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Windows 8.1 will feature a start button, more mouse support, and boot-to-desktop, moves away from Metro

Late Apple, Inc. (AAPL) CEO Steven P. Jobs famously said, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."

But for his perennial rival Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) that formula doesn't seem to be playing out well for Windows 8.  The ambitious redesign has helped steer the PC industry into its worst-ever first-quarter sales percentage drop.  Now some believe Microsoft may be returning to the more traditional Windows look-and-feel that some commentators believe was a path towards a slow death.

A big part of the problem is the complete lack of any kind of official tutorial for the average user when booting up the dramatic operating redesign for the first time.  As a result many customers who have bought Windows 8 devices simply don't understand how to use their devices (to be fair, many features in OS X, such as the application launchers are as complex or more so as Windows 8's at-times-bewildering interfaces).

Windows Blue styles
Windows 8.1 will reportedly somewhat prune back and revamp Metro's role.
[Image Source: The Verge]

Following reports that Microsoft is moving to allow users to boot to desktop and return some semblance of the Start button (albeit one that dumps users into Metro), ZDNet's Windows chief blogger Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft is working to remedy another major problem of Windows 8 -- poor mouse support -- with the upcoming Windows 8.1 upgrade.  She says the improvements, which will look to make the interfaces as easy to use with a mouse as with touch, may not make the release preview coming at the end of June but "still could make it into the final product."

In terms of Microsoft's dilemma, she points to a blog post that former Windows President Steven Sinofsky posted early this month.  
 

Sinofsky (left) shows off Microsoft Surface [Image Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]

Mr. Sinofsky, who masterminded both the well-received traditional upgrade, Windows 7, and the much-villainized redesign, Windows 8, writes:

If you listen to customers (and vector back to the previous path in some way: undo, product modes, multiple products/SKUs, etc.) you will probably cede the market to the new entrants or at least give them more precious time. If technology product history is any guide, pundits will declare you will be roadkill in fairly short order as you lack a strategic response. There’s a good chance your influential customers will rejoice as they can go back and do what they always did. You will then be left without an answer for what comes next for your declining usage patterns.

If you don’t listen to customers (and stick to your guns) you are going to 'alienate' folks and cede the market to someone who listens. If technology product history is any guide, pundits will declare that your new product is not resonating with the core audience. Pundits will also declare that you are stubborn and not listening to customers.

That "d-mned if you do, d-mned if you don't" dilemma appears to be what Microsoft is facing now.  Ms. Foley belives Microsoft is currently moving towards going back to Option A (returning to its previous path), but she warns that option could prove fatal to the company in the long term.

Still, she optimistically adds, "I believe Microsoft can stay its Metro-centric, touch-centric course with Windows Blue, while still making some changes that will make the OS more usable and comfortable fora bigger pool of users. While it would have been great if Windows 8 debuted this way last October, I say better late than never."

Sources: Learn By Shipping [Steven Sinofsky], ZDNet



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not much you can do
By ssobol on 5/13/2013 12:12:04 PM , Rating: 1
My quad core PC runs as fast as I need it to. Until the MB or CPU fails (or some program that I HAVE to have comes out) I have no need to improve it's performance. I expect it to last at least another 5 years.

Win XP works fine for me. Plus, I have programs and hardware that won't work with Win 7, so why should I upgrade the OS just to have to buy new versions/different software to accomplish the things I can do now?

I have Win 7 that came on a laptop I bought. There is no apparent advantage to Win 7 over Win XP that I can see from my point of view. For instance, Libraries were touted as one of the improvements of Win 7. But in the way I use my computer, I have found them to be of no particular use.

I find that Win 7 has the about the same number of "quirks" (explorer dying, features working one day and not the next, etc.) as other versions of Windows have.

The OS for a computer is like gasoline for your car. You need to have it to make it work, but you don't have any control of how its made. You put it in and hope it works reasonably well. If you get a bad load of gas, you just hope the next batch will be better, but other than that, there's not much you can do.




RE: not much you can do
By Belard on 5/15/2013 6:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
Win7 is easily better for my hardware... which had XP on them originally. Since going to 7, I only put my PCs to sleep - rather than shutdown.

The video tearing effect isn't in Win7.


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