LONG RANTING RESPONSE.
Besides Babcock's assertion, the problem with Windows has always been that it doesn't scale; that is, it won't run on netbooks and servers, i.e., you have to write different and -- usually somewhat incompatible -- versions to accommodate a variety of architectures and devices. Linux runs your mobile phone, your kindle reader, your desktop OS, your server OS, the Large Hadron Collider, on a USB stick, and as someone posted this week, even on a device the size of a simple outlet plug.
I saw this very plainly a couple of years ago when I wrote that word processor review. It wasn't the program that mattered, it was the format. Governments, business, and users want to control of their data (can you say "recent Facebook and Apple controversies?") and to be able to access it through any device and browser using a wide variety of software. The RIAA/MPA foreshadow Microsoft's next decade in that we're seeing the hold of proprietary, patent-protected, abstract IP lose its grip.
If "I" -- in whatever role I assume, gov., end user, corporation, content provider, mobile data -- am forced to purchase Microsoft products just to access my data, or use Microsoft's IE to access content on your company's website, I'm not doing business with you, period. I want to choose what I use. Therefore in the case of word processing, it's not about OpenOffice, but about ODF (OpenDocument Format) and the 25 programs that use it, not to mention every cloud suite. Microsoft continues to frustrate my need and desire for open standards and open source solutions.
I could care less whether Microsoft releases Windows as open source. It doesn't matter because I've moved on. Microsoft could buy every open source software company in existence and all they'd be doing at most is forking the code. The existent code of any project would still always be available. At some point, just like the RIAA has done, Microsoft will realize that their market share will continue to recede against open source.
This is why the netbook phenomenon has thrown Microsoft a wicked curve. Designed and built as a simple device to access information and data through a browser, Microsoft reworked XP to retrofit onto netbooks, but then virtually doubled the cost of the device because you had to buy an even more costly XP netbook version license! Vista will not run on one. But then they came out this week after floating a "Starter" edition of Win7 that would run on a netbook that ran on 3 apps at a time (which included an AV software), and said that after your bought your Win7 Starter Edition for your netbook, you'll be "allowed" to upgrade to a more powerful version at increased cost. Already Microsoft shot itself in the foot because they just eliminated the #1 reason for buying a netbook: low cost! Meanwhile Linux remains free, although lately I've noticed most companies charge the same and then pocket the difference, making a huge profit selling the Linux versions. Jerks.
No one wants to run an 8-year old OS that runs IE6+. And no one wants to double the price of their purchase by paying a "Microsoft tax." When the software to run the machine costs more than the machine itself, something has to give. In this case you have to ask: How much longer will users pay this price as the free alternative [linux] gets consistently better every six months. You can't sue everyone for the rest of the century and claim you've patented every idea under the sun.