Well, Redmond, it's been a funny year, hasn't it? Even if you ignore those Apple commercials, it's hard to ignore the fact that Vista was probably one of the main reasons people switched to the Mac OS, or to third-party Linux-based systems. We'll get to the big V—and that other mighty stain Windows Mobile—in a bit, but first you deserve much credit for some impressive feats in gaming, entertainment and home networking.
Xbox 360: A-
Microsoft, you have to be happy as hell that you pushed Xbox 360 out of the gate a year before the PS3 and the Wii. Console sales have been great, staying ahead of Sony and only recently challenged by Nintendo. This is fueled by two factors: a better selection of hot games like Halo 3 and BioShock and the only real implementation of live online gaming in the console world. The Xbox Live community has even allowed you to pilot programs for HD video downloading and all sorts of other media treats that make Sony (and Apple) nervous. Sadly for HD DVD buffs, compatibility with that format is not one of the selling points, or you would have included it in your recently revamped HDMI-equipped 1080p Xbox 360 Elite.