my own personal reason to hate Microsoft

How's this for a reason?

I called up HP/Compaq, Dell, and IBM today. I can't get a notebook/laptop computer from any one of these manufacturers without paying for a Windows license.

That's right. I can't even get any of these systems blank, sans operating system. I explained to the guys over the phone - and especially the HP rep seemed sympathetic - but the problem is that Microsoft has strongarmed these manufacturers such that they can't ship any laptops without a Microsoft OS.

This is complete and utter bullshit. I'm just going to wipe the hard drive and put Linux on it anyway; I'd rather that the hard drive just came blank, as I don't expect any of the hardware guys to install Linux on it for me.

Ugh. I was hoping that one of these guys might be able to set themselves apart from the rest by satisfying this one wish. Looks like I was wrong.