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Microsoft's desktop supremacy hasn't been down to "it's got a nice, easy to use interface" for at least 20 years.

Whilst I generally agree with your statement, I don't think it's due to MS having a good interface as opposed to Linux having a not so polished interface. This was a deal breaker for a lot of people I know in the not-so-tech-savvy world. Things have changed a lot in the past few years, but a lot of damage was done by then.

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