In additon to fending off challenges to Office from Google, a lot of people (myself included) think that Microsoft’s facing a challenge to their platform dominance from the internet. If you buy the World of Ends-style idea that “the internet is a platform that nobody owns,” that’s a pretty big, amorphous blob for the guys in Redmond to wrestle.
Adam Sohn (he was the PR guy in our group when I started at Microsoft) is quoted on Redmond Developer saying that Microsoft is preparing a Live Development Platform. Ahh, an API that’ll do it all? Hmmm. I’m worried about the boil-the-ocean approach.
Scoble’s concern is that web developers like (or are at least used to) their pieces loosely joined; trying to create an all-singing, all-dancing API runs counter to that. Microsoft, on the other hand, has built their fortune around making developers productive, so it would be a mistake to underestimate their ability to understand the needs of mainstream programmers.
One thing’s for sure, it’ll be interesting to hear what Microsoft has to say at Mix this year.