Has Microsoft been neglecting the desktop and not keeping pace with competition?
No doubt Microsoft feels safe and is safe in the desktop space (due to enterprise dominance), at least for the time being. But I will be the first to say that it has somewhat been neglecting it and not advancing it sufficiently to keep pace with the many great features OSX has introduced over the past 2 - 3 years.
For the majority of people the Windows desktop is familiar, they are fine with it and don't want to/can't learn advanced usage patterns involving trackpad gestures and workspaces such as in OSX, however I literally cringe anytime I see someone using the click button/area on the trackpad and dragging Windows by clicking on them instead of three finger drag on the trackpad (If you have a good trackpad and know how to use it, you should not have to do a single 'press to click'). Myself though I do use them and recognise UI improvements when I see them. Workspaces, launchpad and other features of OSX are great and controlling them with the trackpad is even greater. It still bugs me that OSX has no side snapping half/half UI feature, though this can be done with a 3rd party add on, but the overall window management and gesture feature set has truly left the Windows desktop in the dust and most users that have experienced OSX trackpad gestures and workspaces can attest to that. In fact workspaces almost feels like a feature migrated from mobile OS, that is switchable/draggable full screen apps and not just blind switching virtual desktop workspaces that you can get in Windows. Alt + tab is certainly not a substitute for workspaces.
I want Microsoft to rip off OSX workspaces concept and trackpad gestures for the desktop as you can't really do much more in respect to optimal desktop window management. But I fear they can't really add such features on to Windows anymore because the Metro UI is also there, even though switching metro apps requires a swipe from the edge, imagine there also being full screen desktop/win32 applications that you could swipe through, even though they would not swipe from the edge, it would still be really confusing and many would instead pull up the charms bar or switch to a metro app.
Also it pisses me off big time that Windows does not ship with basic features like the two/three finger tap on any word/string to get a dictionary meaning, no simple wi-fi sharing app like airdrop and in general Windows seems to be neglecting the touchpad, which if quality and used correctly with features like workspaces and 3 finger drag literally allows one to be as and even more productive on a notebook than a desktop PC with a traditional mouse, the trackpad is truly a far more powerful and efficient method of control than a regular mouse.
Ultimately I suspect Microsoft wants to eventually put away the desktop completely and advance WinRT to the degree that its UI would scale in respect to the active resolution and encompass sophisticated window management modes/auto-snapping etc. that would allow WinRT/Metro to deprecate the desktop. But this feels like it's still pretty far away and I fear we may see next to no advancements to desktop GUI for good deal of time if ever.