If I were smaht and I worked at Microsoft, I might consider the freebie that Apple’s put out in Bootcamp as an opportunity to really stake my claim on the future. Think about it — the most proprietary hardware in the world can now run Windows. Boy I’d take that software — the Windows OS that is — and give it away for free.
Think about it — the browser market’s price was set at zero many years ago, leading to Microsoft’s monopoly. If you give your product away (as Google does) can it be considered a monopoly? Furthermore, the value of an OS, ignoring the cost of development, is rapidly diminshing as more apps migrate to the web.
So why not do something totally whack and just give it away, interupting the whole OSX onslaught? I mean, I’m not much good with math or economics, but could it really hurt at this point?