I've read various blog entries on the future of IE or lack thereof. Here are my predictions of what will replace it:
- Browser incorporated into much richer Windows Explorer shell.
- Unified UI for viewing/editing all data (web, local documents, email, RSS(?), etc, etc).
- Shell Extensions in managed code to achieve this (well documented!).
- Unified search functionality for all above data sources (plumbed in again via managed APIs).
- Better support for running rich downloadable smart clients (written in managed code using a much superior framework to WinForms).
I think a key aspect will be the use of managed APIs to make it much easier to incorporate 3rd party products into this environment. The improved support for downloadable clients will appeal to the corporate market and will make it easier to sell licenced software running under DRM.