If you think I have any agenda against MS you would be wrong. Been using and developing with MS products almost exclusively since my first TRS-80 Model I and on CP/M 80 simply because they were hands down the best. If my boss wanted me to be productive and wanted his software development to work first time, we used MS compilers and OS, simple as that.
These days I can just as easily get non-MS products that work just as well, sometimes even better, and more often than not for FREE!
So why pay?
I could shell out thousands a year for all the MS compilers, MSDN, etc. or use free languages like PHP and get PHP.NET for free. Likewise with C. C++, Perl, Ruby on Rails, Java, so on and so forth. Not only that, for 99.9999% of the population, the freely available productivity tools like Open Office are more than sufficient for those small letters and spreadsheets people crank out daily, plus the presentations. Sure if you're writing large tech manuals, novels or doing real powerhouse spreadsheets you might need MS Office which handles large volumes better because it's designed for power users, but most aren't power users and will never touch even the fringe of MS Office capabilities.
TBH, the only reason I still use Windows on the desktop is because it comes pre-installed and it's a no-fuss no-brainer appliance, turn it on, works first time. If it came with Ubuntu and was still a turnkey system, I'd probably not bother switching to Windows unless I had a killer show-stopper application that my job required and I couldn't work without using Windows. That last scenario used to be the case, today, not so much and my computer existence is increasingly becoming less dependent on MS daily.
If I tried hard, I could probably dump all my MS products tomorrow and barely notice the difference.
For instance, when I got my current computer it's the first time in forever I didn't renew my MS Office subscription, and have been using Open Office for the last 3+ years and really don't notice much difference. Haven't used MSIE in ages except to play a few games on Pogo which just seem to run better in MSIE, but I could run them in Chrome or FF if I must.
The cold hard sad fact for MS is that many applications have been transitioning to the web, becoming SaaS type of online programs. These web based applications require a seriously fast browser, more secure, more stable, more standard compliant, and MSIE isn't the answer. With the web now hosting the software instead of the desktop and the browser basically being the OS of the web, the browser may ultimately replace the OS as we now know it. Google is poised to take the ball and run with it with Chrome OS while MS is still trying to figure out how it lost the smart phone market.
Truthfully, at this point, Windows Media Player might be the only thing I'd really miss if I were to go 100% MS free.
What say you?