In Computerworld, Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald are quoted as saying that "Microsoft has not responded to the market, is overburdened by nearly two decades of legacy code and decisions, and faces serious competition on a whole host of fronts that will make Windows moot unless the software developer acts." One of those fronts is of course web applications.Today there's been a sensational claim by 2 Gartner analysts that "Windows is collapsing".
Another report from PC World explains that the tipping point where Windows loses its majority market share in the enterprise world could be as soon as 2011!
"The move to server-agnostic applications is still in its infancy but will soon have a major effect on enterprise computing. The legacy applications won't go away, even if the exciting stuff is being done on Internet-based apps, they said. But it won't stay that way. Today, 70 to 80 percent of corporate applications require Windows to run, but the Gartner analysts expect a tipping point in 2011, when the majority of these applications will be OS-agnostic, such as Web applications. "Sometime in the middle of the next decade, Windows will be playing a much less important role on the desktop," MacDonald said."
"...the time for the web-based office will come, mark my words. When broadband is ubiquitous, web functionality is richer, issues of security and reliability have been put to rest, and most importantly of all - when Corporates are ready to make the jump. It may be 5-10 years down the track, it may be longer."
I stand by that prediction today. In September 2006 Nicholas Carr had an even more specific prediction, saying that in "the early 2010s" we'll see "fully web-based suites".
2011 seems an optimistic prediction for web apps (and other OS-agnostic apps) to usurp Windows in the enterprise, but I'm certain it will be only 1-3 years after that before the cloud becomes the platform of choice for enterprise.