They'll have the desktop, but people probably won't want to use it. It's a very clear statement that, going forward, plugins are being deprecated in IE. Creating content that doesn't require plugins is ultimately better for the web and applications too complex to be easily developed in HTML are probably better off as native WinRT apps anyway.
Yeah i see some things as happening starting with Win8
1) plugins going to a lesser / deprecated status.
2) Silverlight V5 is porbably the last major version we will see.
3) what was wpf and silverlight are now going to be "Windows XAML" for the markup side and pick a language for the client code, C# etc...
4) .net / WinRT / Win32 possibly WInRT becoming the default framework / runtime and .net gets to support mode for older os's
I have to say that if this is right that it does follow a logic i can agree with.
SIlverlight and WPF have been getting closer and closer to beeing the same thing in each new version. and if they have decided that there is no real future in trying to make a cross platform runtime for SIlverlight (given the way the Mac and iPad/iPhone and other platforms are) then there is not really a good story for why to spend more money on having two teams, two codebases etc....
and for sure it's time to really retire a bunch of WIn32 stuff.
even if WIn 8 was going to look just like 7 all of the changes to the plumbing and runtimes 100% is a good set of things for them to do.