For those pondering what the next platform in personal computing is the answer may be in the recent acquisition of Groove Networks by Microsoft.
Facts: Grove, a 200 people company, makes a collaboration software, Virtual Office. The stated intent of the purchase is to augment both the upcoming versions of the OS (Longhorn) and MS-Office suite. Capabilities in Groove's Virtual Office overlap with SharePoint, the already existing collaboration software at Microsoft.
Putting all these pieces together, makes for an interesting hypothesis: The next platform in personal computing (SOHO and corporate) is collaboration. Collaboration is either the conduit or the destination of most our work with the computer.
Scenarios: The OS becomes an abstract file system and scheduler to which we add extensive communications and search capabilities. One would never face again .dll's or MIME type extensions. The OS would only enable one/one's applications to communicate with another('s), and will allow one to find out a piece of information by looking it up by any number of its attributes. The MS-Office Suite becomes this multi-party productivity tool by which work is being done alone or in groups, and always meant to be shared. Versioning control and real time control and access management could be its perceived features at (multi-)user level.
So, in a time when some are still looking to control the OS as platform, the next platform might have already been made into a collaboration play. The new medium, i.e. collaboration, is the message!