Things are getting quite heated with IE8 being tested by the community since being released through Windows Update, the imminent release of Firefox 3.5, and the whole Bing vs. Google hype. Tech news is littered with arguments for and against, studies conducted under very close scrutiny of the vendors themselves, and propaganda released by each vendor, desperately trying to get a leg up over the competition. Behind the scenes, the magma is heating up over Windows 7 and Apple's Snow Leopard.
What do you see in common? Microsoft vs. Everybody! It's Microsoft against Google, Firefox (Mozilla foundation; open source community), and Apple. The others do not put themselves up against everybody else so strongly - they surely, and justifiably so, promote their own products and services, and when they need to, keep the facts straight (IE8; Google), but they all play clean, while Microsoft seems to be a giant finally unseated in many respects.
Reading news in general, we can see a trend toward more awareness of alternatives, contrasted with the view that Microsoft, Windows, and Microsoft Office were synonymous for their functional roles - Software, Operating System, and Office Productivity Suite (see NY Times malware). People are starting to wonder and ask about switching to other vendors - Linux or Mac, OpenOffice.org, etc. Microsoft still remains the giant for the enterprise tier of users, but it is not uncommon to find Mac offices, or offices that are comprised of a heterogeneous set of computing technology, each individual pooling what he feels the best for each aspect of his workflow. We find Linux-based print servers, firewalls, web and database servers; these are connected to Windows and Mac clients, as well as the occasional Windows client. Then you will also see Windows solutions deployed in the infrastructure of the office for specialized applications that only support Windows for their purposes. Especially with the advent of cloud computing, these lines only grow fuzzier.
It is quite fascinating to watch the explosion of technology these days, everything attempting to achieve a niche, play into the social network and interconnectedness, and ride the tide into the cloud. There are all kinds of web sites/services set up to share various types of information in a categorized or tagged community setting - which ones will survive as leaders in their respective niche? Time will tell, as it always has.
Registered Linux User #370740 (http://counter.li.org)