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Microsoft Prepares Rethink On Windows 8 536

Posted by Soulskill
from the hey-everybody-let's-complain-about-the-start-menu-some-more dept.
jones_supa writes "Microsoft has confirmed to be preparing to reverse course over elements of Windows 8. 'Key aspects' of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: 'The learning curve is definitely real.'" While this decision is generally being framed as a frantic backtrack for Microsoft, it comes as the company has recently passed 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold. Clearly they see this as more of a course adjustment than bailing water from a sinking ship. Microsoft also plans to preview the update called 'Windows Blue' in June.
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Microsoft Prepares Rethink On Windows 8

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  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:34PM (#43659293) Journal

    ...prediction: They'll lash in a start button but still try and force the user to go through Metro first.

    • by exomondo (1725132)
      Hopefully they'll have a 'boot to desktop' option, that would make it more like OSX's use of tablet interface in the desktop. I personally never use it as i use spotlight to launch everything, and it's more of a launcher than an application platform anyway as opposed to Metro, but it's there and it's only optional.
      • Maybe in the "Enterprise" version, where corporations will either get such an option or they'll stick with Windows 7 until the end of time.

        OTOH, for ordinary users, they've kind of made it clear; they want everyone in consumer-land to get used to the whole Metro (or whatever they call it now) thing.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:10PM (#43659639)

          "OTOH, for ordinary users, they've kind of made it clear; they want everyone in consumer-land to get used to the whole Metro (or whatever they call it now) thing."
                    And the users have made it clear, Microsoft can fuck right off. No really, people I talk to that are not at all computer savvy have heard "the new windows" or windows 8 sucks, and are in some cases actually buying used computers to avoid Windows 8.

                    Ditching forced Metro & adding the start button is probably all Microsoft has to do to assuage these fears, and it was IMHO sure egotism that prevented them from doing this to begin with.

      • by wdef (1050680) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @10:47AM (#43665015)

        Hopefully they'll have a 'boot to desktop' option

        Windows 8 already has one, it's just that nobody seems to know about it. All you do is move the desktop card to the top left hand side of Metro. Whichever card is in that position will be launched after booting.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:15PM (#43659697)

      What's in Windows Blue (6.3) at the moment:
      - There is an option to log in straight to desktop, skipping the (Metro) Start screen.
      - There is a start button (using the new Windows logo, reminiscent of an earlier alpha build of Windows 8): but it takes you to the Metro start screen when clicked.
      - The start menu is still gone.

      Oh, and they're planning to charge for this "upgrade". What the fuck? They should give it away given how disastrously Windows 8 has been received...

      • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:07PM (#43660207)

        That's not good enough. The Start menu has to return; that was always the sticking point, not the replacement of the button with a hot corner. And I never want to see any part of Metro at all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bondsbw (888959)

          That's not good enough. The Start menu has to return

          No, it doesn't. Microsoft doesn't have to do anything. Haven't you figured that out yet?

          • by Billly Gates (198444) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:31PM (#43660829) Journal

            That's not good enough. The Start menu has to return

            No, it doesn't. Microsoft doesn't have to do anything. Haven't you figured that out yet?

            I do not think Microsoft is as arrogant as people on this very anti-MS site make it them out to be. They have a corporate culture of release first and ask questions and fixes later. This is due to MS past as a monopolist. If it is ok it will take over the market. If it sucks then fix it next release after it has baked a little bit etc.

            1st versions
            Windows ... failed
            Office ... failed (Mac users are oddly what kept Excel alive in the earlier years)
            Windows NT ... failed
            Internet Explorer ... failed
            WindowsCE ... failed
            Vista ... failed
            Visual Studio ... failed

            All these products are the hallmark of what MS is today and bring in the revenue. So they assume once it is out they can improve as people will automatically use just because it is from Microsoft. They are sadly still right in this area. Microsoft assumes oh, next release we will tweek it and Apple will be out of business next.

            What bothered me most about Windows 8 is that METRO had HUGE potential but it was so fucking rushed. If Metro had a task bar, start menu, had app stacking, more than 1 app at a time, aero to navigate, then I could multitask with the applets and keep my mouse and keyboard. On touch or a small 12 inch screen then auto-hide by default and BAM!

            Even better if they couldn't add that do something like "Click here to start! which told lusers where the start menu is instead say "Click here to app cycle" in the corners. Windows 95 had the polish. Windows 8 did not.

            Instead they made it 4 colors from 16 million, made Office 2013 blinding headache white in ALL CAPS, took areo out, and just unpolished it. What MS is making a mistake is the market is not the same as it was in the 1990s. No we are not little good sheep and our bosses who forced us to upgrade very 2 - 3 years for the greatest have a love affair with the 11 year old XP and refuse change out of fear! Windows 7 is like pulling teeth with these same users who came to XP in droves.

            Apple has the mindshare with Google right behind. If tablets are going to take over the only advantage MS has is office and it was smart for MS not to port Office over to Android/iOS as it would all be over for them. MS needs to react quick and fucking polish like they did with Windows 95. Not do the old way because it worked before and we wont change motto. That start menu will be coming back. The demo artist shot of Windows 8 from 2009 is still superior in so many ways and MS has its work cut out for Windows 9.

            • by fwarren (579763) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:38PM (#43661753) Homepage

              Microsofts snot does not always turn to honey.

              Zune ... failed

              Play4Sure .. failed

              WinCE .. failed

              Win8 Mobile ... failing

              WinRT ... failing

              Surface ... failing

              xbox/xbox 360 ... if you uncook the books and stack up all the costs and losses releated to the xbox line they are still a decade from turning a profit.

              search ... still losing money after more than a decade.

              MS is sure their future in the consumer market is tied to the 30% take the get with an app store. This means
              1. The Modern Intreface must be maintained.
              2. The legacy desktop and non-app store installation must go away.
              3. The start button must go away to facilite point 1 and 2.
               

              • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @12:00AM (#43661871)

                What's your point? All these big companies have a long long list of product failures, here's just a few from the portfolios of some of the big ones:

                Apple:

                Lisa: failed

                Pippin: failed

                QuickTake Camera: failed

                eMate: failed

                eMac: failed

                eWorld: failed

                G4 Cube: failed

                Macintosh TV: failed

                Macintosh Portable: failed

                20th Anniversary Mac: failed

                Ping: failed

                Every second OSX release: fails (the Windows SP1 rule)

                Google:

                Hotpot: failed

                Buzz: failed

                Answers: failed

                Page Creator: failed

                Desktop: failed

                Dictionary: failed

                Audio Ads: failed

                Dodgeball: failed

                FastFlip: failed

                Wave: failed

                Google+: failing

            • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:48PM (#43661811) Homepage

              I do not think Microsoft is as arrogant as people on this very anti-MS site make it them out to be.

              Of course they are.
              It takes an ego massive enough to bend light to release an update named "Windows Blue" without realizing the next two words in everyone's heads will be "screen" and "death".

              -

        • by Omestes (471991) <omestes@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:24PM (#43661641) Homepage Journal

          I must be the only person who actually prefers the metro menu thing. I don't think I could go back to the small and horribly ordered (unless you spend the tedium of organizing it constantly) menu again. I like having all my main programs organized and displayed prominently. The metro screen is the best thing they did in Win 8, really (outside of making SD and Network transfers less idiotic).

          Metro apps are still mostly crap, and they still need to make the whole OS feel less "tacked on", and work on UI and app consistency, though.

          If this update is $15-20 I'll grab it. If not... I don't mind Win 8.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:25PM (#43660367)
        They charged for win98SE after the first Win98 sucked.
    • Can they put metro apps in one or more windows? That seems like the logical solution for mixing application types on a full sized desktop.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      My bet is that they'll include the start button and other missing elements and label them something like "legacy mode" so it seems like they still back their metro mistake but were kind enough to care about "old farts who are incapable of understanding the obvious superiority of Metro" (paraphrased).

  • good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jason777 (557591) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:35PM (#43659299)
    Personally, I went back to Windows 7 because I didn't like the constant switching / start screen. I shouldn't have to install a separate app to get the start button back. Give us an option for tablet or desktop mode.
    • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cinder6 (894572) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:02PM (#43659567)

      Start screen has never bothered me, as whenever I used the old start menu, all of my attention was focused on it anyway. For me, having a start screen just means that I can display more icons at once, which is a plus. I would love a boot to desktop mode, though.

      • by EdZ (755139)
        Boot-to-desktop, and some way to categorise/group the tiles on the start screen. I don't really want a return to the 'program-in-a-folder-in-a-folder with piles of uninstall, manuals, help files, tutorials, demos, etc links lying about the tree at random' approach of the start menu, but some sort of organisation beyond just vaguely dragging things about would be nice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by camperdave (969942)
        If you want to boot to anything, boot to OneNote.
      • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @08:26AM (#43663867) Homepage Journal

        Against my advice, my parents bought a Windows 8 machine so I've had a fair bit of chance to play with it and to hear from a couple of "typical" computer users what their experience with Windows 8 is like.

        Everyone who has used that machine *hates* the start screen. While one would think you can "fit more" than with the start menu, in practice what you have is the ability to show or hide the sub-menus as groups of icons. Once you tell it to show stuff you actually *want* (like Games), the start screen rapidly becomes 2-3 physical screens wide. So now not only do you have to drag your mouse all over the place to reach the icons/tiles, you have to scroll the screen/menu to reach them.

        My Dad is particularly frustrated with Windows 8. As far as he's concerned, nothing works right except Firefox, and even that ticks him off because he has to scroll all the way over to the right on the start screen to find it's icon.

        My Mom is ticked off with the Metro interface on her card games. The "click top and drag down" metaphor for shutting down applets is not intuitive, and without a touch screen, it's also difficult to use. Mom has always had difficulty with "click and hold" aspects of applications because of her arthritis. Most of the time she just gives up because she can't hold the mouse button down long enough to drag it to the bottom of the screen.

        Personally what I hate is that there is no actual "windowing" of Metro apps. Everything is full screen. I haven't worked with full screen apps since the days of the 80x24 green screen terminal. I need to be able to access multiple applications at the same time. And the flash from work screen/desktop to start menu literally gives me a headache (I get migraines regularly, and eye strain from this type of interface aggravates them -- I despise Gnome 3 for the exact same reason.)

        Windows 8: Epic FAIL!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A friend of mine bought a new laptop after using XP for 10 years. She hated Windows 8, so I let her borrow my Windows 7 laptop until she can find one. She likes 7, and I would imagine her sentiments are quite common. I like 8, but I can understand the frustration some people have with it, especially after watching her try to use it. I would not be surprised at all if Blue allows you to run 8 much like 7 since there must be a lot of people like my friend.

    • Re:good (Score:4, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:37PM (#43659899)

      Personally, I went back to Windows 7 because I didn't like the constant switching / start screen.

      The thing was that the start menu really was nearly entirely obsolete. None of its features really made sense.

      Want to run a command by typing its name name?
      Win+R, type away

      Want to actually search for something? The start screen makes more sense then the smallish non-resizable start menu window.

      Want to get to the control panel, logoff, etc? The charms bar was perfectly fine (if nonobvious). And has a hotkey of its own (again non-obvious)

      The actual hierarchical start menu? Worthless legacy cruft that has been more or less replaced by search anyway.

      All that was left was the smart recent applications/recent documents stuff which was almost covered by pinning apps to the taskbar.

      To 'fix' windows 8, I'd

      restore the start menu button (hot corner makes no sense)

      When the start menu pops up, you get back the smart 'recent applications / recent documents', and the ability to pin applications to it, and the search box.

      Except the search box is simple, only looks at program names, and document filenames. That's it. It doesn't look at email, or inside documents, or music... for deep searching for that, I'll use the start screen search, or even more likely the dedicated application anyway (for email, music, photos etc)

      And a button to bring up the full start screen.
      And another one to bring up the charms bar.

      And make shutdown a direct option so you don't have to logout first, but that can be on the charms bar... i don't care. I don't shutdown more than once a day anyway, and many shut down once a week or less.

      Then make hotcorners entirely optional in desktop mode.

      That's really it. No "All Programs --> " on the start menu. if you need something from that go into the full start screen. No "Games" or "Music" or "devices and printers".

      The resulting "start menu" is just a little taskbar gadget for quick search and application launching.

      my 0.02

      • Re:good (Score:5, Informative)

        by tftp (111690) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:35PM (#43660431) Homepage

        The thing was that the start menu really was nearly entirely obsolete. None of its features really made sense.

        To a uber-geek - perhaps. But not to a common man. Start button replacements are, reportedly, the most popular download for Win8. Otherwise Win8 is not discoverable.

        Want to actually search for something? The start screen makes more sense then the smallish non-resizable start menu window.

        Unless you are searching for something that you see in another window. Do you want to memorize "StatusReport-836421-FromBill_Rev3a.docx" ? It's a valid runnable object.

        Want to get to the control panel, logoff, etc? The charms bar was perfectly fine (if nonobvious).

        A nonobvious thing is also nonexistent. It doesn't matter how well it works if non-geeks cannot find it.

        And has a hotkey of its own (again non-obvious)

        It does? News to me. Which one? How would I know that, outside of reading Slashdot?

        The actual hierarchical start menu? Worthless legacy cruft that has been more or less replaced by search anyway.

        ... said by someone who sees nothing wrong with UNIX commands that pipe data through thirteen programs :-) Most people do not memorize names of the software - especially if they just use it, not write it. I know people who don't even type unless they have to. They use mouse for even cut and paste. Not everyone easily switches between GUI (mouse) and CLI (keyboard.)

        Q: What do you type to find uTorrent?
        A: You type "torrent."
        Q: How would *anyone* know that?
        A: By trial and error.

        Myself, I use more than one computer, and I do not always know what is or isn't installed on any of them. I cannot search because I don't even remember all the names. Was it "diff", WinDiff, KDiff, or something else? Ah, UltraDiff - but no, it doesn't do what I thought it does! Why don't I make a custom menu where I'd keep all the necessary tools that I need, and call it something like "Start" ?

        All that was left was the smart recent applications/recent documents stuff which was almost covered by pinning apps to the taskbar.

        I disable all that stuff. It makes no sense to me. I may use one set of applications on one day, and another set on another day. What recent activity has to do with the need for a specific workflow? I disable automatic pinning, and instead pin there what I want pinned, and they stay there. Side effects are bad for usability; a context-dependent ribbon also suffers from that - it is not predictable, it has to be understood all anew whenever it shows up.

        And make shutdown a direct option so you don't have to logout first, but that can be on the charms bar...

        It's already there. But I can't test because I have ClassicShell disable the charms bar. I haven't needed it so far.

        Then make hotcorners entirely optional in desktop mode.

        Done that already using ClassicShell (also see above.)

        • by vux984 (928602)

          To a uber-geek - perhaps. But not to a common man.

          No, you missed my point. The features the common man used the start menu for weren't the primary function of the start menu.

          Start button replacements are, reportedly, the most popular download for Win8. Otherwise Win8 is not discoverable.

          Precisely this. And its what I meant when i said various things were non-obvious. For the most part, Windows 8 has the necessary functions in reasonable places, but not only are they radically different from what they were

      • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nkwe (604125) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:16PM (#43660707)

        The actual hierarchical start menu? Worthless legacy cruft that has been more or less replaced by search anyway.

        Not worthless. Search assumes you know what you want to search for and have some idea about what it is called. If I know I want to use one of the administrative tools but I can't remember what it is called, a hierarchical system makes sense. I can choose "administrative tools" as a starting point for self discovery. If I have no idea, I can start at the top and work my way through the options that have been categorized in some meaningful way. If I am in a branch of the hierarchy that is unrelated to what I am looking for, I can move on quickly -- I don't have to scan an unorganized list of all the possible options.

        My biggest complaint (and others share this view) about Metro is that the interface is not self discoverable - you can't just look at the interface and get visual clues as to what you need to do (or even can do). Lack of a hierarchical menu system that contains all the options is a big part of this.

      • Re:good (Score:4, Funny)

        by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:01PM (#43661033)

        The actual hierarchical start menu? Worthless legacy cruft that has been more or less replaced by search anyway.

        Who needs a hierarchy or a TOC? That sounds like a great idea for our user manuals! They're searchable, after all...

        *starts email to share revelation with boss*

      • by gringer (252588)

        The thing was that the start menu really was nearly entirely obsolete. None of its features really made sense.

        ...

        Want to [do something you can do from the start menu]? [Carry out procedure n]

        That doesn't sound like an obselete thing to me, because you suggest that the described features do make sense. It just sounds like there are multiple ways to do these things. I like the idea of having multiple paths to get something done, but I also like the idea of having a single path that can be used to do many different things — menu systems have this ability.

      • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:06AM (#43662879)

        Searching for a command/program/document you don't know the name of is like looking up how to spell words in a dictionary .... it's possible but awkward

        If I already know what I am searching for then it is quicker, but if I don't ..... so it's not really a search but a quickfind ?

  • I am no Microsoft fan however I am glad to see them responding to customer feedback on their product. IT is good to see large companies shape products based on customer response - particularly when they command a very large share of a market.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Responding to feedback.... You mean as in their response to "We want to stick with XP!"
      • by prandal (87280)

        If they really want people to 'upgrade' from XP, shouldn't they make an in-place upgrade possible?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Belial6 (794905)
          Actually, they should have included emulated XP in Windows 7 with an upgrade to convert your existing XP install into a virtual machine.
    • It was nice to see them follow up Win7 with a new direction. We don't need endless cycles of more of the same. On the other hand it's also nice to see them respond to feedback. Metro is great for a lot of things but some people just can't let the start button go.

      • by matrim99 (123693)
        I fail to see what Metro is good for except on a tablet. Windows 8 is indeed a step in the right direction, but Metro should have only been the default Start menu on tablets.
      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:36PM (#43660437)

        Change for the sake of change is not a rational nor beneficial paradigm.

        Know what else hasn't changed much over the aeons? Bacteria. Sure, they have a chemical arms race with each other, but the basic package? Been basically the same for hundreds of millions of years, because it is the best at what the germs need to survive.

        Simply because something "has been around forever!" Does not mean it should be abandoned.

        Perhaps a different quote is needed? "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." For MANY users, the start menu is NOT broken. There is no need to "fix" it, outside of the arrogance of self important design idiots, who feel that UIs should change like yearly fashion trends, and for the same reasons.

        Newsflash. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it is the wrong tool for the job, nor does it mean holding onto it is wrong.

        Just take the CLI out of a mainstream linux, and force the GUI experience 100% for all tasks, and state blithely that "some people just can't let go of the command line". Watch your userbase run for the hills.

        For a company who's tagline is "where do you want to go today?", they sure have a strange way of listening to the answer to that question.

        The userbase has clearly and definitively spoken on the issue.
        Asserting that the userbase is wrong/afraid of change/some other canard is completely wrongheaded.

        Either give your customers what they want, or they will find somebody else who will.

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:13PM (#43660685) Journal

        Do tech support for your mother in law. Then you'll see just how critically important a start menu is.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      But they're using the corporate line that more PC makes should be using touch screens to show off Windows 8 better. Which is a stupid excuse, since the entire world isn't going to get a new PC just because of Windows 8, and they're certainly not going to buy the very expensive touch screen capable ones. The issues still remains that Metro is a silly and clumsy UI to use on real world computers in actual use today.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:46PM (#43659421) Journal
    Today I took delivery of my new work PC. When I ordered it I asked for Windows 8... One has to keep up with these things, right? Bloody hell...

    Seriously, when one has to Google on another computer for instructions on how to bring up the damn (well hidden) address bar in the browser, you know your "intuitive" design is bad, bad, bad. Luckily I already knew about the (equally well hidden) active corners of the screen to bring up the Start screen, Desktop and Charm bar,so I did manage to get around, sort of. Trying to find some essential system settings proved impossible until I ended up installing StartIsBack, which gives me the start menu and old desktop upon boot; after that I could access the old style control panel. Windows 8 is just fine and dandy... Now that I have it working just like Windows 7. Honestly, the Metro interface is not that bad on a mobile device with a touch screen, but it has no place on a desktop PC.

    Sure, all new UIs will require some learning. But never, not since Windows 3.11, have I had such a hostile experience from a new OS.
    • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:01PM (#43659561) Journal
      Its amazing that Microsoft didnt figure out that Workstations are going to remain Workstations and to not fuck it up with a tablet paradigm. The thing that pisses me off is that it is blatantly obvious that they didnt care how bad the UI was, they wanted to trojan horse Metro so bad so they get that juicy 30% cut of everything.
    • by cmdr_klarg (629569) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @11:01AM (#43665141)

      Seriously, when one has to Google on another computer for instructions on how to bring up the damn (well hidden) address bar in the browser, you know your "intuitive" design is bad, bad, bad. Luckily I already knew about the (equally well hidden) active corners of the screen to bring up the Start screen, Desktop and Charm bar,so I did manage to get around, sort of..

      /rant

      What the hell is it with Microsoft's obsession with hiding stuff? Every damn release of a new Windows I have to un-hide more and more things that I want to see, such as file extensions, full file paths, and all directories.

      I know! Let's just hide everything!! That would be SO much simpler to use...

      /endrant

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:52PM (#43659479)

    This just further demonstrates that Microsoft doesn't get it. They seem to think that it's because it's all "different" and there is a "learning curve" which is why people don't like it.

    The real reasons:
    1) Metro apps default to one app on the screen, and break any sophisticated workflow which requires multiple widows. This is removed functionality, not just an interface change.
    2) The UI requires more wrist movement or "gorilla arms", which forces people to do more physical work which adds up for things like muscle strain.
    3) They try to force the same interface on two different kinds of setups - small touchscreen tablets/hybrids, and desktop setups with potentially multiple large monitors. There is no way to have a nice uniform interface for both kinds of setups.

    There are certainly many more, but those are the worse that I can think of. It's not about learning a different interface - it's that there are genuine drawbacks and genuine functionality removed that needs to be given back.

  • Licenses sold... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Volanin (935080) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:53PM (#43659485)

    100 million Windows 8 licenses sold.

    I just bought a notebook for my mother's birthday.
    Since she is used to Ubuntu on the desktop computer, is was the natural OS of choice.
    Windows 8 never saw the light of the day... yet since it came preloaded, it still counts as a sale for Microsoft.

    • by fermion (181285)
      We have several dozen windows 7 machines running windows xp. Each of those I suppose was a 7 license reported as a satisfied customer. My main windows machine runs 7 because it is a good OS, and XP is a bit long in the tooth. But my windows machine is to run specific applications for work, and even if I wanted to 8 is not an option.
    • Contact the manufacturer, demand a refund for the system.

    • by cshirky (9913)

      Ok, so let's see, that's 99,999,999 licenses then...

      You could add up all the Ubuntu-wielding moms in the world, along with all the Ubuntu-wielding offspring, and it won't move that needle in the slightest.

      I use Mac, Ubuntu, and ChromeOS, so no love for Microsoft here, but this belief that somehow Linux marks any kind of threat to MS on the desktop or laptop is silly. Most of the world runs Windows on those machines, and always will.

      The thing that will shift that is not your mom, or even your mom times 1 mil

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Do tell:

      How did you enter the BIOS on boot? Laptops that come with Windows 8 are configured for Fast Boot and will ignore any key presses and boot directly into the installed OS - Windows 8 - which will stonewall you until you accept their EULA.

  • Lies and statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:53PM (#43659489)

    They may have sold 100M licenses to manufacturers, but adoption is still under 4%: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0 [netmarketshare.com]

  • by hamjudo (64140) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:54PM (#43659503) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has a habit of padding their sales results. [semiaccurate.com] How many of those 100 million licenses are currently in use? Does it include bulk purchases by OEMs? Does a Windows 8 license get subtracted when a user upgrades to Windows 7 or Linux?
  • Will be the new normal to see Windows Blue Screen now.
  • How many stayed with 8 after buying the computer or laptop, I know I have switched at least 30 to Windows 7 from 8. Windows 8 has also caused at least 5 friends to switch to Mac. Hopefully blue is a good fix/revision!!!
  • by Danzigism (881294) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:09PM (#43659623)
    Honestly, Windows 8 is pretty snazzy once you put a start menu on there like Start8 or something. I personally don't like the Classic Shell free ones, but for $5 Start8 is pretty awesome. Regardless, I'm certain they will be bringing it back. Having a hybrid environment of both the Start Screen and Desktop mode is actually quite nice. It's like I'm working in desktop mode 9am-5pm and they I open up the Start Screen mode for watching my movies, reading news, social networking, etc. It's not for everybody and has a ways to go, but the concept of a hybrid interface is something I think we'll start seeing more of in the future.
  • Inertia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:11PM (#43659653)
    The key question is not how many of this or that MS is shipping but why and what direction the sales are going. Most companies and home users have a bevy of Windows only software that they are somewhat committed to. People also need to buy a new machine every now and then. These two facts mean that your average corporate or home consumer will buy their next machine without much thought and will buy a windows 8 machine. The more savvy buyer might even insist on getting Windows 7. But the average user, both corporate and home, are moving into a cloudy world where they need a browser as their primary software and an Office suite as a secondary. This still allows MS to have a slight grasp as MS Office is still mostly the standard.

    But and this is a big but. Things like LibreOffice can suit many user's needs and if I were a student doing term papers I would use a combination of google drive and google docs. Docs so my stuff is everywhere and can't be lost and Drive so that if I loose connectivity I have it on my machine. This might seem like a small market but the students of today are the consumers of tomorrow.

    Lastly many home consumers are skipping the whole home desktop/laptop all together. A larger screened phone is generally all they need for most of their needs. This also goes for corporate types. The average higher level manager / road warrior is fine with a tablet / BB combo or some other mobile technology.

    Soon the only people really needing a Windows machine (as opposed to some agnostic OS that primarily serves up a browser) will be specialty users such as accountants. Many other power users will be fine with either a Mac or Linux.

    Which then leads to the whole server market. Linux is pretty dominating. My personal experience is that the MS shops out there are hard core MS evangelists who don't mind buying and managing huge piles of licenses which is getting even harder with many larger companies going with internal cloud systems that can spool up 20/200/2000 new machines on a whim.

    I don't think that Windows 8 is the problem. I don't think it is the Metro interface beyond the fact that some MBAs at MS probably had these great spreadsheets showing huge desktop app sales. MS is declining for many other reasons. Preinstalled Bloatware would be a big one. But the key question is why I should not be using Linux, Android, MacOS, QNX? What is it that MS offers me to come back? For some reason it just doesn't appeal to me to pay an extra $100 when I buy a $500 device just so that I can run Windows. I don't see why I would want to run servers that could get me sued if I don't manage the licensing. I can see why people might stay through inertia but that isn't a very good business model in the long term.
  • by Howitzer86 (964585) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:12PM (#43659663)

    Man, I am disappointed. I sure hope Microsoft, in their mad rush to undo the damage they perceive, doesn't ruin the touch experience on the touch screen computers out there already.

  • "Creativity" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nnnnnnn (1611817) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:15PM (#43659695)

    From the article:"There’s a level of risk and creativity going on that would never have happened two years ago.”

    Creativity is not forcing people to use an iPad interface on their desktops, a better word would be idiocy. Idiocy, as in forcing system admins to use an iPad interface on Windows Server 2012. Idiocy, as in having two taskbars, one on the bottom, and one auto-hiding on the right side.

  • by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:15PM (#43659703)

    These kinds of articles are supposed to make us feel better about Microsoft? I'd suggest not celebrating until they have actually DONE something. Lets see if they actually improve anything - there is a good chance they will make things even worse!

    This isn't the first time they have screwed over their customers, and the sure as hell isn't the last.

  • After brazening it out for a few days, the CEO admitted, "OK, yeah, we fucked this up." You think Ballmer will have the class to do the same? We'll get corporate mealy-mouthing about "improvements" that shirk his culpability for one of the biggest (and most predictable) fiascos in PC history.
  • Couple of points... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gordo_1 (256312) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:24PM (#43659787)

    1. As much as they need to re-think the whole Metro implementation for users without touchscreen hardware, from what I've read they are *NOT* bringing back the old desktop Start Menu, they are simply putting an icon in the familiar place to get to Metro. Metro is still the place where you will launch programs/apps from... and I will continue to bypass it altogether with Classic Shell on my desktop PC. I don't need a complete context change just to open a command prompt, control panel or start programs. Perhaps surprising to MS, I prefer to do my computing at a desk with a 24" non-touchscreen monitor, and I will not be replacing it anytime soon just so that I can bend forward and reach across the keyboard to smudge a hidden menu with my index finger.

    2. As we all know, the 100 million licenses sold BS is just that. MS is conflating OEM licenses shipped with actual users actively purchasing and/or using Windows 8 software. They can pull this off because Windows is the de facto shipping OS on virtually all PC hardware. It is obviously to their advantage to maintain this sleight of hand, so don't expect them to get honest any time soon.

    • Indeed. The proper question is how many Windows 8 units have actually sold, versus units still sitting in warehouses or on store shelves.

  • by plazman30 (531348) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:29PM (#43659821) Homepage
    Every new PC worldwide ships with Windows 8 on it. Consumers don't really have a choice. They get Windows 8 whether they like it or not. Even Vista's numbers looked good, even though people hated it. And Windows 8 is far worse than Vista ever was. I like the desktop. I love Metro. The unhappy marriage of the two is exceptionally annoying.
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:33PM (#43659863) Homepage
    I hope they bring back Aero. For all its other faults, there's nothing quite as disconcerting as the 'flatland' style (no bevels, shadows, lack of contrast between elements, and generally a white-washed look).
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @07:52PM (#43660059)

    "We fucked up."

    Now, give us the option to *completely* remove any interjections from Metro (start screen, WinKey+tab, charms, network selection, search, probably a number of other elements I've forgotten), ie.: real-actual-computer-to-get-shit-done mode. Also get rid of that horrible, difficult-to-read low contrast color scheme and bring back the only good thing Vista brought us: Aero Glass.

    Do these things and we might forgive you. Otherwise, fuck this shit, I'm going to Debian.

  • what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:12PM (#43660247)

    100 million sold? Or 100 million packaged with laptops, PCs and tablets forced down the throats of unwitting users that definitely would rather have had windows 7 had they any clue?

    The most hilarious part of this whole debacle on Microsofts part is that we recently decided to upgrade from WinXP to Win7 finally... and as part of that a few people said "hey, why don't we just go for Win8 while we're at it?" so they put together some focus groups of generally non-tech savvy employees to see how long it would take them to get a grasp on how to do their jobs using the new OS. One of the security guys in charge of the project is a big apple fan and argued we needed a control... and wanted to use OSX... management thought it wasn't such a bad idea, but of course, we're NOT switching to Apple any time soon so instead they used Redhat. Win7 was easiest for them to pick up of course... but Redhat beat Win8 by a country mile. There were many in test that never got Win8 to work for their jobs. I wasn't privy to all of the hurdles they found and what-not. But it's pretty staggering to think MS screwed up their UI so much that a bunch of our least talented salesmen were more capable of using Linux that it.

  • Windows 8 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:43PM (#43660493)

    When I first turned on my new PC loaded with Windows 8, I was flabergasted by the Metro screen. I did not know what the hell to do, but after painstaking searches on Google I was able to cobble together a desktop system that meets my needs. Now I never even see the Metro screen except by accident.
    All I can say is that this is the worst customer service fiasco by a major corporation in history, and is even more ridiculous since they planned and conspired to strong-arm their customers into some glitzy crap mode of computing which does not fit with efficient productivity work. As an example of the loonyness expressed by the creators, on the Power button 'Hibernate' is not one of the default choices. You have to dig into the system to find it. What a load of holy bullshit!

  • by tillerman35 (763054) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:03PM (#43660619)

    Metro Metro Metro! That's what the media is focusing on, but it's not the real reason Windows 8 failed.

    W-8 failed because Microsoft thought they'd be able to screw their developers the way that Apple's been screwing iOS developers since day one. Going full walled-garden for the Metro UI while at the same time effectively forcing developers to abandon Silverlight and Flash due to concerns about long-term viability meant there really was no compelling reason for a developer to bother with Windows 8. My company, a manufacturer of population-based analytical software that runs on a massively-parallel database, basically abandoned Windows as a development platform. In the middle of a product cycle.

    Those MSDN/Visual Studio/Team Foundation/etc. licenses will never happen. Now, at great expense and risk, we've decided to go down the HTML5+Javascript path for the front end. It sucks. It sucks so badly that there's not a person in the shop who doesn't want to abandon the project altogether. But at least it will be portable if it ever gets built. It'll take two years longer than it would have if Microsoft hadn't screwed us over, but that's the price of doing business I guess. (The JBOSS backend is painful too, but not to the degree that an HTML5/Javascript front-end is.)

    Yet, all that could have been avoided if Microsoft hadn't hit the Greed button and tried to force the Metro UI down its developers' throats. We have no confidence in Microsoft EVER being a viable development platform again. Not when key components could be pulled out from under us just because they want to impose a UI tax.

    And I know I'm not alone. I've heard the same story, read the same story, watched the same story unfold all over the internet.

    Microsoft used to field the best damn development and application platform in the industry, hands down. It still does, actually. But unfortunately, I can't risk using it. And because of that fact, there's very little chance that I'll ever bother considering it in future efforts.

    And THAT's why Windows 8 failed and any attempt to revive it will fail as well.

  • by vga_init (589198) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @12:53AM (#43662153) Journal

    Windows 8 is OK. What I find problematic about it is that the traditional desktop and Metro seem to clash with one another even though you can use them both simultaneously. On the outside you want to pick which environment you want to spend the most time in; if you want to stay in Metro, then use only Metro apps, but if you want to live in the Desktop, then you find yourself avoiding any Metro apps. It's just too hard to mix the two together.

    Assuming, however, that you just want to use the Desktop all the time, Windows 8 is not that big of a deal. It boils down to the fact that they took away the start menu, and that apparently drives people nuts. Personally, I don't even like the start menu. The programs you use all the time end up being pinned to the task bar, and for the occasional other program, you just hit the Windows key and type in its name. It's really not hard, but people just don't figure this out. My uncle got a new Windows 8 laptop last week, and right when he got it I told him three or four times to use the Windows key and type in order to search for the program he wanted, and he *still* would just open the start screen with the mouse and then open "All Programs" and sit there reading all the entries in order to find the program he was looking for. A few days later he said, "You know, I realized I can just hit the Windows key to switch between the Desktop and the start screen."

    I would consider Windows 8 to be an upgrade from 7, but people struggle with the interface changes. Windows 7 has a more "pure" UI experience, and it's what people expect.

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