Windows Is So Slow, but Why? - New York Times: "So what's wrong with Microsoft? There is, after all, no shortage of smart software engineers working at the corporate campus in Redmond, Wash. The problem, it seems, is largely that Microsoft's past success and its bundling strategy have become a weakness.
Windows runs on 330 million personal computers worldwide. Three hundred PC manufacturers around the world install Windows on their machines; thousands of devices like printers, scanners and music players plug into Windows computers; and tens of thousands of third-party software applications run on Windows. And a crucial reason Microsoft holds more than 90 percent of the PC operating system market is that the company strains to make sure software and hardware that ran on previous versions of Windows will also work on the new one -- compatibility, in computing terms."
This is an interesting snapshot, but I disagree with some implicit themes such as:
1. There hasn't been a signficiant Windows XP update since 2001 -- while Microsoft hasn't charged for upgrades, as, e.g., Apple has, there have been several substantive XP updates during the last few years
2. The market doesn't need or care about backward compatibility -- I think Apple's recent experience in breaking compatibility is a useful counter-example, even though Apple has also managed to alienate most of its traditional ISVs (i.e., customers still care about compatibility...)