"If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine - and if it no longer lobs grenades on intellectual property and patents that poison the atmosphere - then it could harness open-sourcers on Windows and Azure."
Unlikely. So many open source users are using either Linux or OSX, 1) They're either volunteer, or working for a Linux vendor in many cases. So they won't be "harnessed" unless they want to be. 2) They're not running Windows. 3) To develop for Windows & Azure, for the most part you have to be running Windows. I think cross-compilers are a foreign concept to Microsoft. I for one will never purchase a copy of Windows, or get hardware that has it bundled. (I suppose people could do .NET stuff with Mono if they want on non-Windows systems.)
@jake, good for you! I refuse to work on Microsoft systems now either! In fact most of the people I know that used to fix people's problems either quit, or jacked rates WAY up (like $150 an hour). I think this is a genuine threat to Microsoft, people tolerated Windows faults assuming they could pay some kid like $20 to fix it.. the talented ones either fled Windows, or jacked the rates up! Microsoft products break for no good reason, are virus prone, unstable, and relatively inscrutable compared to the other OSes available. The lack of package management is painful; the poor driver support and tendancy to tie the OS to a machine is painful as well (You know, if you ditch Windows, if your computer dies you can just move the hard drive to a new machine? Yes you can.) These same people complain how "hard" computers are, "why do they break all the time?" etc., and just don't believe me when I say my computer doesn't break because I'm not using Windows.
@AC "Like it or hate it, you still need to use MS."
Like hell I do. And I think Hugh_Pym and DanielB sum it up nicely.... Just knowing the state Windows is in EVEN OUT OF THE BOX, I can't take any pride on my work on it. EVERYTHING felt like a kludge, between the registry and windows/system or windows/system32, I never REALLY knew what was going on, and too often the system behavior was unpredictable. I felt like a (fill in shitty car here) mechanic, it never ran quite well and I knew it was just going to break down soon enough. Admining a UNIX box in contrast is a pleasure, the behavior is predictable, and I know when I am done it is just going to run and run. And as DanielB says, there's plenty of jobs... 1) Microsofters tend to have a distorted view of the market.. Microsoft is large but it's not like there's nothing else. 2) I think there's less job competition in the UNIX market.
Personally I view Microsoft as similar to Digital Research.. they thought they were infallible, based om market share they appeared infallible, throughout the early 1980s. CP/M is dead, and I think Windows is on the way out too. Microsoft will take a LONG LONG time to fall, due to huge cash reserves, and just like every system ever made, there'll be SOME Windows systems left for a long time.
This is another reason I've left Windows behind though -- it's so complex, there's layer upon layer upon layer with sometimes arcane interactions... but to me it'd be like learning the inner workings of CP/M... I just don't think it'll be knowledge I will have a use for.