Things have changed a lot since then. Not only is the market share for Mac on the rise while Windows is flat, but there are many other platforms for which software is needed. In additional to the Mac and Windows desktop, there's Linux, web applications (with each browser being different enough to almost be another platform) and mobile too. With software developers needing the ability to support so many different platforms, rapid cross-platform development is more important than ever. Anything that helps create a more level playing field promotes cross-platform development, and that is is good for us.
Microsoft is in trouble. They still have enormous market share on the desktop but they are losing ground. PC sales are flat because more people are using web and mobile applications, though some PC users are switching to Mac. The "halo effect" is real as it turns out. And in the growing mobile/tablet markets, Microsoft is weak. In response, Microsoft is doing something they are not accustomed to doing: they are being bold.
Microsoft has designed Windows 8 as a hybrid OS that can run on phones, tablets and desktops. Having the underpinnings shared between the desktop and mobile makes sense. Apple does this with OS X and iOS. Android is based on Linux. Having the same user experience on the other hand, is a bold though questionable move. From the demonstrations I have seen, this isn't a good idea. Check out this demonstration where an experienced Windows user is have trouble figuring out how to do basic things in Windows 8 such as sign into their account or shut off the computer. Chris Pirillo posted a video of his dad, a long-time Windows user, having his first experience with Windows 8 and not even realizing it was Windows! In another video Chris had his dad try Mac OS X, an OS he had never used, and he quickly was up and running. These are not good signs for Microsoft. In addition, putting the desktop and Metro user interfaces together is jarring. Microsoft might see this as a temporary situation until traditional desktop applications migrate to Metro but I doubt that. Metro is designed for phones and tablets primarily. It works on the desktop because the desktop/laptop computers have larger screens than phones and tablets but the reverse is not true. I'm not convinced that all applications can be ported with full functionality to a tablet. Apple reduces the features set of the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. But perhaps you disagree with me and think that all Windows applications can be Metrofied. If that's the case, then Metro becomes a whole new platform that must catch up with the already entrenched Android and iOS platforms.
Microsoft has made another bold move. Previously, they provided free "express" versions of Visual Studio. While they will continue to do this, according to Peter Bright's article for arstechnica, they are limiting these to building Metro applications only. If you want to build a traditional desktop application, you will have to purchase Visual Studio which starts around $500. They are still going to provide the 2010 Express versions for free. Clearly, this move is designed to push new developers towards Metro and that makes sense for Microsoft.
To survive, Microsoft now needs to be humble. They need to acknowledge that their lunch is being eaten by Apple and Google. Their first goal should be to slow, then stop the migration away from Windows. So far, however, I haven't seen any humbleness coming from Redmond. In fact, their public funeral for the iPhone in 2010 shows just the opposite. If Windows 8 and Metro are not well-adopted, the Windows market share will continue to erode.
That's actually good news for us. In the perfect world, Windows, OS X and Linux would each have 33% market share for desktop operating systems. Desktop, web and mobile would each have 33% market share for devices. The more equal the market share, the more important cross-platform development becomes. From what I'm seeing, Microsoft is going to help us with Windows 8.