To see the true importance of Dashboard we need to look at what makes Microsoft the dominant player in the computer industry. Microsoft makes most of its money from the sale of Windows and Office. Now the only reason to buy Windows is for the applications that run on it. So long as Microsoft controls the largest pool of developers Windows remain the number one OS.
It seemed that the web threatened Window’s dominance, by making the platform irrelevant. Microsoft realised this a long time ago, which is why they killed Netscape and then promptly stopped development on IE. Now browsers have continued to get better, thanks largely to the efforts of Mozilla, but yet Microsoft continues to prosper. The reason: web-based interfaces, compared to their native counterparts, suck. Right now we’re seeing some exciting developments. Starting with Oddpost and continuing with GMail and other so-called AJAX applications, web-based applications have been delivering interfaces that approach their desktop counterparts, but they aren’t there yet.