Username or EmailPassword
The big PC manufacturers didn't cave in to Microsoft, they caved in to customer demand.
Only a very few people actually want to use Linux as their operating system. Everyone else installed an old pirated copy of Windows XP, had a friend do it, or returned the machine.
The only people who were totally happy with the Linux Eee PC netbooks were those that had a friendly local Linux user to help them out. I knew a lot of people who didn't care for the experience, but went along with it because that was what you got for $280. Once Windows netbooks were available they switched.
That was also because they used a terrible distribution of Linux. If they'd just slapped stock Ubuntu on there, people would have been happier with it.