Thanks for the follow-up, petey.
"Not that their products are or were ever perfect, I think it's important to realize just how much of today's technology depends on their products."
Very valid point. Commentators sometimes act like Microsoft is dying, and I know I've sometimes described its problems too aggressively (such as my use of the word "failure" at the end of this story!). But as you suggested, the company is damn-near indispensable to the way the world works today. A lot of people don't realize how much of our business and societal infrastructure relies on Microsoft technologies. Windows 8 is problematic, but legacy Windows software is incredibly important, as are a number of other Microsoft products.
Windows is important to the company's overall strategy, but Microsoft is actually pretty diversified. We can debate how much power and influence Microsoft is positioning itself for, and what that might mean for customers and partners. But it will remain powerful and influential in almost all scenarios I can foresee.
You seem to feel strongly that Microsoft should be given its due respect as a phenomenally important company-- and I agree. Windows 8 is a legitimate sore spot that could open some of the company's strategies to disruption, but most companies would kill to have Microsoft's "problems."