Microsoft was just hanging around like a lame duck for a while. Sitting on their large install base and just lived of that. The last two years it finally realized that it is time to catch up to Apple again to not be extinct. A great visualization of that is the trend of Multiple of PCs sold vs. Macs.
If you have not been sure about Microsoft being in trouble than take a look at this diagram published by Asymco. It shows the trend of multiple Windows PCs sold versus Apple Macs. Starting in 1984 the multiple was only 6x. The high point of Microsoft OS domination was 2004 with 54x. Since then its a drastic steep decline to 18x in 2010.
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This graph just shows how extremely important Windows 8 for Microsoft is. I am actually betting on Microsoft that they are going to succeed with Windows 8 and bought stock again after I sold it a couple years ago.
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With Windows 8 Microsoft is finally thinking single eco-system across all devices including even the Xbox (see also Xbox 8 rumor). The new Metro UI looks great and has its own identity. Microsoft's recent announcement to let Windows users upgrade to Windows 8 for just $39.99 is going to help to establish the Windows 8 eco-system fast. All is set for a success, unless Redmond f!@#s it up with delays, drastic bugs, cloud outages etc.