Mozilla’s Firefox is on schedule to break 20% share next month and this is very bad news for Microsoft. If we are to play out what the next 5-10 years will look like in the world of technology, one of the knowns is that SaaS will become a bigger market and as such less companies will care about the OS and the applications on local machines.
Knowing what we know now, we can expect most new computers to have Intel and AMD chips but from there, the OS is becoming less important. Soon enough we could see machines with no operating system per se but just a browser. This is a revisit on the web-only devices made popular for a short time during the dotcom boom.
As this happens, Microsoft needs to be worried about which browser customers get comfortable with. There seems to be a trend towards the browser becoming the OS and this is why a market-share loss by IE can be devastating in the long-term for Redmond.
So while Microsoft focuses on search, hosted apps, becoming a bigger web portal, a mobile OS company, etc, what they need to be careful of is not to lose sight of the browser — which will likely be the only window to the world of computing in the future.