Automation Access has a long editorial on the trends that we are seeing around us, and how they will play out. There is also a section which deals with “the road ahead” for Microsoft. Here’s the take on software:
The PC software industry is in the final days of being destroyed by Microsoft, [which] is preparing to drive the few remaining significant software publishers out of the Windows market.
Soon there will be Microsoft, Intuit, and Symantec. While Intuit will put up a strong fight, its popularity is not something Microsoft will tolerate for long. Revenue plans for Microsoft Great Plains do not allow for the existence of accounting software competitors. Microsoft will use Longhorn and .NET to bash and batter Intuit. Symantec will continue because someone has to publish antivirus software, and it isn’t going to be Microsoft (liability issues).
Paradoxically, a strong open source alternative is the best hope for a revived commercial software industry. Much software needed by businesses is simply of no interest to open source developers. As Linux becomes a mainstream business operating system, the market for commercial software running on Linux expands.
The market for commercial software running on Linux is, however, a market for small companies to serve, and will not spawn a “new Microsoft”.