Linux has failed and will continue to fail because the developers starting with torvalds and going down WILL NOT LISTEN to those that matter, the retailer and the consumers they support.
i'm a retailer, hi! And I won't carry your product, why? because you will not listen, that's why. I've been saying for years you either need a 10 years support cycle like MSFT or you need a stable ABI so when Suzy hits the upgrade button Linux doesn't go "Oops I made a stinky" all over the drivers. I've tried more than 20 versions so far and NOT A SINGLE ONE did an in place upgrade without making a stinky on one or more drivers, not a single one. XP support 2001-2014, Vista 2007-2017, Win 7 2009-202, noticing a trend here folks? the average distro? a year and a half, LTS, less than 5 year and you better plan sales around their release schedule which of course as a retailer I can't.
So here it is the start of the great XP dieoff, I've got tons of frankly overpowered XP desktops and laptops starting to pile up, a perfect opportunity for your OS, yet i'm scrambling to find a source for Win 7 Starter, why? because you won't listen, you've never listened, and therefor you deserve to fail.
you believe you can force people to do things the linux way but they won't, no Bash, no forum hunts, no "open up bash and type" CLI mess, the consumers won't play your reindeer games. instead of giving me an OS with support long enough they wouldn't have to in just the last 3 years you've gutted the DEs and given us Pulseaudio which is a buggy mess.
So I'm sorry Mr Nichols but MSFT could charge 3 times the price and Linux would go nowhere, not because we retailers love MSFT but because your fiddly mess of an OS would bankrupt us.
A wise man once said "Linux is free if your time is worthless" and no truer words have been spoken. To sell Linux I would have to keep spares to give the customer when the latest upgrade borks their sound and it takes me a week to find a "fix", I would have to try to keep an assortment of printers, cameras, and other devices because otherwise its hardware roulette thanks to the lack of API making it impossible for manufacturers to simply put a penguin on the box, and i would have to do all of this while still making a profit and not being undercut by the shop down the street that just put Windows home on the machines. that is simply impossible which is why Dell loses money on every ubuntu machine sold, the support makes Linux more expensive than Windows.