Genuine questions for real fans of Microsoft products

Hi everyone, thank you for hearing me out (in advance!)

I've really been taken back by the recent months forum and comment activity from apparently very strident and numerous "Microsoft Fans", I just wanted to ask a couple questions, for anyone who would like to give their opinion.

I grew up with Windows computers, while knowing "in my heart" I wanted to use a Mac. I saved up, and eventually could afford a secondhand 12 inch PowerBook G4, even by todays standards, its design holds up very well, although it is of course horribly slow! :-)

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I then bought a Power Mac G5 secondhand, with a 23 inch Apple Cinema Display, and now have a 27 inch iMac as my main computer. I use an iPhone 4, after importing and jailbreaking an Original iPhone, and I have an Original iPad.

I can well appreciate and understand why others feel so positive about recent Apple products, why they are currently the largest company in the world, by market cap, beloved in every nation.

My questions for the Microsoft community are:

- how do you feel about Microsoft as a company over these past 5 years? Do you think they've been innovating and releasing great products? ie Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8.

- how do you feel about Windows Phone? How did you feel about versions before Windows Phone 7? In my opinion, Microsoft had nothing to compete with the Original iPhone back in 2007, and right up until Windows Phone 7 finally came out, years after, they had absolutely nothing going for them. Even now, there has been *five* generations of iPhone, and countless generations of Android devices, yet they are really only JUST releasing an actual flagship model, two years in, with the Lumia 900.

- Before Windows Phone 7 arrived, do you think previous versions of Microsoft mobile OS for smartphones were good?

- Do you think previous non Lumia 900 Windows Phone 7 devices stood up well against an iPhone or Android device?

- on software as a whole, have you noticed the perpetual "MICROSOFT WILL CATCH UP!" theme many vocal fans have adopted? It seems theres always some kind of deus ex machina moment, where defenders will scream until they lose their voice how the current, hugely successful Non Microsoft products are all a joke, and that "one day" there will be some mythical uprising of a new Microsoft product, which, like RIM with the Playbook, will show us all the error of our ways, once Big Daddy Microsoft finally comes home.

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It used to be Windows Phone 7 in general, "once its out, Microsoft will absolutely kill Android and iOS", it used to be the HP Slate, and then the Courier in terms of tablets, there used to be REALLY NASTY versions of below comparison, outright saying you SUCKED if you owned an iPad, that the HP Slate had a card reader and a 3.5mm microphone input jack and ran Windows 7 Home Edition........look how that turned out

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The term is called "FUD", Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, often Microsoft has been accused of using it directly, now it seems to be the standard "hyperactive Microsoft Fan" tactic, to promise the moon about some new Microsoft product, which is coming out in six months/a years time. Certainly, not all Microsoft users act this way! But a very vocal group do, see the "Windows Phone 7 Mango will solve everything!" and now "Windows Phone 7 Apollo will solve everything!" groups.

And finally, where have you all come from? It used to be forum and comment chats were between Android and iOS users, back and forth, "...the apps suck, theres no design, the hardware is not beautiful..." vs "...closed...locked down....arrogant....one model per year....restrictive...". This changes every now and then, when a new model of their chosen product comes out, it might *then* be ok to turn on a dime, and go back on something they previously held dear, ie AMOLED screens. There was once a time when it was "The Android Argument" to scream at iPhone users how "dull and no blacks!" the iPhone screens were, how pentile was ok etc....but now that theres the likes of the HTC One X out, "super LCD", the previous screamings about AMOLED have nearly vanished overnight!

Where did all the insane masses of Windows Phone fans come from all of a sudden? What were you doing six months ago?

Thank you very much for your time, I would greatly appreciate hearing from reasoned and civil Windows Phone 7 users and fans.