Re: History repeats itself
"M$ have lost the plot. They haven't had a truly viable product for years, and with each month they fall further behind."
Windows 7 has been very well received. If that's not recent enough for you, Azure is doing quite well and seems to be growing. If that's not recent enough for you, Server 2012 has some fantastic new features and is being very well received indeed. Particularly by those interested in virtualisation.
"The much-vaunted "surface" was shown to be an expensive joke"
How? Where? By who? You? Again, a lot of people like the look of it, reviewers seem optimistic and as far as I know prices haven't even been announced. Now that we've seen Office 2013 and know what is meant by "Office Preview" on the WindowsRT version, and it's pretty much the full office as far as 90% of the userbase are concerned, it looks like it's going to fly off the shelves if the pricing is even remotely sane.
"Windows Vista, 7 (and now 8) is just more shiny nonsense stuck on top of the same old broken, rotten core"
You plainly know very little about this, then.
"The programmers with any clue left M$ ten years ago when the marketers took over running the company"
Anyone who writes an operating system - whether Linux, Windows or Mac OS is worth some respect. It's not an easy task at all. You sound like someone who has never even ventured into Systems Programming.
"M$ need to realise that there's nothing cheaper than free"
Actually there is something cheaper than free - paying up front for what you find most suitable and making it back in increased productivity and staff costs. I use Linux for all my servers, but I use MS Office and Windows 7 for my business work. When Win8 comes out, I shall probably get a hybrid with a stylus for taking notes and sketching out diagrams for people. Partly because I like Win8 but also because I can hook it into existing Windows infrastructure neatly and take advantage of things like secure document management and cloud-based user profiles and security models to control it lock it down. These are big plusses for the corporate world.
"- even the most naive user now knows that a significant part of the cost of his store-bought computer is going to Redmond."
So tell me how much of the cost of a £400 laptop goes to MS and how you know this. And exactly what constitutes a significant part of the cost of a £400? Acer have a policy of refunding £20 for unused Windows 7 Starter edition. If you give them the computer, they will remove the OS and give it back to you plus refund. Big manufacturers do not buy their copies of Windows retail! Besides, you pre-suppose most buyers don't want a discounted copy of Windows coming with their computer. Do you think they'd prefer getting a blank PC and then going and buying a copy of Windows themselves without the benefit of the manufacturers bulk-bargaining with MS? Or do you suppose most users would be happy installing Ubuntu? Ubuntu is fine, but if you're going to rant about this, back it up with figures and think about what most users would like, not just people with an obvious bias against Microsoft such as yourself.
Companies are not football teams. They are companies and they sell you things if you give them money and don't if you wont. It is silly to take sides as if they are your friend and cheer or hurl abuse at the 'rival team'.