"I think Microsoft's even more screwed than the conventional wisdom thinks they are. Their mobile strategy is a shambles, their console business will never turn a profit (and could end up costing them another $10-$20 billion), they're an also-ran in the cloud, and their OS and office applications monopolies are increasingly threatened by Apple in the home, and by Linux and cloud-based applications in the workplace.
Their patent portfolio is formidable, but then, so was Kodak's.
I think they have about 5 years left to turn it around before they begin a rapid slide into irrelevance, and I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Ballmer could lead such a turnaround."
Then yet another assessment of Windows 8 on ZDNet here.
You would have thought that M$ would have learned from Ubuntu's Unity fiasco that this was not a direction to go. Ubuntu saw their popularity drop from 1st place in the Linux distros to 2nd almost overnight in favor of the current number one: Mint.
I believe the key take-away here is that the desktop OS market is rapidly declining in importance. As suggested in the ZDNet article, there are plenty of choices out there that satisfy many of the current desktop use cases; now is not a good time for Microsoft to be further alienating their customer base.