I have already established why I will not actively adopt the new OS and so wouldn't normally give any further reasons. However, what I have just found out can only be described as disturbing and thus deserves some mention. All of the following is based on Peter Guttman's A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection. Guttman listed many problems created by Microsoft's efforts to protect "premium content", which are implemented in their upcoming OS. In particular, two of the problems seem to affect me the most, given I won't be playing back HD videos in the forseeable future.
The first is that Vista will apparently check the hardware up to 30 times a second to make sure no one suddenly tempers with it. Although one may argue that the polling will not cause noticeable performance degradation, the knowledge that a process is continually doing extraneous things in the background doesn't sit well with me. Although I routinely run a lot of background applications to heavily customise my Windows interface, at no point do I allow non-productive applications idling in memory. If a program is not doing something useful to me, it must go immediately, and that includes virus scanners and firewalls. The polling imposed by Vista clearly violates this principle.
The second problem is that Vista requires hardware vendors to implement the so-called "tilt bits" which detects "suspicious" fluctuation in say the voltage level of a connection pin. This is to prevent someone from intercepting the data by tapping into the wires between a component and the motherboard. The name "tilt bits" clearly comes from the tilt function in pinball machines. Unfortunately, most of the time such electrical fluctuations are perfectly innocent. My speaker "clicks" whenever the fridge turns on and I won't be surprised if that also affects the computer power supply. Now I have no idea how sensitive these tilt bits are. It may be that normal household related fluctuations are tolerated so I may never experience an unexpected shutdown due to this "feature". Still, I am not very happy that the new OS may, however remotely, render my upgraded system less stable.
So if before I was unwilling to upgrade to Vista because I don't like the activation "feature", now I am just plain scared, and I'm not even trying to play any video on it! As Guttman have noted, if MS could just direct their efforts at locking down the system from hackers rather than the users, Vista would've been much more secure. If they marketed these technologies as ones that protect me from viruses, I can at least find one reason to upgrade. Right now I have negative reasons.
Oh and one more thing. All those restrictions they place in every HD video disc and related devices will not prevent piracy at all. You see, the system works by encrypting everything on the disk and different players (models) will have different keys to decrypt it so that if one particular device is compromise they can in theory lock these affected players out of future contents (whether they will really do that is another question). Each manufacturer will need to apply for their own key so it's not like anyone can get their hands on a valid key.
What I think will happen is this. Some Chinese pirates will probably get a working key by either bribing a (Chinese?) company or pretending to be a legitimate vendor. Once they get the key they can just use it to decrypt every movie that comes their way and then crank out a million copies of the movie without any protection. No one will be able to figure out who did this because the discs only contains unprotected video. Even if they find out the offending vendor and revoke its key, the pirates will just bribe someone else. I don't believe there will be any shortage of vendors willing to leak their keys, because the MPAA just can't control every vendor and every worker in the industry, and we all know that everyone is susceptible to bribery.
Basically the whole scheme will not work. And all Microsoft managed to do here is scared me away from their already overpriced and featureless OS.