Nikon's abandoning manual focus lenses is a presage of what will come.. which is that Nikon will NOT release a Full Frame (FF) digital SLR. Ever.
Their intention is to keep the Reduced Frame (DX) format and start making smaller lenses for that format, which will be cheaper and lighter. The advantage will come with the long telephotos with large apertures (f2.8 and f4), which should cost significantly less than their full-frame equivalents. They will do this because Canon is stretched having to maintain two distinct lines of lenses, the EF for FF and the EF-S which only works with reduced frame cameras, and they will be able to compete and create a distinctive product, instead of trailing behind Canon on the FF megapixel war.
Nikon has sensed that the advantage of FF is coming to an end, as Medium Format digital backs come down in price and become more common. Many working pros have opted for the FF Canons because the MF alternatives are simply too expensive, as well as the range of lenses that Canon has. However the cost differential will eventually come down, and FF has very little more to give as pixels are getting pretty small. I expect that 25mpixel will be the maximum practical resoluton the FF chips will be able to give.. beyond that it's diminishing returns because of signal to noise ratio unless a radical new technology is used (such as the much touted Foveon.. that up till now has just been a pipe-dream). Medium format however has only touched the iceberg of pixel miniturisation.. so the advantages that MF film had over 35mm film will be replayed in the near future with MF digital backs, and working pro's in studios the world around will start ditching their FF Canons in favour of the higher quality, which is not just a function of the larger chip size of MF backs, but also because of the fact that most of these are 16 bit capture, not 12 bit like the Canons (16 bit files are created, but capture is only 12 bit, so less dynamic range).
So, Canon having lost that market back to the MF digital back manufacturers will have to turn to it's usual clients once more.. rich amateurs, sports photographers, photojournalists.. Many of these however might actually prefer a camera with a smaller sensor and smaller lenses, that however mimic the field of view of larger lenses on a FF camera.. Nikon will not be split between two product lines, and will therefore be able to concentrate all resources on this new line of lenses. The second attraction to buyers will be that traditionally expensive and unwieldy lenses become smaller, lighter, less obtrusive but just as powerful. Less may actually end up meaning more, even in the digital race.
The D200 is the tip of the iceberg for Nikon's new strategy.. A relatively cheap but FULL FEATURED camera to knock the socks off the competition (as well as competing with it's own line-up of cameras such as the D2X, D2H, D70s etc).
With lens manufacturers like Zeiss taking up the slack where they have left off (manual focus Nikon F mount lenses), they can comfortably dedicate all their resources to coming up with new DX lenses that will compete with Canon on price as well as quality.
Well, this is all my opinion anyway.. Were I Canon at the moment, I would be very worried indeed.. as Nikon's strategy may prove right.