Godplex, I find your comments on Windows 8 interesting since it seems to be a complete contradiction to everything I've read about it from users and developers.
One thing to keep in mind is that people's job security is threatened whenever they must learn something new, and this influences public opinion. Power users may hate a feature that makes a task ten times easier because they have become so good at doing it worse way. Eventually, however, the better way will improve the industry because more people will be enhanced by the new method than hindered.
Microsoft seems to be taking steps to force people to adapt to new systems, whether they want to or not, and it makes people uncomfortable.
For example, Windows 8 forces users to log in using their Windows Live ID. This is guaranteed to piss people off. On the other hand, it guarantees to the software developer that they will have Windows Live features like Skydrive available. In Windows 8, a programmer can backup a user's settings to Skydrive and automatically sync them with all the other computers a user has. Yes it's annoying, but it's small compared to the convenience of every program guaranteed this capability automatically. Developers can also use Live ID's authentication with their own services too. It's entirely possible to log into your PC and have Steam, Impulse, and whatever else be authenticated securely and automatically, without needing individual credential systems for each app to introduce new security issues. The technology is available today, but won't be used by developers until MS can force the 95% to get off their backsides and upgrade.
Software developers are also having better design crammed down their throats, whether they like it or not. For example, right now all monitors have pixels that are 1/72 of an inch squared. There is nothing preventing manufacturers from building super-high DPI monitors (think Apple's Retina display for your desktop and games) other than the fact that legacy programs were visually designed assuming 1/72" pixels. Anything else would make legacy programs render large and blocky, or small and unreadable.
Microsoft released an amazing framework called WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) that fixes this problem. WPF forces vector graphics for all of its rendering. When you zoom in on a WPF application, the text and graphics look clearer, whereas with older technologies it just looks blocky and crap. WPF also uses "logical pixels" to lay out applications. When a developer creates a button 30px by 90px, it actually calculates how many "physical pixels" it should render based on the specs of your monitor. That button will be the same size on every screen. WPF applications will look beautiful on a super-high DPI monitors, whereas old applications will be distorted, blocky and look like crap.
All Metro-Style apps are forced to use WPF or HTML5. I bet that, eventually, desktop apps will be forced to use some new technology too. Metro-Style apps are also more secure because users have to grant explicit permission for apps to use certain features. The new app store also benefits users by enforcing compliance with Microsoft's security and quality standards, for all the apps distributed there.
In summary, the dilemma Stardock faces when contemplating 64bit-only applications is really part of a larger problem. As Voqar said, Win7 may be the new XP because it's so stable that people won't see a reason to upgrade. Developers will make applications for the widest compatibility, and everyone will miss out on new possibilities because their current OS is "good enough".
Short-term discomfort at a massive scale is the only way to force people to use better systems. If everyone started using Windows 8 as soon as it was released, then creative developers could take full advantage of all the cool stuff it offers under the hood.
(For fairness, I should add that I have an unrealistically positive opinion of Microsoft. Most people have unrealistically negative opinions of MS.)
Edit: final note on metro...
The start screen is cool for launching desktop applications, but it's hard to say whether the metro apps themselves will be great or terrible. The Windows beta doesn't have any big scale metro apps. They are all just Wikipedia readers and dumb little games like you would find on the iPhone store. Anyone who says "metro is lame" is being premature because no developers have sunk their teeth in yet, and anyone who says "metro is great" is also premature for the same reason. Only time will show it's merits.