Whether Windows 8 fails badly or mildly succeeds, I think Microsoft could benefit largely from a fresh perspective. They need someone who's thinking about the future, not someone who is trying to recreate the success from their past. They lost a few strategic battles, and the game has changed. Web is huge, open source systems are becoming more widely adopted, they don't own a monopoly any more.
In my opinion With windows 8 they saw a split in the market. Consumers are becoming mobile, and producers are migrating to laptops. Rather then creating 2 perfect operating systems for both they decided to create a zipper to merge them back together. It reeks of a regressive perspective.
Microsoft still employs an army of talented engineers, and they have a successful platform. I'm a .NET developer. I'm proud of working on Windows. But I can't see their future, and I suspect neither can they.
>Rather then creating 2 perfect operating systems for both they decided to create a zipper to merge them back together.
I think that's the right approach in general, though Windows 8 may not be the right implementation. The reality is that you can no longer neatly sub-divide market segments. We're exiting the era where we can point to a device and categorize them as a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. There is overlap between the phone and tablet categories and even more overlap between the tablet and laptop categories - and things will get more and more confusing as manufacturers experiment with designs. The upcoming Surface Pro is a great example. Is it a laptop, or an iPad-like tablet? Well, it's neither and both.
What scares me the most was that, as recent as .Net version 4, .Net was considered the future of software development for Windows environments. This appears to no longer be the case and the future of .Net still feel very much in question.