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The industry followed the road of integrating more and more features into our machines. If it weren't for that, we wouldn't have anti-aliasing, themes, DVD playback, or many of the other features which have already been mentioned. There has been a price to achieving this goal so quickly, and that manifests itself as bloat.
But here's the thing: while the industry has been chasing the holy grail of convergence, they ignored the people who don't care about it. If I had the choice between fuzzy anti-aliased text and a crisp 300 dpi display, I would choose the 300 dpi display anyday. If I had the choice between featureful bloatware and replacing hard drives with solid state memory, I would take solid state memory any day. If I had the choice between a system which responds instantly and one with more features, I would take the system which responds instantly. And the list can go on.
There isn't one true direction to progress, and some of us would have rather seen the industry go in those other directions. And it would have been easier to build small, quiet, and energy efficient machines if we didn't have to deal with software bloat.