Charles Cooper of CNET has an interesting take on Longhorn and Web Services.
Ok, so he says that big companies aren't abandoning ship on J2EE just because Ballmer says .NET is better... But in fact, if you look at the toolset provided by VS.net, developing Web Services with .NET is far easier than anything in the Java world. I suppose that Java developers don't realize that. Also, Charles says that everything that Java has Microsoft's gradually reinvented... I personally wouldn't say that that is accurate. Ok, from the naive look you can say that .NET and Java “are the same”, but fundamentally they aren't. Performance wise .NET is better. GC is handled differently in .NET than in Java. Creating Windows (or windowed) applications is different (ie: they actually look like real MFC Windows Applications, unlike Swing). .NET has this ubiquoty about it, where even if you look at mobile devices, you can create applications on a Toshiba Pocket PC and not have to worry whether it will run on an iPaq. This is simply not the case with J2ME. I won't even get started about development for .NET on the SmartPhone compared to development of applications for Java cell phones.
In terms of Web Services, show me another platform (eh em, Java) where you have fantstic things like the Web Services Enhancement SDK (that is for .NET!) (v2 TP, v1). This SDK implements not-yet-standards or some proof-of-concept things. Show me something like this for Java developers. Ok, ok, IBM has something supporting some of the things in WSE, but not as innovative or “risk-ey“ as WSE. As Don Box pointed out a while ago, WSE is for the Web Service enthusiasts out there. There is simply nothing like this for Java.
So simply put, yes .NET is better. Looking into the future, the future looks very bright for .NET support. Look for more insanely awesome stuff to come. If you're going to the PDC, you'll love it. For those who aren't going, I'm sure plenty of bloggers will be blogging about the insanely awesome stuff.