And regarding the Windows 8 is poised at the brink of enslaving us in a gilded cage which will turn us all into palpitating porridge based eye puppets crap ... Can we at least try to keep in mind that this is totally conjecture. Nothing is or has been proven or verified as fact. No internal secret memos have been exposed substantiating any of these claims ... It's total assumption pure and simple.
Stripped of the hyperbole on both sides, what it comes down to is pretty simple. And it doesn't take rocket science to analyze or see it.
Microsoft has struggled for two decades playing second fiddle to Apple's marketing push and being criticized for being late out the gate and not innovative enough. 90% of that is because they're providing a very "open" operating system. Because they don't control the environment they're fighting a bit of a losing battle. And they know it.
People complain about Windows' speed and stability deteriorating over time. But if you ever run a machine that's 'vanilla' Microsoft from front to back (i.e. Windows/Office/IE/Live/certified hardware) and nothing but Microsoft supplied software, you never run into that. Those machines work like champs.
Add one third party app or utility and things start to happen.
With a closed eco-system, where not just anybody can do whatever they want, you see stability go way up and support calls go way down.
That is what Microsoft is moving towards. Apps only available and installable under the watchful eye of an app store. Certified hardware (under the threat of Microsoft manufacturing its own) that fully complies with Microsoft guidelines.
It will be a whole new world. Better in many respects.
But with this comes the natural (and predictable) tendency to exert control beyond what's needed purely for quality and stability. And that is where the concern comes in. Because with amore formalized and controlled system, development costs go up - and innovation gets slowed. Which basically means small maverick engineering businesses (which usually introduce the real breakthroughs) are effectively frozen out of the game.
That's where the concern comes from. Not so much fear that Ballmer has allied himself with the Grays from Area 51 - although I wouldn't rule it out.