the only interests it serves will be those industries that want easy untraceable ways to exchange value for illegal products or to avoid taxation. And once that's exhausted, I suspect it will flounder.
Wait, why would an untraceable, untaxable black market ever become exhausted?
it won't be because the concept of trying to position themselves as "more of a PC than an iPod" is wrong. It will be because of institutional suckitude.
But that positioning is part of the suckitude. What MS is not doing, as others have already said here, is seriously reevaluating what a computer is and how it's being used—not how they think a computer "should" be used, but what the average non-/. user *actually uses a computer for.*
Apple's success is not wholly due to the functions and performance their devices offer. Many of their devices are behind the curve in any number of ways, and yet Apple can't keep them in stock.
OK, so why is that? Last year I had a minor but enlightening experience when a third-tier extended family member explained that the extent of his computer requirements are having a semblance of facebook on his old (non-"smart") phone. That's when I realized that the idea of the iPad, which was still a rumor at the time, could take off simply because a significant market segment doesn't need the do-everything computer of old, they need a media appliance.
All those emotions you felt looking at Starry Night were actually invalid.
??!?! Perhaps he was a raving lunatic and asshole. How does that "invalidate" the emotional reaction of a viewer of his painting?
Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.