Which is not to say that the browser is the right answer for everything. Here's an overgeneralization which I think works. All computer applications fall into one of three baskets: information retrieval, database interaction, and content creation. History shows that the Web browser, or something like it, is the right way to do the first two. Which leaves content creation. [...] The browser makes a lousy funnel through which to pour your soul into a computer, and I don?t see any reason to expect that to change.I agree. And I also like the 'sharecropper' analogy used by Bray for developing on closed platforms.
What he forgets to mention is that due to the lameness of the current US governments notion of monopoly control, even browser based services can be co-opted by the platform owner. Or they can try, at least - as MS is about to start doing with Google - complete with all the old monopolistic tricks. Search will be MS search unless you go out of your way to avoid it. I'll wager that the Google toolbar is likely to suddenly stop working in future versions of Explorer.
Then comes the interesting question: Has platform lock-in moved inside the browser? Will there be a mass-exodus from IE because it doesn't work with Google just like there was a mass-exodus from IBM hardware and OS/2 because it wasn't Windows?
Have we completed the move away from hardware to the degree that data (aka content) is finally king?