Wharton interviews MS's Craig Mundie
Craig is predicting a future where in we have full blown client side applications that interact with the cloud. Migrating applications out of the web browser, if you will. The destruction of the web browser has actually been a long term aim of MS, as made obvious in the their post IE6 destruction of the IE development team.
Obviously, migrating people from web browsers - which are inherently operating system agnostic - back to client applications which are tied to specific operating systems would be good for continuing MS's Operating System monopoly.
There are application domains that are ill suited to current web browsers, ones that are compute intensive or graphics intensive, for instance. Games, primarily. However, the text rendering engine inside of modern web browsers leaves the current generation of application toolkits (Swing, SWT, WF, MFC+, Qt) for dead.
The biggest disadvantage to me of a heavy client approach to interacting with the web is that suddenly which computer I am sitting at matters again. Having two laptops and a desktop, that hurts. Having an application that comes in both web and heavy versions, and stores all configuration in the web would reduce that burden.
Soon, I suspect, I will need an iPhone version as well...