I always thought the major strength of Microsoft is not its dumb operating system, but Microsoft office.
Imagine this, most users of modern computers are not programmers who wants to understand, configure and customize every tool, or software they use. Most of them are housewives, office goes and simple public who just want a medium to communicate, a typewriter, and ability to create/read/store documents and reports.
Microsoft office came with a revolutionary concept of interoperability. The spreadsheets could be imported to the word document. The email client, powerpoint, text editor and pictures all were integrated together as if it was one program. This synergy was what made Microsoft different. OS is dumb, you use it only when you want to start, stop the machine or program. Its the individual programs where one spends most of the time. Microsoft realized it early and ensured that one will not have to re key any data again.
The reason why microsoft allows (and even secretly encourage) people ridiculing their OS, is because to create a false front where all the opposition will be targeted (plus it is a great for the publicity) while protecting its core (office and other non-OS software)
if open office is successful, I am sure it will be single largest blow to microsoft revenue and monoply.
PS: since I did not find any Bangalore based distributor of open office, I thought of contributing a little to the open source community. Anybody who wants a copy of open office CD can use my CD writter for free.