That $99 and who pays it is a red herring.
The problem isn't how much
pays for it. The problem is that UEFI drives a wedge down the middle of what was formerly
an open hardware ecosystem. Now there are "Windows PCs" and "non-Windows PCs" on the hardware level.
Microsoft has used its numbers to effectively get its own proprietary hardware platform (like Apple) without actually having to manufacture it. Which is the best of all possible worlds in that they can control
a huge segment of the mobo/CPU market without having to "own" anything. A very handy argument to make when accused of anticompetitive business practices in the USA.
This could, of course, be easily
eliminated as a problem if all the PC manufacturers would include a simple mechanism (a switch on the back of the case or a jumper on the mobo) to turn off UEFI without having to go through heroics. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to see that happen. I'm sure there will be some purely token hand wringing and breast beating on the part of certain manufacturers (Dell et al.
) over this. But nothing of substance will emerge from it.
The other problem is that this will effectively eliminate dual-booting to an alternate OS. Unless it's RedHat. If Windows 8 won't run without UEFI - and only RedHat (currently) can run WITH it - then your Linux option is RedHat. A sorry thing in that RedHat (along with Suse and Canonical) have abandoned anything but lip service about platform independence in the interest of cozening up to Microsoft in order to get a share of whatever bones and scraps Redmond deigns to toss them.
Expect Canonical and Suse (and probably Mageia, PCLinuxOS, Vector, and Centos) to follow suit.
As a side benefit this move also creates a rift in the Linux world. And a lot of bad blood. Something Microsoft seems intent on exploiting by playing one faction off against another while maintaining it only wants what's best for the end-user.
I fully expect Microsoft will start patent trolling in earnest once a few more key Linux distros sign onto Microsoft's notion of a new world order. (Which in case you don't know is: One World with every
computer running some version of a Microsoft OS - with all other operating systems running as VMs under
it.) They'll start by picking off distros one by one like they have the smartphone vendors, getting gradually larger and larger players to cave in on their demands for blackmail and protection money. Once that's done it's a small matter to engage Debian in a protracted legal battle with the goal of litigating it out of business - but without ever letting it reach a judge or jury for a formal ruling. Especially since the last thing Microsoft could possibly want is for such a case to be decided purely on technical and legal merits.
With Linux dead, or reduced to a satrap in the Microsoft Empire, and no open hardware computing platform available for a "new" alternate OS to emerge on, Microsoft will have achieved a virtual monopoly on the world's mainstream computing environment.
All of which seriously sucks. And will largely mark the end of most of the rapid innovation in computing we've enjoyed for the last 30 years.
It's already working that way in the smartphone and mobile computing world. So why not drag the desktop and server market into it just to be consistent?
Like Joni Mitchell so aptly said: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till its gone?"