Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Microsoft Splits the Difference

By Evan Niu, CFA - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Users want Microsoft to bring the Start Menu back. Microsoft wants users to embrace its live-tile "Metro" interface. Can the software giant split the difference and make peace with consumers?

Following previous reports that Microsoft (MSFT 1.29%) 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.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$265.90 (1.29%) $3.38

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
332%
 
S&P 500 Returns
118%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.