Print 121 comment(s) - last by tamalero.. on May 21 at 12:48 PM

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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RE: I Like...
By BRB29 on 5/13/2013 1:48:15 PM , Rating: 5
People are whining about the fact they put a UI made for touch devices into machines that uses a mouse and keyboard.

People are pissed off that the clunky Metro replaces an almost perfect hierarchy system that's called a Start Button.

People are pissed off that Metro takes up the whole screen and the Start Button takes up 1/8 or less and both have equal function(except the annoying active tiles but that's preference)

People are pissed off that they've always organized their files and programs the same way since Win98. Now they have to deal with a bunch of icons and search. I don't need to search if I already have know where everything is in my head.

People are pissed off that such a great OS is destroyed by Microsoft's attempt to get people used to Metro so they can sell more phones.

People are pissed off because they have a bunch more icons and shortcuts on their desktop and task bar just to avoid Metro screen.

People are pissed off that this UI seems to be made to do things one at a time rather than multitasking.

All this points to Metro. Yes, there's plenty of ways around it but why should we deal with it? It was working great before. Instead of improving it, they made it worse.

RE: I Like...
By maugrimtr on 5/14/2013 10:08:20 AM , Rating: 2
Brilliant summary.

People are pissed off because they have a bunch more icons and shortcuts on their desktop and task bar just to avoid Metro screen.

That's me. A quarter of my desktop is covered by application and folder shortcuts. I can a) double click one of them or b) move mouse to corner, enter search term, search, hope it shows what I want. One of these requires three extra steps...

RE: I Like...
By BifurcatedBoat on 5/14/2013 4:36:17 PM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 User: "I don't know what people are complaining about. It runs. You can get to work with it. I have. The lack of AC isn't that bad, and sure it may have poor acceleration but I haven't gotten into an accident with it yet."

Windows 7 User: "Well OK, but I already own a nice late-model car with none of those problems. Why would I want to switch to a rusty hunk of junk with no AC, that burns oil and has cylinder compression problems?"

RE: I Like...
By tamalero on 5/21/2013 12:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
this this this!

I honestly got sick of repeating the same Windows 8 mistakes just to be bashed by bandwagoners saying "you need to relearn".
relearn what? that a lot of windows 8 is extremely inefficient for REAL power users?

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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