Email has been around a long time and there have been countless predictions that 'Email is Going Away', but it is still going strong and probably will be used for a very long time.
What has changed to some extent is how we use email and how we manage it. Windows 7 made a change in that it doesn't come with an email program. Most computer makers have added Windows Live Mail to Windows 7 and that is probably a good thing for Windows XP users switching to Windows 7.
However, going from Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail is a big step for the majority of Windows users. Those 'ribbons' just put everyone off until they finally figure it out, and for a lot of users that just never happens.
I wonder why Microsoft is always making changes that usually frustrate users? I know change must happen but why change things that are working? I suspect they are not thinking about who is using Windows Live Mail. The 'who' is generally the casual email user who just uses his/her computer for reading email and web surfing.
However, changes to the stuff we use everyday is inevitable and so we will have to learn how to go forward. But in the event a user just can't learn to live with Windows Live Mail, there are other email programs that will work just fine for the casual user and they don't have those confusing ribbons!
For users who want to read email on the web instead of in an email program, or maybe both, Microsoft has a new email web, Outlook.com.