Re: Anybody else?
It's not so much losing the plot, it's just that the old plot stopped working.
Windows 7 was their problem release. People liked it. They didn't want something different. MS has always depended on forcing something new on people because that way they have to buy upgrades or new H/W with the new version pre-installed. When the customers decided they wanted to stick with W7 that broke the business plan.
They could always try a new plot: delivering what customers want.
People certainly did like it, and to every normal person that is a sign of "being onto a good thing". MS were mad for not building on that. Instead Bonkers Balmer decided that a unified desktop / mobile strategy was the way forward which was odd because their competitor (Apple) was making a ton of cash doing the opposite... And they still are.
Part of that was down to shareholder pressure - MS had to do something in the mobile market. Anything but Win 8 would have been ok...
There's a lot of talk these days about the decline of the PC and how we've got no use for them these days. A large part of the decline is down to Win 8, 8.1, 10. I don't buy the argument that people don't want a laptop, desktop type machine in their lives; hipsters in coffee shops with MacBooks are (nearly) living proof of that. People want and need that type of machine, they just don't want it to be Win10.
MS like to claim Win10 is a market success, but I'm not convinced that they've actually sold that much beyond pre installs. The figures MS give out are strikingly similar to the number of PCs the world sells each year...
Anyway, how can something be a market success when that market is shrinking? Win 10 ought to be growing the PC market, not taking over a shrinking market.
In a way MS are like the American car manufacturers vs Toyota. Toyota worked out that what most people want is reliability, comfort, good value for money, economy and high quality, with sporty performance being a distant irrelevance. American auto makers tried to apply the same systems engineering process that Toyota used, didn't believe the results, and ended up making the same old rubbish. Toyota are the biggest car maker in the world, dull/boring can sell really well...
What We Want
We want a well sorted, easy on the eye, familiar, properly supported desktop OS with strong hardware support, no advertising, with a bog standard WIMP interface. Just like Win 7 in fact. We'd even be prepared to pay retail for it.
I don't buy the argument that Linux can be / is this thing. There's too much diversity, hardware support is patchy, GNOME 3 is diabolically bad (file manager?), it doesn't even do sound consistently, there's no good office suite, there's no decent email / contacts / calendar tool, etc. And then there's the whole APT, YUM, tarball, Auto tools thing. It's a horrible mess. It's no surprise that RHEL gets picked by the big software manufacturers as the one distro they support. It's just impossible to support all of Linux in a way that doesn't require the end user to be prepared to do a lot of command line administration.
Apple Mac isn't a bad option, except they've really dropped the ball on their hardware. Mac books, iMacs and Mac Pros are very antiquated these days. Mac Pro is now, what, 4 Intel CPU and 5 GPU generations behind the curve?
Microsoft have left a yawning chasm of an opportunity for Apple to supply Just a Desktop OS (tm) on decent hardware that isn't an Ad platform. OS-X has yet to succumb to ad funded trend being pursued by MS with Win 10. If Apple update their kit, I'm sorely tempted.