For many years I've hated Microsoft, in a way that compared them to Satan him (possibly her) self. I was a Novell admin, I loved Netscape and suggested people use it, and I was generally in the Windows as an OS, get everything else from somewhere else crowd. Remember, Linux was still somewhat in its infancy back then, and Mac was pre OS X so it sucked. OS 2 was out there, but largely ignored at the time.
Their "patches" that regularly attacked and broke the Netware Client and Netscape among other things I didn't use in the name of improving "Windows Stability" caused me to hate them in ways no person should hate a corporation. Their leveraging of OS prices to force the adoption of the inferior IE browser etc, the way Exchange slipped in as a defacto standard and the way a new version of anything was little more than bug fixes for old products really just kept digging them deeper and deeper into the mud in my opinion of them.
I have in recent years however begun to see them differently. For one, they are no longer absolutely shunning open standards and other companies software. Granted, it's not for the best or reasons, it's because the got a big "Fuck You!" from the community as a whole and they're learning that us Linux Loonies actually do have some pull (granted, the Apple Fruits have a bit more than we do on the desktop). I think the company actually started softening up and seeing the light some time after the introduction of Vista. I think Microsoft introduced Vista with their old fashioned "We control everything so you're going to use it" attitude. Indeed, they did enforce this by cutting out XP Licenses. Then, in a manner akin to what the industry did to IBM when they tried to regain control of the computer industry by introducing the PS/2 and it's proprietary standards, the industry lifted up their kilts in unison and told Microsoft what to do with what they saw.
Sure, Microsoft initially responded with their normal FUD by trying to convince everyone that despite initial findings Vista was actually good (stupid Mojave commercials anyone?). After a while, they backed off a little bit. They declared Firefox legitimate by (forcibly) making .net and active X extensions for it. When they were caught violating the GPL instead of jumping up and down, denying it, and claiming the GPL is invalid anyways, they hitched up their plants and "Ok, here you go, we'll comply". The Microsoft of 5 years ago would NOT have done that.
Despite their initial opposition to XP staying alive, it's still available primarily for the Nettop and Netbook markets. Granted the only reason they're leaving alive is to keep Linux off of these devices, but they're proving they can cave and listen to their customers a bit now.
They appear to be backing off of this concept of forcing you to subscribe to their software. Not an entirely bad idea in my opinion, but I don't trust them, or anyone else for that matter, to actually come through on their promises.
This recent thing about Microsoft China ripping off a website, I knew things would get corrected, not because of the Chinese government, but because Microsoft was behind it. I was right.
For the first time ever, this past year or so I've actually started to see Microsoft taking the moral high ground in a lot of cases. If they can keep it up I may eventually declare them usable again.
Update - less than 12 hours after I post this "road to forgiveness" entry they have to go and pull this bullshit. Thanks a lot Microsoft, I was beginning to give you the benefit of a doubt here.