The WSJ has a rather negative article on Linux penetration in desktops. Apparently Torvalds’ father and sister use Windows. Far more interesting is the accompanying interview with Torvalds where he points out that desktops simply do not matter any more.
I suspect Vista is doing well enough — I think the problems with it are more indicative of the maturing market than anything else. The desktop market in general simply has a very high inertia, and while a Microsoft update obviously ends up having a lot of the advantages of that inertia, I think Microsoft is also noticing that the inertia can work against them.
So I don’t think Vista will “fail” or anything like that. But if I was Microsoft, I’d realize that this whole “let’s redesign everything” mentality just doesn’t work in a maturing market. And we may not be there yet, but the whole operating system thing is definitely turning into a commodity, not a “bells and whistles” kind of thing.
I think that some time soon, Microsoft will collapse under the burden of keeping its products compatible with previous versions and keeping all its products compatible with one another. The loose couplings that are the hallmark of OS software used to be a pain so far, but will soon prove an advantage.