It’s not pat to say that the Windows PC market went for volume over quality, because it did: Many of those 20 million Windows 7 licenses each month—too many, I think—went to machines that are basically throwaway, plastic crap. Netbooks didn’t just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within: Now consumers expect to pay next to nothing for a Windows PC. Most of them simply refuse to pay for more expensive Windows PCs.
Well stated. Microsoft’s problem isn’t just that Windows 8 is a confusing mess of a product that offers little upgrade incentive (though I’d argue that’s a big one), it’s all the elements surrounding it as well. Thurrott rightly points out a massive one not often talked about: netbooks. They inflated Windows 7 numbers while destroying the margins of the PC business, which in turn is now badly hurting the Windows business. It’s the classic short-term gain for long-term pain scenario.
It’s a perfect shitstorm, really.