Tecosystems: Why services trump the MS fat client story
There is another scenario to consider, and I think it's relevant in the same timeframe as the ASP making serious inroads into MS's market,
where the ASP and the fat client merge.
Instead of accessing the ASP over the web, you download/sync the relevant portion of the ASP's data center to your hard drive, and just run their VM images locally. You optionally can sync your user data to the ASP for fault tolerance and remote access, or just keep it local.
Using free services like logmein.com, you don't really lose any of the ASP accessibility.
This is what I do right now for lots of server-based development environments that I may need on my laptop. Sometimes I don't have the memory or CPU to run the db+appserver vm's all at once, or I didn't have time to transfer them to my laptop hard drive. It's easy enough to keep them on my more powerful desktop machine at home and then just use logmein to get to them.
Although this works great for a developer, and pushing the VMs out to clients or remote servers also wonderfully, a more broadly useful strategy is for ASPs to push these VMs down to clients. Although it wonn't really exist until virtualization tech is ubiquitous, I think that's just a single CPU generation away (2 yrs?).
That should be right about the time that ASPs start to manage your location information/medical records/etc.