Anders Hejlsberg made a nice presentation during his latest visit to Denmark, see it here. He said a lot of things, but one of his points actually explains the power in Delphi: When you look at the amount of learning that a new programmer has to do, the tools and libraries are now much bigger than the language. Delphi has good tools and libraries, and that's important.
Anders Hejlsberg also mentioned, that most languages will be static and dynamic in the future. I totally disagree. The main reason why Python and PHP are so popular, is that the learning curve is not steep. If python would become a .net language, it's tools and library would explode in size, and if static typing would be applied, language complexity would increase, making it unsuitable for a part of its audience. It seems that Anders Hejlsberg has forgotten usability - it also applies to programming languages. There is a need for entry-level languages.
Anders also mentions that we're working towards an ever increasing level of abstractions, and that we need to continuously invent new programming languages to test new methods. That's fine with me, as long as I don't need to invest in source code based on these obviously temporary languages. Adding more and more features to C# makes it bloated. In other words, Microsoft is facing the choice between bloat or many languages, and seems to pick both, just to be safe.
Anders's presentation is tainted by his employment at Microsoft. Therefore, we need to remember the background for his presentation. The world of general-purpose programming languages today largely consists of these groups (based on the TIOBE index):
* Open Source compilers: C, C++, Java
* Microsoft .net: C#, VB
* Low performance scripting languages
In order to really understand the difference between these groups, you need to look at the forces behind.
Open Source compilers will preserve backwards compatibility. They are cross-platform which makes some things more complicated (Write once test anywhere). You can do anything you want with C and C++, but development costs are huge. Java is very strong and probably the most widely used today. However, Java also has problems.
Microsoft compilers always face the threat, that Microsoft can earn more money by not being loyal to their programmers. They have done that multiple time in the past, and every time it meant big expenses for developers.
Delphi is owned by Embarcadero, and Delphi is one of their main products. They need to make Delphi good and be loyal to developers. And yes, we can still compile 25 year old Turbo Pascal code.