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New Windows Phone update is also in store

Windows 8 sales have been mixed, with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) seeing strong OEM support and moving a lot of licenses, but struggling in sales -- particularly among enthusiasts.  At the root of the controversy is the rich graphical GUI formerly known as "Metro", which today is referred to as Windows 8 UI.  

There've been unconfirmed rumors that a Windows 8 update code-named Windows Blue was in store for later this year or early next year.  Now those rumors have seemingingly been confirmed, and Microsoft has dropped an indication that it make respond to criticism and tweak the UI.

In a job posting, first noted by Charon at, Microsoft seeks an experienced software engineer, writing:

We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization. Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.

In a second post, Twitter user @h0x0d (Walking Cat on Twitter) notes a second post, pertaining to Windows Phone Blue:

Windows Phone Blue

Excel MX is expected to OneNote MX and Lynx MX as a touch-optimized offering available from the Windows Store.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley indicates Microsoft is gunning hard to try to deliver the UI and services overhaul by the end of this upcoming summer.  The refresh is expected to be the first cross platform push for Microsoft's new unified strategy; Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Hotmail, and SkyDrive will all receive similar makeovers.

Windows 8 UI critics shouldn't get too excited -- the new UI isn't expected to bring back the "Start" button, a perpetual criticism of the Windows 8 UI.

A major focus of the Blue update is to improve APIs to make it easier to design an app that works with only a few modifications, on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Sources: Microsoft [1], [2 via Twitter]

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RE: I never used to think...
By deathwombat on 2/19/2013 3:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
Bah, maybe you or someone you know tried Win8, but obviously never took the time to really learn to use it.

I shouldn't have to take time to really learn it! I've been using Windows since 3.1 and every other upgrade required little to no learning curve. When I first tried Windows 8, I didn't know how to do anything with it!

So here's Microsoft's problem: maybe if I try really hard, I'll learn to use and love Windows 8. But if I'm going to have to struggle through learning a completely new OS experience anyway, why should it be Windows 8 instead of Linux or Mac OS X? I've used Windows all these years because each new version has been as easy to use as the last version. Well, not any more! If it's going to be just as much work to learn a new version of Windows as it would be to learn some other operating system, maybe this is finally the push that people need to switch to something else.

RE: I never used to think...
By chripuck on 2/19/2013 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously man, it's not that difficult. The Metro interface is a full screen start menu and the computer boots to that rather than the desktop.

I agree it needs tweaks, one being adding a start button back, even if to just bring up the Metro UI start screen, but it's really not THAT different.

RE: I never used to think...
By deathwombat on 2/19/2013 2:29:52 PM , Rating: 1
If only the Start Screen was the only change! I downloaded the Windows 8 developer preview and tried it in a VM. It was initially difficult to figure out how programs are organized, and I'm still not sure what keeps program groups together, but it didn't take long to run a few apps. Then I wanted to shut down the computer. How do you do that? It's a basic function, but it's hidden in an obscure menu! I had to just close the VM, the digital equivalent to holding the power button until the @&!&ing OS went away.

The second time I tried I was able to locate the shutdown option and played with a few more apps. Okay, that was fun, now how do I close them? There's no X button to close them, so I Googled it. It seems as though you can't close programs! You can either Alt+F4 or open the task manager and terminate the process. Seriously? You have to force the @!*@ing programs to shut down? I mean, honestly.

Do you not think that any experienced Windows user would screw around with Windows 8 and then say, "I'm going back to Windows 7?" Of course, you could force yourself to use it as your primary operating system until you learn it works, but if I'm going to force myself to learn an unfamiliar operating system, why wouldn't I pick a free Linux distribution? If it's going to be as much as work to learn Windows 8 as it is to learn Linux, but Linux is free and Windows 8 isn't, obviously I'm going to try out Mint or Ubuntu for a few days before I resign myself to paying for Windows 8. I'm far more willing to learn an unfamiliar operating system if it's free. An unfamiliar operating system that I have to pay for? How stupid does Microsoft think I am?

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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