I've been thinking about the rise of the web as an application platform for a while. But what hadn't occurred to me until I read Spolsky's essay last week is this, which I think is quite remarkable: Microsoft totally fucked up when they took aim at Netscape. It wasn't Netscape that was a threat to Windows as an application platform, it was the web itself.
They spent all that time, money, and development effort on IE, building a browser monopoly and crushing Netscape -- but to what avail? Here we are, and the web is still gaining developer mindshare at the expense of Win32.Daring Fireball: The Location Field Is the New Command Line
Microsoft is still hedging it's bets. It sunk money into WebTV and is still struggling with smartphones and handhelds. But if the web wins, Microsoft loses.