There is news that M$ is planning to adopt HTML5, in IE9. That, combined with browser choice, should end the lock-in conceived to defeat Netscape in 1994, and destroyed the reputation of trust for M$ with the waves of malware in the following decade.
While the move to open standards should be welcomed, it comes with a move to lock people in on “the cloud”. For the time being, we at least have some competition there with Google and a few others in the game. We gain nothing if M$ manages to lock the world into their cloud and towing along that other OS as the client system for it. The monopoly will soon be gone, though. M$ will have to compete on price and quality if any browser and OS will do. Fortunately we know FLOSS thrives on servers and will continue to do so in the cloud or on a thick client or terminal server. My servers dance and provide a much better environment for users than that other OS.
The question remains whether the big guys can lock us in on the cloud so that the monopoly moves from the thick client to the cloud and nothing really changes regarding the cash-flow of the big guys. I think there is no way to get the same lock-in on the cloud unless you have to buy a subscription at the local big box store in order to do e-mail or whatever. I doubt people will be willing to “pay the tax” up-front. If M$ includes the price of the cloud in the price of a PC they could continue their old model but the real world is seeing constantly decreasing prices for PCs so that will not fly. M$ will have to really diversify and make money the old-fashioned way, by earning it. They can no longer glide along as a monopoly. Recent history shows that the world will move on faster than M$ can try to control it. All desperate measures:
- feature bloat
- OEM and retailer lock-in
- tolerating illegal copying
- using malware to slow PCs so new ones will be bought
- file format changes forcing upgrading software and PCs
- patent trolling
- SCOG v World
- trying to embrace and extend FLOSS
All will fail sooner or later. The world is rushing past all this noise. In an open world, FLOSS will have its day.