Paul Graham's article "Microsoft is Dead" on why Microsoft's relevance in the computing world has radically declined is a gut check on how far we've come in the last few years.
Microsoft is no longer a threat to competition and progress not only because of increased competition from linux and apple, but primarily because the desktop is no longer the most important platform.
As gmail and other web services have proven the web and the web browser are the new platform. So called "office 2.0" has taken over. Gmail is the new Outlook, wiki's are the new Microsoft Word, and various other services like Upcoming.org and a whole lot more have put a severe dent in Microsoft's control with the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office.
Computing has also moved beyond the desktop with cell phones and mobile computing and media has taken a bigger role and microsoft is completely failing to get a handle on media, see it's failure with the zune, Play's for sure drm, right up to Vista which is frighteningly anti-consumer... and ironically all this would appear to be wasted as per the EMI and Apple announcement to sell non-drm media... though admitedly the video market and new technology like HDTV, Blueray, and HDDVD have yet to play out.
The biggest realization of this for me came when I was chatting with a friend via IM and I called twitter "cross platform". No longer does cross plaform necissarily mean Mac, Win and Linux. It now means many things and among them cross platform can mean the world wide web and the mobile web.
The operating system has lost some of it's relevance, which is why I can happily write this blog post from a computer running Ubuntu... because the majority of my primary applications are either open source like Firefox or web based like Gmail.
The big question is... is this the end of the tyranny or are we just swapping on tyrant for another. Clearly google is the leader in the new economy trailed closely by yahoo, while they have seen their share of critics neither exercises the dominance or control Microsoft once held.