I just can't believe they didn't consider hardware failure
Did you guys not even read the article? You at least read enough to get the "married" bit.
It specifically gives an exception for the case where there is hardware failure.
And it is not enforced by software -- the last sentence states that MS is "asking" installers to enforce this themselves. Good bloody luck there. You could try to enforce it via software, but most likely you'd see the number of MB failures suddenly spike.
Frankly, this doesn't affect most businesses anyway -- they don't do MB upgrades. They buy entire systems. There are a few that may, but it's an exceptionally small number. And any home users knowledgeable enough to upgrade their MBs are going to completely ignore this "edict" anyway.
Talk about a silly move on MS's part.
Oh, and if you're getting asked to renew your license everytime you make even a minor hardware change then it's because you've done so many other hardware changes -- without reinstalling Windows -- that you've crossed the limit. You can do ~3 changes to devices (device = mb, cpu, ram, first HD, first optical drive, video card) before it triggers this mode. Reinstall, get authorized again, and it's reset.
Go read up on the XP authorization system... it's really pretty straightforward (and fairly useless).