Another timely reality check from Paul Thurrott; read the full post for more context-setting
Apple, Google, and a combination of factors--including a now steady march toward cloud computing--have effectively destroyed Microsoft's biggest advantages. Now, in increasing numbers, people are turning to Macs--especially mobile Macs--at home, and especially so in the United States, and especially in higher education. The iPhone is the hottest smart phone of the past 12 months, and the new iPhone 3G should make even more of an impact. Nintendo has stolen the video game market from Microsoft, and even Sony looks to be making a comeback there. And digital media? Forget about it: It's all about Apple's iPod and iTunes. Nothing else comes close.
OK, what about the business space? I feel that Microsoft's business-oriented solutions are superior, and perhaps they will continue to be so for years to come. But a growing population of the computer-using public is using Macs and not PCs, iPods and not Windows Media devices, iPhones and not Windows Mobile devices. They're using cloud-based email and personal information management services, not complex internally managed systems like Exchange. And when they get into the workplace, they're going to expect access to the same trusted and beloved technologies, just as people have always done. Small businesses? Why would they set up a complex local server that requires constant attention and management when they can get Google Apps for free or next to nothing? The world is moving on.