Another thought occurred to me about Microsoft's Christmas Morning Scrooge Event.
Perhaps Microsoft is using this patent to push against Android OS being used on FPGA based CPU's. Field Programmable Gate Arrays are almost perfect for "gear-shifting" CPUs. New firmware can be downloaded to the gate array and used to boost performance. Most of the products a FPGA could be easily used in would be net books or upscale handheld PDAs or smart phones. Android would be (at least in concept) a perfect OS to use because its scalable as well.
Microsoft might be using this patent solely as a stalking horse to keep other companies from attempting this maneuver. But considering the scope of the patent I would hope that it can be successfully fought in court or shown to be nothing more than prior art.
Considering that most CPUs already have "slow-down clock" OP codes built into them that part is probably the easiest means of "dumbing down" a CPU.
Even in Windows XP Pro and the Embedded versions, if the user wished to dumb-down the CPU, there is a Control Panel setting that allows the user to turn off secondary CPU cores if desired.
As far as adding services, plugging in a new high performance video card or more RAM takes care of the majority of performance increases necessary for most users. Whether the added performance increase is "automatic" or manual (plugging in a card and adding drivers) I don't see that the patent should be allowed.
Remember that this is the same company that patented scroll up and down on a page. Open Source doesn't try to dumb down a computer and then call it a desirable OS feature. And Open Source certainly doesn't file hundreds of patents attempting to "protect" meaningless IP or items in common usage or the public domain as the Gorilla seems to do.