"he wanted a laptop with a large screen that was powerful, not a Fisher-Price 'my first computer', he probably want s ot do something revolutionary, like play games on it."
Actually he doesn't want anything at all. He doesn't exist. He's imaginary. This is an advert. Giampaolo is a projection of what Microsoft hopes the customer looks like.
I actually find that an ever diminishing number of regular users want these gigantic old clunkers, with their huge screens and their big keyboards, all that top-flight, wizz-bang crap inside of them. The fact that ALL of the remaining people, who still want these toy mainframes, read the Register, (and that half of them own a Mac) is why we have these debates; but that doesn't change the fact that we are becoming a cultural irrelevance. People, like us, look at best sellers and ask "Who the hell would want that?" But flip it around: what normal peron would want a gigantic "laptop" with a graphics processor that uses almost as much electricity and produces almost as much noise, as an electric drill? Jesus, dude, you want to play games, buy a console!
Normal people don't buy the kind of shit, we buy, anymore, because we're not normal. that's why we're sitting here reading comments, about an article, about an advert, in which an imaginary man buys a computer. Normal people don't do that. Microsoft appear to have decided to take Apple on, in an increasingly diminishing top-end, ubergeeky marketplace, in which things like price don't really matter as much as on-the-fly defrag, hot-zoning, and graphic-processing based on postscript: all that mad nonsense, WE care about. What normal person would use "Well, it's based on Unix...", as any kind of positive or negative argument, with regards buying a product?
I think Microsoft will lose, here, because, frankly, their software really is a bit of a honker, isn't it? Sure, you can become a specialist in keeping it running, buy it's a bit like becoming an expert in maintaining Italian car electrics (the question is not how it coud be done so well, but why it should be done at all).
All Apple will retain, however, is the ability to carry on selling the same number of niche, high-end machines, to people who care - same as they have done for the last three decades. Difference is, that Apple have diversified (albeit into making products whose popularity baffles many of us geeks) whereas Zune and Windows phones.... Well, even WE can see that they're honkers, can't we?