i think, that you are missing the point.
I dont see it as a competition between M$ and linux.
Linux is not an entity as M$ is. Linux is like nature, it just grows and cant be stoped. Linux has not an specified business direction as M$ have. People make with linux what ever they want to do.
Most people want to replace windows, ok, but is too much effort in vain, i preffer to use, support and teach to use multiplatform softwares), but there are also other people who use it with other purposes, i preffer linux as server, and dont really like how gnome and kde are getting too much big (they are not working only on a good working windows manager, they are working on a competition to windows and is getting too much complicated which errors are getting more frecuent, i preffer fluxbox with icons). Other people want to use it for gamming, but it isn't a gamming platform, so this users should take a bit of effort like wine guys, try to make easy installers or thing like that. But of course, this kind of users wants everything issued on a silver tray. If you have windows and games, with the money that you spend, buy a game platform, it is more fun and out of problems.
Other users want to use linux with recovery tools to backup computers with windows (like me).
Maybe also to control industrial macanism and to make it safe (can you imagine a satellite using windows as OS???? an space ship??? no, an hospital?!?!?!?, definitly no, a Car Factory?, what if windows hangs? Maybe also robots, too much overhead for a robot, and low presition calculations)
There are an infinity number of aplications on informatics (everything on the actual world) thanks to the nature of linux, and it is free.
I want to test Vista without installing it. Can I? Does it have the beautifull thing knowed as livecd? will it recognise my hardware automaticaly? will be those drivers good?
I have had some computers which windows drivers provided by the own motherboard providers doesn't work well (sound issues), and with linux livecds i had no problems.
Also, graphic drivers on linux has never give me the same eficiency as on windows, hey! its free, is aceptable. But windows doesnt give me the same eficiency on cpu and memory usage, not even talk about 64 bit (love Gentoo for this).
People learn with linux, with windows doesn't, and lamentably this is what most people want. Dont take the effort of learning.
As i say, Linux is nature, Window is like and old car generating smoke.