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Microsoft Shoots Itself in the Foot Again

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) introduced the Start button in Windows 95, a veritable eternity ago. Windows 8 took away the familiar user interface widget. The backlash was so strong that Mr. Softy plans to bring it back again, according to The Verge. But it won't be a triumphant return to familiar territory.

In the following video, Fool contributor Anders Bylund explains what's wrong with that idea.

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Read/Post Comments (44) | Recommend This Article (13)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 11:20 AM, BronxWench wrote:

    I have to agree with this assessment. I have no desire to use Windows 8 in a desktop scenario, viewing it with the same trepidation that I did Vista.

    I think I'll wait to see what Microsoft comes up with post-Windows 8, and hope that they fix the gaping holes in it with a new version, much as Windows 7 corrected the deficiencies in Vista.

    In the meantime, I have Windows 7 on my desktop, Android on my tablet, and I'm as happy as can be.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 11:47 AM, techy46 wrote:

    The Start Button is a worthless legacy paradigm. The Start screen is much more intuitive and useful. Monkeys can learn to do it the modern way if you move their banana rewards to the new location.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:15 PM, SanPasqual wrote:

    I have to agree with the video assessment as well. The shift from the familiar desktop and start button menu did no service to Microsoft. Like the radical menu switch from Office 2003 to 2007, this change is only serving to dislodge users from Microsoft products.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:20 PM, eldernorm wrote:

    I have to agree with the video but then again consider.

    People like the start button cause its been there for 15 years... And people don't want to change.

    Then convince Microsoft to keep selling Windows 7 as an option, or better yet Windows XP. Just fix the software bugs and do not advance the software in any other way.

    Just a thought.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:28 PM, harviele wrote:

    The younger generation, those under 24 years old, are quick to embrace the windows 8 interface. They seem to love it. Perhaps because they are used to the IPAD and IPHONE and other smart phones. Most of them prefer it over win 7 and XP. So if Microsoft is wanting to capture the younger market, they are on the right track.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:43 PM, soundguyami wrote:

    As a ISM at a college campus I can say Windows 8 is not Helpdesk friendly. A but of a nightmare. Microsoft ignored it's bread and butter (enterprise) and tried to boost up an already dying PC market...and failed. The start button concept may be old to some..but it was effective. Now you have to try and explain to somebody to take your mouse down to the left hand corner...then they respond a browser window comes up...well, that is because the designers put the Internet Explorer icon too close to the hover area for the start screen. Our students for the most part have rejected it. We have done a test group in our main computer lab and Windows 8 machines are sparely used. We won't even go there with Faculty and Staff...I don't get paid enough to put up with that total nightmare. Microsoft doesn't need to focus on the younger generation....over the last four years Apple has made a drastic rise in what the students bring on campus. We are now over 40 percent Apple devices. That is considered to be on the low end compared to many campuses. Not trying to be an Apple promoter...on servers we are a Microsoft shop...but the numbers don't lie.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:46 PM, soundguyami wrote:

    Where Microsoft went very wrong was trying to fit the PC to act like the tablet. Bad mistake. Follow Apple's proven lead and have one complement the other, but don't change the desktop. Apple has used the dock concept since OS X 10.1 eleven years ago. You add to the concept for functionality and don't totally destroy what people know.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 12:58 PM, VSargoor wrote:

    People who do not know better will accept anything. I am from gen x, I understand and work in tech sector. What is happening now is dumbing of a generation. The changes that is occurring is not to the public betterment, but to the betterment of these companies.

    The tab technology does provide new benefits and services, but it does so by holding public captive. With the PC gone and just tabs and phones around, the capability to do things diminishes, innovation is driven by PCs not tablets (as of yet). Even the so called apps are written on pc or pc-like devices for most part.

    I hope the pc's do not go anywhere and live longer than what is predicted by tech pundits. I do not mind they morphing into powerful, but small machines. But the model should be open and extensible, not closed and limited like the tabs or phones.

    I am a professional software developer, I still need my pc. This might be wishful thinking, but I really hope the pc survives the dumbing attempt.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 1:02 PM, Maintenance1 wrote:

    Why don't they make seperate apps for each one instaed of trying to make it useful on both at the same time. True some of us have been used to the start button. It helped speed up finding different apps we needed. With Windows 8 you have to almost go fishing for it.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 1:04 PM, cajunpickle wrote:

    The only difference That 90% of all pc users will see between Win8 and Win7 is the start menu....and to trouble shoot it and get them to the start menu (start window) is to have them hit the windows key......dont have to tell them to click anywhere or take the mouse button anywhere...I agree with Eldernorm....People don't like i have not used Apple....but I do know the pc market isn't going anywhere...way to many people out there that still uses desktops ..let alone laptops....I have Win7 on desktop and Win8 on laptop and actually see very little difference between the 2 if they actually work with Win8 for a little bit, they'll see the same thing...change can be good

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 1:04 PM, VSargoor wrote:

    As far as the new Windows 8 Interface is concerned, it sucks big time. As of now the start button is needed, if they come up with another genius interface that is fine, but the Windows 8 style is really unusable and boring and frustrating.

    I personally saved two windows8 o/s installs by recommending a five dollar tool that provides the start button or windows 7 like interface.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 1:14 PM, cajunpickle wrote:

    go fishing for it? really haven't used win8 much then...when you hit the start button on win7, you have to find the app(program) that you are looking for it in the list....when you go to the start window in have to look for the app in a different kind of list....and if you actually play around with it for a bit, then you find out where to find all the apps that's not on the start window but is on the screen.....again same type of searching on this screen as well.....and the "dumbing of a generation" well ya i can see that but not in the way that you are saying......There are way to many people out there that uses the PC for things that just cant be done on tablets....and wont be for a very long time....there are companies out there that uses PCs for things that cant be done on tablet....PCs wont be going anywhere for a long time...maybe in time, they might take a step behind the tablets as far as being most useful and most used...but PCs wont be going anywhere....tablets are no where near powerful enough to do what consumers wants or hold enough info (most people dont trust clouds enough)....tablets are extremely mobile....In a few years I can see the tablets and laptops morph together into one tech...but it's the PC that will many people still uses the PC and will continue to do so

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 2:49 PM, russglo wrote:

    Does the fool have a vendetta against Microsoft?

    It sounds like you are trying to bury this company.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 2:50 PM, bobbarian wrote:

    Windows 8 is the mullet of operating systems. Business in the front and party in the back and just plain ugly. Why would Microsoft alienate the Enterprise portion of desktop users. These people just want to get their work done and don't want to learn how to use the reinvented wheel. It would be an absolute nightmare for our IT if Windows 8 was deployed.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 2:57 PM, nireyaj wrote:

    First MS offers a crap OS no one wants...Windows 8. Then they bring out the much awaited tablet-like items...but install on them a CASTRATED version if Win8 called Windows RT. That added insult to injury. Now MS offers a half-azzed 'sort of' fix for ONE aspect of Win 8's crapdom, and hope that will please? Guess again! I do not jailbreak, or otherwise modify, things I buy. They work the way I want them to, from the start, or I don't buy them. I have seen Win 8 in stores, and don't like it. I moved to Macintosh. Everyone else I know is doing likewise. We waited too long for MS to offer us a suitable system, and we are done waiting. Both my MacBook Pro, and iPad Mini, do what they should in a way which does not cause more problems than it solves. I used to use Windows...but no more.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 3:12 PM, 110254545yy wrote:

    Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) introduced the Start button in Windows 95, a veritable eternity ago. Windows 8 took away the familiar user interface widget.

    WHOEVER made this decision should be FIRED and FINED as the DUMBEST Techy of the millenium

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 3:17 PM, philthymcnasty wrote:

    They need to fire the upper management at Microsoft and start all over. If it was just one little mistake, understandable/fixable, but it isn't, its several nasty mistakes!

    1st mistake: New x-box will have to be always connected to the internet. this decision was made despite the complaints from the current x-box users about this. It appears that they might have already lost the next gen consoles before launch. This is especially nasty because video game industry analysts are all screaming market slump/ industry crash within the next 2 to 3 years. This reminds me alot of the coke formula change from the 80's. People from back then remember how bad that was.

    2nd mistake: Forcing a bad operation system when pc sales are bad. Windows made its money by being the best pc operating system for compatibility and development. By introducing 8 when pc sales are at a slump due to increased competition from apple and Samsung alternatives, they are hurting their foundation. This will not end well.

    3rd mistake: They have halfheartedly entered the tablet market. The tablet market will be a nasty market. With many companies offering competitive products with competitive prices, it will be a highly volatile, highly fluctuating market. that is dependent on regional services as well as other outside influences(3g providers/affordability of data plans).

    None of this bodes well for them.

    This will be a very trying time for Microsoft, maybe the end of big Microsoft as we know them.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 3:46 PM, jb80538 wrote:

    Windows 8 is garbage. I had to buy a new computer and found one that was still 7. I would have preferred to have XP but that wasn't available. I know they need to come up with new stuff for profits but it has to be realized that not all new things are better.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 3:48 PM, fwe43 wrote:

    WHo are these people that are so dumb that they can't function without a start button?

    And really the start button didn't go away, ALL of the functionality and more are found in the charms bar. And to top it off, the chars bar is a hundred times quicker than the start button ever was.

    Putting the start button back to accomodate Windows stupidest users is a HORRIBLE idea. It's bad UX design to have a start button and charms bar that do the same thing. People are dumb and resistant to change. Once they actually figure it out they'll actually be beter off.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:18 PM, fwe43 wrote:


    1) So unbelievably stupid to rag on the XBOX 720 before it's even launched. This is typical of the anti-msft stupidity that's going on. There actually won't be an absolute law about always being connected with the 720. Wait and listen.

    2) Win 8 is not a bad operating system. I use Win 7, 8 and OSX and I would be happy to take anyone on in an OS challenge. I can do thing in Win 8 faster than any other OS.

    3) So the tablet market will be nasty? So what? They shouldn't do anything then? The Surface Pro is arguably the best tablet and there are about 6-7 companies making Win 8 tablets. They offer a level of productivity not found in any other tablet (full applications.) And some of the Win 8 tablets will eventually offer switching to Android - in case your stuck in their ecosystem.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:28 PM, noyzeboy wrote:

    anyone who thinks the pc is done is truly a fool and as microsoft will soon see. Windows 8 is so screwed up. I will never give up my pc for crap like

    a pad and phone with a tiny little large screen.

    my HTC phone is an ext. of my pc. pads and the new smart phones are a fad that will blow away like the wind. who wants a phone with a 15 or 17

    inch screen but I can see my 17inch computer screen. It all about what they think they can force on us and make $$$ doing so. But they will see the consumer will always win in the end.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:34 PM, noyzeboy wrote:

    well I don't think we will be beter off but the guy who wrote this should learn to spell and read before posting.

    yes window 8 is new I tried it and hate it like my droid software much better I am working on android software for a pc now getting the bugs out it does run smooth so far

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:42 PM, cwright5017 wrote:

    There is always ubuntu. AND IT IS FREE.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:51 PM, gina777 wrote:

    Unfortunately I bought a new laptop in January with Windows 8. I absolutely detest it and am having Windows 8 removed and 7 put on. Windows 8 is not user friendly and a pain to navigate.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 5:03 PM, cwright5017 wrote:

    Windows 8 should not even be called Windows 8. It should be called Windows Touchscreen 1 or Windows Tablet 1 and the interface should only be touchscreen PCs and tablets and the interface should not be on a PC unless a consumer specifically buys it themselves to install in their PC. They should continue the route they were on with Windows 7 for Windows 8 for the PC and perhaps maybe an option for people who wanted the tablet looking interface to switch to that with the Classic style(with the start button) being default, but not the other way around as it is now, and you still don't even have the start button with the older interface.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 5:25 PM, jacksonmooers wrote:

    I am 70 years old and barely computer literate.

    I don't need this kind of frustration.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 5:55 PM, GrumbyJonas wrote:

    I love Win8. Get used to it.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 6:38 PM, mrgee355 wrote:

    Love my pc and hope they never goes away. I don't have a tablet or a notebook or ipad way to costly and I don't need to use it any where but home, don't need it for work or on breaks at work or traveling, and what would bussniess do with out a pc? I know lots of my equipment at work are run from a pc not a tablet or notebook every power control panel in my place has a pc in it to run programs and I don't see a notebook or ipad or tablet replaceing those and I sure my place is not the only one .. for me I love my pc and wont give it up..

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 7:49 PM, MadCityObserver wrote:

    Okay so if my upgradable and failed-component replaceable floor model PC with its 25" non-touch flat display is no longer cool, then in order for me to stay technologically relevant what I need do is to spring for a non-upgradable 11" (or smaller) touch-screen device where if inside it anything fails I toss it and buy new all over again. Also, who'd have thought that surfing the Internet gets better and doing useful work on a computer gets easier the smaller the display.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 9:03 PM, pksloope wrote:

    Is there a problem with posting a written article instead of a video? I can read one in far less time than I can watch a video and get more out of it. I didn't watch the video because I have better use of my time.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 9:24 PM, arcosante wrote:

    You are so right ! I replaced my 6 yr old laptop computer this summer with a Windows 8 version. I was stunned at the lame OS. It totally disempowered the user. I hated it. I took it back and ordered an Windows 7 model online. If I hadn't been able to find a Windows 7 model, I would have bought an Apple laptop instead. Shall we schedule the funeral for the Windows based PC now???

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 9:30 PM, qrranger wrote:

    The PC is a long way from dying out! For serious business platforms such as graphics, CAD, photography, and other design work, the tablet and IPad are useless. They lack the power and ability to be calibrated for accurate color matching. Serious gamers aren't going to dump their PCs for worthless tablets and pads that limit their gaming. So if MS was smart, they'd get on the ball, scrap Win 8 for the junk it is and get busy on a serious OS for business.

    Leave the socializing to IPads and tablets for the toys they are.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 10:29 PM, Win8LOSE wrote:

    I can't stand it! Windows 8 is frustrating and certainly not user friendly. I recently purchased a new laptop and I've been really patient trying to use this crappy Win8 system but I find myself using my iPhone instead of dealing with my new laptop. I thought I'd be excited to play with my new toy but I have to say, I've neglected it more than I'd like to admit due to the navigational nightmare that Windows 8 has presented. I just want to use my darn laptop, I don't ask for much but geez, get it right Microsoft! You had it in the bag! What happened?? I'm out and I'm telling everyone I know about it...

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 11:34 PM, robbies14u wrote:

    I am in a tech support role, and Windows 8 we will not support, same for IE 10 buggy crap, Windows has been on a downhill slide for sometime. I was just reading were Ubuntu operating system is available for the tablet, I run it on my desktop with open office , and soon on my tablet. I am just tired of using a OS like Windows that is susceptible to virus's, malware, trojans, and hacks, and is also slow.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 12:25 AM, badkat7 wrote:

    Microsoft has abandoned many products including embedded OS and has not delivered on full support for applications running on ARM solutions. Many technologies they should've exploited, including Kinect, have been short changed. Their failure to realize that desktop systems, including corporate, are ill-suited to touch screen technology is a major lapse. They continue to produce multiple versions of their OS but in truth the ONLY edition worthy of consideration is the professional edition which should be priced as a Windows 7 upgrade rather than a full fledged operating system. In short, Microsoft is foundering. Very sad but no surprise as Microsoft is replete with political corporate crawler - like fleas infecting a camel.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 1:47 AM, cajunpickle wrote:

    Ya know, I see all these people on here trashing Windows 8, saying it's not user friendly, or it's useless, or you can't navigate it....Did you actually use it for more than 5 mins???? If you did and actually tried to use it, and watched the vids that came with it, you would realize you can do a whole lot more with Windows 8 than you can with Windows 7 and do it can customize the start screen such as move the tabs around and organize them and put say game together, and social apps together and say productivity apps together....took me about 3 hours and I know how to navigate Windows 8 better than Windows 7....You people that only want to bag and trash on microsoft....Actually try it before trying to jump on the band wagon of the haters!

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 5:41 AM, lilyvonshtupp wrote:

    Just bought a laptop with windows 8. Its going back. It is horrible. What were they thinking?

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 7:13 AM, justausier wrote:

    Tried it, beta tested it, have a full copy of it, and still don't like it. It still amazes me that a company with 3% of the phone market and 4% of the tablet market and 90% of the PC/Laptop market would decided to push on it's customers some "hybrid" OS that does not do justice to any one of the three. Yes, the Surface Pro is a nifty little gadget, at $400, not $1400. Now add the entire blunder of the Windows 8/RT debacle, the sudden shift in the direction that X-Box is going, and Office 365 and it's yearly subscription service that is not taking off as they expected, and what do you come up with? To this layman, it looks like a corporation that spends too much time contemplating it's own navel instead of asking the customer what they want and need.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 10:26 AM, cirecomputers12 wrote:

    This is so stupid. Its really not a a problem at all. There a at least 5 3rd party software company's that give you the ability to seamlessly put a start button and menu and button into Windows 8. So actually you have the best of both worlds.Perfect for desktops and non touch screens,also ready for tablets and touchscreens. My favorite is Stardocks Start 8 and their Modern Mix which converts Apps into very familiar windows. All for the low price of 4.99! Yes people this is a non-issue! If you dont want to pay the 4.99 there are other alternatives available for FREE! Seriously, can we talk about something really worth debating???

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:38 AM, oliviatyson wrote:

    You have to be very careful when reading articles from Motley Fools bloggers.

    These bloggers are mostly unemployed or unemployable graduates from small community or nondescript college. In Mr. Andres Bylund's case, he graduate from University of Karlstad.

    These bloggers have very limited corporate and investment experience. They also have very limited income and resources. This means they use mostly free Google products -- so it should not be surprise that these are almost all rabid hard-core Google fanboys and gals.

    Don't be fooled by this unemployed bloggers.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:46 AM, motto518 wrote:

    People just need to learn to adapt to change. Technology changes faster than just about any consumer product out there. I went from XP to Vista and didn't have any issues at all, Vista to Win 7, some changes, but after a while I got used to them, Win 7 to Win 8, MAJOR overhaul, but guess what.......I have adapted to the new OS and I have no issue with the damn start button not being there. If people would be willing to learn, then there would be no issues with this stuff at all but the majority of consumers are thick headed and conservative and want nothing to do with change. Being someone who has worked in electronics retail/repair for 7 years, it makes me sick to deal with all these people who want 10+ year old technology to apply to today's systems. This stuff really isn't that hard.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:52 AM, ct123456 wrote:

    Beta tested Win8 Alpha.

    1 looks like crap

    2 feels like crap

    3 useless crap

    Prefer 2k, 2k3, 2k8, XP, Win7.

    No way in "hell" am I trading my GAMING PC worth more than a crappy 3D workstation...for ANY console gaming pos nor for any crap tablet.

    Hell I haven't bought a so called "gaming console" since Sega Genesis.

    Who needs a 50" screen TV when you have a 40" screen HDMI/DVI COMPUTER screen?!

    The PC is dead only when people like me have died out.


    Streamlined 2k interfaces!

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:57 AM, ct123456 wrote:

    Err, forgot to mention...

    I like my desktop screen ...CLEANED and not loaded with Win8...full of crap thumbnails.

    Social media interface? ... Get a life...go outside!.

    Yes I've also used Win8 besides the testing the Alpha version.

    TV? pfft talk about outdated....Youtube channels!


    Streamlined 2k interfaces!

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2013, at 11:28 PM, fwe43 wrote:

    Am I really supposed to believe that the people too dumb to figure out how to use WIn 8 would have the wherewithal to install and learn a completely new OS like ubuntu, linux or even OSX?

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