It really gets my goat when all I hear is a panning of Bill gates/MS. Every one always wants to bash the the person those who succeed. Whilst I will not claim that any version of Windows was perfect, far from it. What they did do however was make the PC approachable to the home user. It is because they were able to speed up the penetration of the PC into the home market, that we had the huge developments within the rest of the industry.
Most of you are only looking at this from your own view, as someone who is highly computer literate. Someone who is capable and prepared to tit around with a Linux set up. Your average Joe Bloggs of the street would have never been able to cope with even the current Linux set ups, let alone those of 20 years ago.
Microsoft driven by Bill Gates attempted to bring standardisation to a fledgling industry. With out that I dread to think what we would have ended up with. We saw the mess that transpired when standardisation was left to the hardware producers, when it came to VCR's. I would guess we would have ended up with each electronic giant wanting to have there own propitiatory system.
That really would have held up development.