Since Microsoft started to produce GUI-based operating systems, they have been responsible for helping the entire tech space. Redmond's operating systems and software have always been bloated, taking up more space than equivalent products from other companies. Much of the code was not optimized either, meaning users had to upgrade to take advantage of the latest software.
All this changed with Vista as many users and corporations saw Vista as inferior to XP and not worth the hassle to get a new computer to run it.
There is also a new threat - Linux on netbooks, an inexpensive alternative which is eating into laptop demand.
Microsoft is firing back with Windows 7, a netbook-friendly OS which is reported to be so efficient; it can run on machines where even Vista won't work well.
This new operating system marks a change in Microsoft strategy and shows the company now has to worry about making its products more efficient.
What this means is less money being spent on new machines due to a push from users wanting the latest OS. This is a huge sea change and could be responsible for adding another year or more to the lives of typical computers.
And as long as Linux on the desktop remains a threat, we may never again be able to rely on Microsoft for fueling the need to throw away you old hardware to get something new. That is unless they come out with an OS which you just have to have. Personally, I am hoping they do. Maybe it will be the world's first 3D OS. That sounds like something I would want without even seeing it. Microsoft, what say you?