Microsoft is rumored to be building a new version of Windows 8 that will have an option to boot to the traditional Windows interface instead of the “Metro”-style Start Screen used in the current edition of the PC and tablet operating system.
An overwhelming majority of respondents said Microsoft should bring it back — some went as far to say the company never should have ditched it in the first place. The pushback comes as PC sales are on pace to decline for the second year in a row and analysts are predicting Windows 8 tablets will only have a single-digit share in 2017. That’s not the only bad news, now it appears Microsoft has only sold 1.5 million of its surface devices, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Ever since it first became clear that Microsoft planned to eliminate the classic Start button and didn’t intend to let Windows 8 users boot directly into the desktop, it’s assumed that the odds were pretty good that it would eventually back down. The company says that usability research proves that folks quickly learn Windows 8 and don’t find it confusing. But these two changes in particular added up to a convenient excuse to avoid Windows 8 — and have therefore hurt Microsoft as much as they have Windows users.
Business and organizational Windows customers have been particular hostile to the UI change, perhaps Microsoft’s most radical since introducing a graphical interface for the first time with 1985’s release of the first Windows system shell on top of its MS-DOS operating system. As to whether Microsoft is really planning to revive its traditional UI as an option for Windows 8 holdouts, there’s some recent history that suggests the software giant is capable of backtracking at times to placate vocal Windows users. The Windows Aero visuals incorporated in 2007’s Windows Vista release were derided by many Windows users as nothing but resource-hogging eye candy—and were subsequently downplayed in Windows 7, released in 2009.
Is there even one person out there who wants to argue that bringing back the Start button and letting people boot into the desktop — as options — a bad idea?