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Microsoft Splits the Difference

Following previous reports that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) was about to address Windows 8's biggest weaknesses by adding a new option in to boot directly to the desktop and possibly bringing back the Start Menu, The Verge is following up with a renewed round of speculation with some new details about Windows 8.1.

However, Microsoft might not be bringing back the Start Menu that users have come to know and love over the past nearly two decades. Instead, the software giant might just be splitting the difference.

You're going to like Metro, whether you like it or not
One of the biggest criticisms of Windows 8 among average consumers is its jarring and unavoidable shift to the new "Metro" interface that utilizes live tiles. Technically, Microsoft lost the official naming rights to use "Metro," but that hasn't stopped casual references to the new interface paradigm.

Instead of bringing back the Start Menu in its traditional form, Microsoft is reportedly adding a Start button that simply transports users to the Start Screen. The Verge's sources say that the Start button will bear Microsoft's new modern Windows logo.

Start Screen. Source: Microsoft.

Currently, the primary way to get from Desktop mode to the Start Screen is the Windows keyboard button that was previously used to open the Start Menu.

If these rumors prove accurate, Microsoft would be trying to meet disgruntled users half way, offering an interface element that they're clamoring for but without the functionality they desire. The company is trying to force the Metro interface on people, even after abundant data shows that it's not resonating with consumers. Third-party alternative Pokki has garnered considerable interest by effectively bringing the Start Menu back.

I've given Microsoft credit for taking a needed risk, and I'm personally a fan of the live-tile approach. However, the mainstream is where Microsoft needs to focus, and the mainstream is exactly where Metro is failing.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:31 PM, kellenbmiller wrote:

    I have windows 8 and when I boot up, it boots right to the old style start screen. I can access the metro style by mousing over the to the bottom left. And to return to the original screen mouse over the top left and click. When I upgrade all of my installed programs remained installed. And I can use any browser I want as usual or go to metro and use an app based browser. I like the IE from windows 7. IE 10 or 9.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:35 PM, kellenbmiller wrote:

    I just don't get why people think they cannot use Windows 8 like windows 7. Everything is still their. And it did not take a lot time to find everything. Some are common sense others I found by scrolling over and clicking.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:39 PM, locsphere wrote:

    Let me get this straight. A company is not listening to its consumers and wants to force something on them they do not like nor want... LET THEM GO OUT OF BUSINESS. Companies from EA, the BioWare, to Comcast and Verizon have all adopted these type of policies where they're going to do what they want regardless of what the consumer states.

    They dismiss the consumer. Call them entitled, and then their profits suffer and they wonder why?

    Its time to bring back the customer is always right. Let Microsoft fail!

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 5:46 AM, Arkbro wrote:

    Who uses the start button anymore??? I have upgraded to windows 8 and don't miss it at all when on the desktop. Anything you use you put it on your desktop

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 12:13 PM, badgerzilla wrote:

    Why is it so important to Microsoft to put a cell phone user interface on a PC. This is my last Windows PC. "The world has to take what Microsoft makes whether they want it or not."

  • Report this Comment On April 24, 2013, at 12:31 PM, jvgfool wrote:

    It's just a splash menu vs a pop-up menu. It's not that big of deal. It makes the menu more interactive. If Apple introduced it, it would be the biggest thing that ever hit the market.

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