I didn't think that this topic would start so soon. I don't think that .NET has really started yet. There are going to be developers that move to it. I haven't looked into it much yet, but I am sure that there are projects that will benefit from it over other languages/platforms. I don't think many of the projects have started yet. Give it a couple of years and we will know where .NET is going to fit in the grand scheme of things.
Along the same lines, I realize web services in general (not just .Net) are still not throughly specified for the internet. But I have heard there is a growing implementation of web services or SOAP services used in EAI where the gray areas such as internet security, etc. are not an issue. Does anyone know of any references of companies that are doing this - I'm trying to suggest it where I work?
.Net as marketing hype may be dead. All hype eventually dies. At some point, there has to be some "meat" behind the hype otherwise people move on to the next "hyped" thing. As for the "meat", .Net is just the latest evolution of MS's development solutions for distributed programming. They realized that having a common runtime was a great idea (thanks java!) so they integrated that into their toolkit, but otherwise, you're just using existing MS tools and APIs to do the same kind of distributed systems that were done long before there was a .Net or even Java. In true marketing fashion however, they needed a catchy name so they can get people to buy more stuff from them, hence .Net was born.
I would like to add my two cents here. Well, C# may be a blueprint of Java, but overall .NET has strong advantages over other programming platforms, and the most convincing thing about M$ is CLS (Common Language Specification) through which other vendors can write their languages compatible for .NET Platform. ActiveState's Perl.NET , Borland's Delphi.NET etc. are major names in this development. Although, it is going to take some time to institutionalise the technology, nevertheless some Indian companies have started to take overseas projects in C#. I started working in C# in Dec. 2000, when its Hype was on peak. But eventually I came to know it's just like a mirage whose future looks dim. However, I am pretty much impressed by ASP.NET technology, it's really awesome. It can use anything like JScript.NET, C#, VB.NET(Tremendous OO Stuff) and Perl.NET etc. You can have a look at something written in ASP.NET/C# at http://hosting.msugs.ch/pcte/discussion.aspx