Not that much more subtle. I watched as Microsoft crushed a long list of companies using exactly this strategy across the 80's and early 90's. Borland was easy -- it's so easy to break a compiler with an OS upgrade. Lotus. Word Perfect. Wordstar. Various games. They certainly tried it with their browser and it took a decade long billion dollar court case to stop them. Every operating system update, everybody else's software would break, a bit, while Microsoft's clone -- often a clone of a startlingly original and brilliant idea -- did not. Add in their marketing team to convince businesses that if they didn't buy Microsoft's house product, they would break their... um... not arms, not legs, what's the word, "interface" if the competing product didn't perfectly comply with the new specs (and of course, they never did).
Microsoft simply made it impossible to buy a PC without their operating system pre-installed in any store that sells systems WITH their operating system pre-installed with punitive pricing agreements that dropped the margins below any possibility of profit if you tried selling a naked system or a system preinstalled with some other OS. They then convinced freelance software developers that they could get rich, quick, writing for their platform (and at first, it was true!) But gradually it has become clear that if you have a brilliant software concept, write the next killer application, and do so for Windows, Microsoft will let you run wild for a few years to build up the market and use their enormous software foundry to write their clone, then they will jerk around the OS so that your product breaks but theirs doesn't until they have the lions share of the market IF you don't sell out to them when they politely knock on your door and make you an offer you can't refuse. Five years later you will wish you hadn't.
I have to admit that I'm a tiny bit surprised that they are doing this with Steam as it could backfire. I'm guessing that part of this is punitive. They WANT game developers to be in a Microsoft cage, with huge cross-platform development barriers, and Valve is the company that has seriously broken out of that mold and made Linux gaming with native libraries and code possible for games that run on Windows as well. Since they are preparing to make users lease Windows for eternity and ensure a perpetual cash flow for every Windows computer purchased, and since software sales through "app stores" run by the company are now a major profit center for companies that have successfully built them, they hope to retake world domination while they still have control of congress and the unions and all those companies with 401 and 403 plans heavily invested in Microsoft.
Unless and until the government actually enforces anti-trust laws across the board, we'll have to put up with this shit. The "free" market doesn't, and won't, have a chance as long as the company that makes and sells the OS, with a virtual lock on third party PC sales in spite of much lower priced and viable alternatives, also writes software for their own OS with an insuperable advantage over independent developers, no matter how large or powerful. Software store selling "certification" (still the same company) make it even worse.
Face it. Microsoft is in the protection racket, and has been for nearly 30 years now. FUD is their stock and trade. They represent everything that is wrong with capitalism that isn't restrained by strong anti-trust controls and limits on things like sales agreements so that they do not and cannot become long term monopolies. They have so much money that they could CONTINUE to be mismanaged for another decade and STILL would be huge. And who has the guts to tackle them (again) in the US courts? They can spend a billion dollars a year in defense, stretch an antitrust case out for a decade, lose it, and still come out a total winner. They've done so in the past and will do so again in the future.