According to this study by IDC Research, PC sales have taken the worst plunge in a generation. While some of that could probably be attributed to the growing popularity of tablets and handheld devices, a good amount of blame can be rightly leveled at Microsoft and their new, snazzy, Windows 8 operating system.
Since Windows 8 was introduced, its reception has been almost universally negative. It's confusing, it's too much change to fast, and it basically forces the user to learn what amounts to an entirely new operating system for little or no benefit. The catastrophe of Windows 8 seems to be even worse than that of Windows Vista.
Now is an excellent time for Microsoft to focus on Windows 7 or at least bring the Windows 7 Aero interface to Windows 8 and give users a little bit of solid ground. This would be the sensible move since many (most) of the complaints are about the new user interface, which Microsoft calls "Metro"...or "Modern UI"...or whatever they're dubbing it this week. But, no, instead of trying to stop the bleeding and give long time users something to hold on to, Microsoft is doubling down on the Metro interface in Windows "Blue" and shoving it harder and deeper down the throats of confused and increasingly angry customers.
I think this presents an excellent opportunity for alternative operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux to introduce users to their offerings. Since users have to learn a whole new system anyway, why not learn something better, more stable, more responsive to their needs and wants. I believe Linux, in particular, stands to gain the most from the surge of unhappiness as it can present itself as the free, easy to customize, non-control-freak, alternative to Windows and Mac. Not only can users tweak their machines to look and function in any way they like, but they can realize real money savings as software for the platform is largely free.
Overall, I believe this is the end for Microsoft Windows. Microsoft pushed too hard, to fast, and now they're paying for it. The PC landscape is going to get very interesting over the next few years. Sit back and watch where it goes. You might be surprised by what you see and how little of that it includes Windows.