In October of 2004, a U.K. government-sponsored study concluded that substantial long-term monetary and environmental gains were accrued from using computers running the Linux operating system.
In a report titled the "Office of Government Commerce: Open Source Software Trials in Government- Final Report," the authors stated that long-term open-source software usage allowed longer utilization of hardware resources as opposed to proprietary software (read Windows).
"A typical hardware refresh period for Microsoft Windows is 3-4 years. A major U.K. manufacturing organization quotes its hardware refresh period for Linux systems as 6-8 years."
Also, there are substantial green benefits to be gained. With hardware needing to be replaced less frequently, there is less e-waste and hence less energy consumed in replacing and consuming resources.
Microsoft's Windows does not exactly enjoy a huge fan following, but if software consumes and exhorts more out of hardware, then that should force hardware makers to work harder at getting the next best technology into market.
I am not siding with the goodness of bloated software, but is it not in business interest to have a cycle that gets out hardware, then software that runs on it and loads it, which in turn results in better hardware and then more software, and so forth?