I just read an email (spam), that said “… plus all the rich functionality and fluid interfaces users prefer.” It occurred to me that I honestly don't know if this is an assumption or a fact. What about people who grew up on the net using a web browser? My daughter, for example, absolutely refuses to use Outlook, Eudora or any other GUI mail client. She won't use anything but Mozilla to read her mail via one webmail service or another. I'm sure it depends upon the application we're talking about. Case in point, I'm writing this using Zempt, which is a desktop app for posting to Movable Type. I use it because I think editing text in a browser is a nightmare and I only compose things like email or blog posts that way when there's nothing else available. I'll bet there are many cases, though, where people just say “Screw it, I'll just open my browser and do it that way.”
Anyone have pointers to research or discussions on this topic?