Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th May 2013 22:46 UTC
Windows "After acknowledging its Windows Blue codename publicly in March, Microsoft is getting closer to revealing all about the upcoming Windows 8 update. In an interview with The Verge this week, Microsoft's Windows CFO Tami Reller provided some details on where the company is heading with its Blue project."
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RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 9th May 2013 01:17 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
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Customer feedback is definitely an important part of the loop, but far from the only consideration.

I wish companies took hard stances more often, we need principled vision and direction.

That's great, except it doesn't really apply to Windows 8 & the start screen. It's a an attempt to artificially create a halo effect - with the goal of making Windows Phone/RT successful on the coattails of desktop Windows' dominance. And as far as motivations for UI design decisions go, that's one of the worst I can think of. That's not principled, it's just heavy-handed.

And that's the most generous explanation I can think of. I have a hard time believing that anyone working at Microsoft is genuinely stupid enough to think that a touch-centric phone/tablet UI is the best/most appropriate interface to use as the primary task launcher for a desktop OS. From a basic UI consistency standpoint, it makes as much sense as the Start button launching a fullscreen DOS prompt with an arrow key-driven text menu to launch applications - that wouldn't make it seem any less unpolished.

The hell of it is, I wouldn't mind metro on desktop versions of Windows if only Microsoft weren't so obviously trying to cram it down users' throats. The lack of any built-in option to revert to the Win7 start menu is largely unprecedented for Window releases - every version since 95 has had the option to make the start menu work like the previous versions, ditto for most other major UI changes over the years.

If they'd just made Metro optional, I would have been perfectly fine with that (and I think many others are in the same camp). Make it smart enough to detect when the screen has been removed from the dock on Transformer-like devices, and automatically switch into Metro/tablet mode? Great, fine by me. Use Metro on the destkop as an optional widget layer, a la Dashboard on OS X? Also great, hell I'd probably use it for that purpose - a nice fullscreen, distraction free environment for writing and such.

But as the primary task-launching interface - why? Really, what was wrong with the Windows 7 start menu that warranted replacing it outright? Or at the very least, what warranted completely excising it, to the point of having no first-party option to revert to the old start menu? The thing that makes it particularly galling for me is that, IMO, Windows 7 was the first time MS actually got the start menu right... and then they immediately proceeded to throw out most of it with the next release.

If we listened to customers 100%, the iPhone would have a physical keyboard.

And if we didn't listen to customers, then DivX would have supplanted DVD.

I'm going to also address another comment that you made in this thread:

You're right. People just need a wedge issue to beat Microsoft over the head with. This start menu fiasco has never been about genuine user difficulty. Its been about finding an effective way to turn Windows 8 into a whipping boy.

I think that's part of it, yes, but far from being the entire story. For example, before Windows 7 came out, the taskbar changes were similarly controversial. But that largely died down after people actually used the new taskbar and found it to be an improvement - or at least not a significant step backwards.

Painting all critics of the start screen with the same broad brush is no different from claiming that everyone hates the start screen. Both are over-broad, absolutist generalisations that don't stand up to even the most basic tests of intellectual rigour. Statistical analysis has value, certainly - but it's the height of arrogant presumption to leap from that to acting as if Microsoft, or you, know how everyone ought to use their computer better than they do.

Prior to Windows 8, that's probably the best thing I could say about Microsoft: whatever other problems existed with their software, they were always good about providing users with options and multiple ways to accomplish most tasks. Which I always found to be in stark contrast to the more paternalistic attitude behind Apple software (we have decreed that this is the best way to perform this particular task, so we're not going to give you any other way to do it). Lately, though, Microsoft seems hellbent on copying every bad idea that Apple ever had.

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