New thoughts as of Dec 26:
On the PC-front, Apple's Mac OS is gaining market share and this could be the most serious threat MS has to deal with. Linux although has been touted as the Windows replacement for years, due to its decentralized nature of development, I feel it still has a long way to go.
Will MS release Visual Studio for free when further threatened by The Fruit? We will see, but the giving away of Carbide.C++ will keep me from buying any MS development tools in the near future. Freebie is good. :)
Carbide.C++ is an IDE for Symbian OS, developed by Nokia. As recent as a few weeks ago it was still selling for as much as 3500 Euros for the OEM edition where the user gets all the works.
The tide has changed course and all editions are available for download, totally free of charge.
Nokia must has felt the heat from gPhone (running Android), iPhone (running trimmed down Mac OS?), and probably phone running a new OS from Palm (pPhone?). This step is on the right path, but its effectiveness remains yet to be seen. For the mean while, I am delighted to have the full-featured IDE to play with.