@Richard Plinston I agreed with you until you said, "It is the desktop itself that is a slow, lingering death, as evidenced by the sales figures."
Perhaps if you are referring specifically to the large box sitting on or underneath your desk, then that is supportable (though I still think there are reasons why some kind of easily customizable, upgradable, and powerful hardware will stick around for a while, even if it changes size and shape to some degree). However, the desktop in general is just much better than alternatives for certain things. It will take on a smaller less 'generally used for everything' type of role, but I can't see it dying in the forseeable future.
Of course, it's arguable that Microsoft has taken the first steps toward a "slow, lingering death." Of course, if it can make appropriate adjustments, this doesn't have to be the case. I don't think it's going in the right direction to prevent it at this point though. Still, even if it is headed that way, its momentum in the business world could make it take a really long time.