Fimbul - well you're wrong about a few things...
well what's wrong with "dumbing down" windows? i'm pretty sure that microsoft has the idea of creating a operating system where you can do everything without complicating much. so is android / ios /etc.. therefore AI is getting better (cortana / siri / etc..) and so on... The good stuff with windows is that these options are hidden - therefore Power users can still change and play with them. Normal users don't even know what registry is, and they probably don't want to mess around with it at all. plug and play is all people want today. Developers want custom control and fine tuning, but developers are 1%, 99% are customers.
when it comes to missing some parts of customization in windows - i think they choose what should be and what shouldn't be customizable. like UAC. noone (users) messes with that. maybe a few, when they want to disable it. most of it never touch it ever. work as it is. for me as a PU, it's annoying and goes off immediately.
i don't see why win10 is "free to play".
yes privacy is the biggest issue in terms of not releasing your information to outer world. like name, age, where you from, your social numbers, card numbers and so on... and i'm sad to dissapoint you, but if you have Facebook, you've already given 70% of your info to the world.
windows 10 phones home? first time i hear about it, can you provide some info about it? link or something? also - each option i've disabled - is disabled and doesn't change on update, nor does it work accidentally.
also you gotta take in consideration if your info is valuable ? - does microsoft care who you are? no. do they care what you have to say about their software? probably. do you want them to know your secrets ? it doesn't matter - if they do - noone else is going to know, only them, and if you don't want them to know you can disable it all.
and again sad to dissapoint you but this is where things get wierd for users - chrome / firefox / whatever need tweaking and people don't whine about it and they are way less private then they appear to be, but when it's windows everyone starts losing their minds
windows is great, and while linux doesn't have as good thing as windows has directX, software support and more.. it will never change. and people are just going to have to update. p.s. linux won't change windows soon. imagine if people switched to linux (normal users..) they'd be blown away by not knowing anything, and having to learn how to work in terminal... that is just... a big no for users.
yet you still haven't proved how linux (links pls, or arguments with proofs) or any other OS is better then windows and why is windows still holding 90% of market share (we're talking desktop/laptop here)
ErekT - interesting. i've stopped using facebook because i've had nothing to do on it, but i get your concern. still i don't think they have any advantage or what not if they take my data and build some profiles. still i don't think there is any potential dangers to them having that info, but even if some of the info leaked you'd have something to use against the company and sue them. that's why those informations are kept with great security.