Update: I just stumbled upon this article, which we wouldn’t have seen a few years ago from so many esteemed security professionals I doubt. I lays out the case against MS as a secure platform, and it pertains to my comments insomuch as I think this is one of the reasons MS will start to fade in coming years.It’s becoming increasingly apparent to some that Microsoft has reached the saturation point, and is going to begin a slow retraction in the operating system market of the future. The most recent attack and other news point toward a shift in both attitude at MS and perception from outside. They’ve long been victims of their own policies and software, for better and worse, and have been derided popularly as a result of some of those policies, yet lately it seems to be reaching critical mass.I’m sure this has been said many times in the past, just as Apple is so often declared dead, but something has changed.Recent surveys suggest MS is holding at 90% and up in OS market share, with *nix and Mac OS following way behind. It’s unlikely that Mac will make up much ground for a few years, though they’ll likely grow a little, but Linux is steadily taking over the types of contract which are the core of MS’s dominance, the government and enterprise business customers. Every week or two lately a high profile case crops up, and each time it’s covered less like a shock by mainstream media, and more like “another victory for underdog Linux”. This won’t continue forever, and eventually it will likely shift to a expectant “what will MS do now?” attitude as the inevitable happens and MS market share contracts. This doesn’t mean the end for MS – that won’t happen – but it means the company will begin to further it’s ongoing shift toward other markets, and soften it’s approach publicly in those it dominates, in hopes of lessening the trapped feelings of IT managers, faced with budgets that don’t jibe with MS lock-in policies.It’s fascinating to watch – I imagine it’s much like what was experienced watching the Bells be torn apart and Standard Oil be broken up, only in this case, it won’t be the government that does it. The government failed, and while MS was concentrating on winning that war with lobbyists and Washington attorneys, the gnats that were buzzing around in the OSS community grew up and faced the fact that no one was going to serve the beat down for them. Now, faced with the reality that Linux and other options are ready for prime-time in the enterprise, and close to it on the desktop, MS is sweating it and looking for other avenues to expand. It’ll be fierce in coming years, but my guess is that with hooks now laid in congress and a war chest the likes of which the world hasn’t seen, MS will just buy new markets as it perceives them (consoles and cellphones, anyone?) and legislate against competitors in the US. But eventually, the international market for the OS will largely be lost to Microsoft, and US businesses will begin to see more clearly the future of computing. I’m looking forward to a market that competes on the basis of ideas and enthusiasm, rather than FUD and manipulation.