I believe that the Internet is for us the equivalent of a window at home: we see people passing by, sometimes we say hello and even communicate something more than a greeting; it is just a window that allows us to see people no matter how far away they are, so the number of interactions is multiplied a hundredfold.
Interactions are little studied and we give them little importance because they are simple: a smile, a simple gesture of acceptance,... But when we have hundreds of daily interactions, their inertia is gigantic; I recommend you to read Emerging systems by Steven Berlin Jonson to understand what it means.
The fact is that with the Internet we choose the window we want and we also choose the street we look towards. That is, the device we use to enter the Internet and the web tools we use. In the first case, I would always like to use a device with free software installed and a standardized hardware architecture; but laziness has led me to be an Apple user at 75% for 15 years. I am no longer an Apple fan as I was in 2000 when I met the social networks thanks to a Mac forum united by a common enemy: Microsoft. Today Apple is not so different from the Microsoft of 2000; it has moved towards a generalist public by progressively abandoning the high-end and its niche: desktop publishing. But it continues to maintain and grow a group of fans. It no longer has an enemy or the exclusivity of yesteryear, but it does have a huge legion of Apple fans. The high-end and exclusive hardware is not well covered today and I think there could be a niche market there but let's see who ventures to develop a better and easier to use operating system than Mac OS 10.6 or iPhone OS.
Microsoft is halfway between the window - Apple - and the street - Google -, has the best army of developers in the world and a portion of Facebook, and its director: Steve Ballmer has made a firm bet on the cloud; having Microsoft Office in the browser window is a challenge and an opportunity for the creator of Windows and Excel.
Google is a separate issue, 15 years ago we had clear business models until Larry Page and Sergey Brin arrived and created a monster based on a search engine that gave everything for free and made money with everything. This is new, both the business model and the processing and storing of huge volumes of data that are not theirs.
We know that the Internet has changed the World but we don't know how much more it will change it, personally I think we have only read the prologue of the book. We all build the Internet every day. For example, months ago we did not know the space that corresponded to a brand in a social network; social networks were made for people and it turns out that all brands have realized that they have to be there. Today, a brand in a social network is a group of people who share an interest in that brand. If it works well that group thinks and acts like a group and self-organizes. But this is being defined right now.
Google has made us very loyal: Gmail, Docs, Reader, Calendar, Contacts,... are really good products that free us from the yoke of the pendrive, the folder on the server or the desktop PC; but all our data is there and time will tell where we are going.
The Internet likes small, only big tools are big, but big on the Internet is the size of Coca-Cola.
Clarification: My cloud juice is Google, Evernote, Flickr, a web hosting company and Dropbox. But with Google my relationship is special, Google knows more than anyone else about me, and I have a love-hate relationship with it, just as I do with Apple.