Very cool! A reminder of Microsoft's incredible Out-Of-The-Bubble thinking. Selling an OS, which could be installed and perform on any mix (or price point) of standardized hardware over a 23 year period of time!! This philosophy has truly been a revolution in computing.
It is so hard for most people to understand why folks are foolish not to choose Microsoft again and again; unless they have actually ran a company or made significant investments in technology over the years. Companies MUST depend on TRUE innovation, rather than hype... A company (or a successful capitalist, artist, student or developer) must be able to depend on platforms which allow for flexibility and an ability to change and move quickly with changing trends, product demands, and development tools. And anyone responsible for making the purchasing decisions must appear to understand built-in-obsolescence (and the HUGE overhead expended on technology each year.) Stable investments must stand the test of time, not appear to be foolish money spent year after year.
A slogan I wrote and have used as a heading for my own website for years, goes like this; "The innovation of new, successful ideas is seldom as challenging as assuring their acceptance & adoption."
No company who has simply "branded" and assembled their own commodities driven, hardware mix, and then restricted the use of their brand to a single in-house OS, will ever compare to BIG PICTURE level of technology Microsoft has innovated and established. However, I understand there will always be those who feel sporadic, attention grabbing marketing, is the greatest accomplishment they know of in this arena. And while I might agree to the notion, convincing less than 15% of the average U.S.'s consumers that you are the most innovative or the most advanced, is impresive; I personally believe it is a better technological and even financial accomplishment to actually BE THE MOST innovative and advanced.
Ease of use or minimalism aside; consider the fact any MS OS consumer is allowed, and piratically encouraged, to slap together or upgrade any unlimited mix of 1000's of core & peripheral products; and now with Windows 7, even this incredible challenge has now been made to look seamless, and so easy even an Apple fan boy could use it's full potential!
Lipstick and rouge (or aluminium and white plastic) is no where near as impressive to me as driving and evolving an OS which meets the needs of 90% of every business on this planet.
Side Note: In 2006 I actually bought over $150,000 in Apple, XServe, OSX machines to be utilized in our back office; (took loads of begging to convince our IT department to support my effort;) only to be met with one of Apples typical announcements, that Apple will no longer produce or support (this not so legacy) sever-level, hardware platform. (Can't imagine how a University of Virginia must have felt about this announcement; who utilized the same hardware around the same time to build one of the worlds most powerful super-computing, clusters of CPU's)
This is a typical slap in the face, from a company that is more interested in corralling and controlling media sales and consumption, over creating products all of us can use to support capitalism and ongoing profitable business practices. As if built in obsolescence isn't already a large enough hurdle, which loyal customers are already over coming and ignoring in order to make repeated investments into a company's "trendy" technology. The very LEAST these company's should do, is understand their responsibility to innovate to an extent to produce lasting ideas which can be built on for years!
Heck, ask those add agencies and universities who have spent years utilizing Macs within their production and teaching environments through the use of suites and volumes of Adobe products, such as Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc... Only to more recently finding Apple deteriorating and sabotaging their relationship with even its most impressive software partners. Again the goal has rarely been true innovations, "Standards", a focus on customer loyalty or even a common since understanding for protecting customers investments for some of these technological and consumer electronics firms. It is typically about chasing a very temporary fad, or convincing average consumers of what is "cool". Not a very high-end, high-tech, stable, approach to product development and on-going value adds for your loyal customers.