It's not all Microsoft's fault. It's the utility applications. They either grab memory (let me maintain that spam list in the background) or they grab processing (let me check you for viruses while you work). And they never seem to let go of any of it.
The impact is cumulative, like having relatives over. Fish and visitors stink after three days, as Ben Franklin once said. Did they have a Microsoft beat at Poor Richard's Almanac?
I would like to think that such technologies as SaaS and virtualization offer a way out of the trap. When software is a service, the applications live somewhere else -- they're the server's problem. When you push virtual desktops down to your workforce, they get what you give them and don't invite applications over.
But when it comes to ordinary desktop users, not so fast. Isn't Google Desktop getting, well, bloated? Isn't virtualization, in a way, one of those unwanted housepests itself?
So are we talking here about human nature, or something that we can do something about? Open source gives you control of your desktop, but is that really a good thing? After all, I tend to forget my passwords. I need to be ready if an IM should break out. You don't really want to wait for your word processor to boot up, do you?
Of course not, until my virtual house gets so crowded I have to get out to find peace. That may be why tech analysts like Franklin and Townshend were so fond of taverns.