For your reading pleasure, here are excerpts from the famous Bill Gates memoes at the Seattle Times. Windows 7 hacker just noted some Microsoft results. Nothing like the heady yesteryear. The fountains of money - Windows and Office, are now down to one - Microsoft Office. Windows is selling lots but the income isn't as high.
The Server and Tools business is doing ok, the Entertainment business is doing ok. Sort of correlates to my perceptions. Server and Tools are moving Microsoft upstream to the IT Department and away from their core business supporters - the ones who buy PCs. Is the end user computing dead? Not by a long shot. But Microsoft's slice of the pie is getting smaller.
Remember, lots of gurus were predicting the death of the personal computer by the onslaught of terminals linked to servers? That didn't happen - but now it's mobile and tablet devices linked to the cloud - and that's real, not imagined. What share does Microsoft have in that? Some share of the server business (who, we, the end user don't see) and zilch in the tablet and the phone (devices that are everywhere).
Xbox? Yeah, that's ok but the console games business is terribly competitive and prone to fashion.
Will Windows 8 herald a new coming? Right now, I doubt it. Bringing "fat finger" from hand held mobile devices to the desktop is just uncomfortable - the desktop has the strength of precise pointing and a clean screen at arm's length.
Will Microsoft Office continue its monopoly? For me, yes because I am so, so used to the richness of functions that Excel, Access provide. But better and better web based office administration products are more than capable of making mindless robots out of workers.
Food for thought