In There Will Be No Files In The Cloud Fred Wilson argues that file-based cloud computing will become a thing of the past:
This is why I love Google Docs so much. I just create a document and email a link. Nobody downloads anything. There are no attachments in the email. Just a link. Just like the web, following links, getting [stuff] done. I love it. That’s the future. I’m pretty sure of it.
He has a point, but I think it’s important to clarify what he means by “file”. Sorry to go all Wikipedia on you, but I promise ther’s a point on the other side. Wikipedia defines a computer file as follows:
A computer file is a block of arbitrary information, or resource for storing information, which is available to a computer program and is usually based on some kind of durable storage. A file is durable in the sense that it remains available for programs to use after the current program has finished.
The point being that a file is a block of data that is accessible to the programs that need it. Based on that definition files are certainly not going away, because software will always need access to the data that makes it more than a pretty shell.