep people alive instead of curing them altogether
Wal-Mart: Do I really need to say anything?
And I can think of many more examples
Yet are you frothing at the mouth decrying nestle when you buy a chocolate bar or coffee? Do you protest that Coca-cola are still allowed to sell their product despite their record? How about Exxon deliberately making areas uninhabitable when you fill up your car? Demand Pfizer finish the cures they have almost completed instead of focusing on the more profitable drugs.
If you answer no to any of those, you are a hypocrite. Microsoft may not be a champion of our rights, but they have a long way to go before they deserve the spiteful bile that is regularly poured out in these comments pages. I personally do try and make a stand and wherever possible do not buy from 'evil' corporations. That isn't always possible as they have their claws in so many products you don't even realise, but at least I make the effort. Which is why until Apple stop using child labour in China and using the excuse 'the local laws say it's ok' and use their buying power to enforce some changes that evil shit Jobs won't knowingly get a penny from me.
If you think Microsoft rapes us in the ass - try working abroad under less stringent employee regulations for one of the big companies and then you might actually have something to complain about, only you won't be able to or else you and your family will be silenced. At least with microsoft, if I do decide to give them my money I can do it in the knowledge that some unfortunate isn't suffering just so I can have a more comfortable lifestyle or the latest shiny toy.
So while you may think 'there is plenty of information out there that more than justifies the hatred Microsoft gets.' do YOUR research and overall for a major international corporation, they really aren't that bad.
You did make one good point though 'you don't see so many people ranting as much about other companies'. But you should and people should be ranting much louder to get these companies to change their policies.