@wastingtimewithforums: Nice article. Nail meets hammer. For me it's pretty simple (remember this is just IMO):

  1. No desktop story: WPF/SL is dead. The desktop is hampered by incursions from the Windows Store App environment. Removal of the start menu and movement of control panel applets to the PC Settings Windows Store App environment confirm that this is a migration from the desktop to the Windows Store App environment. The desktop is legacy.
  2. Windows RT is an "also-ran": Poor performance, high price, few apps. This platform is dead right out of the gate.
  3. WP8: While it's sweet and slick if offers little over WP7 (and in some cases takes it a step backwards). We all know how poorly WP7 did in the market. WP8 doesn't seems to be doing much better.

IMO, Microsoft's hope is pinned on Windows Pro 8. They need a broad adoption of tablets and other touch driven devices by both the consumer and business to drive up demand for Windows Store apps. If that never happens then what is the value of W8 and the whole push to WinRT & touch based apps? I'm all for investing in the future and I applaud Microsoft for biting the bullet and trying to reinvent Windows. IMO the problem is in the end they didn't end up providing a vastly improved Windows nor did they introduce a game changer (i.e. Courier) that would disrupt the market. Hopefully someone at Microsoft can take the good bits out of W8 and build something in W9 (or another product) that will truly put them back in the spotlight.