Microsoft will soon launch Windows 8.1, the first major overhaul of an operating system that's often described as a rather disappointing product.
Also dubbed “the new Vista,” Windows 8 will receive several upgrades this summer, as part of a so-called Blue project that's expected to refresh not only the Windows platform, but also some other apps, such as Internet Explorer, SkyDrive, Windows Phone and Office.
But leaving all these improvements aside, Windows 8.1 is very likely to mark a historical moment: Microsoft will finally admit it was wrong when it decided to remove the Start button from Windows 8.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Redmond-based tech giant is planning to bring back the Start button in Windows 8.1, along with a new feature that would allow users to bypass the Start Screen and boot directly to desktop.
This is undoubtedly great news for those of you who have already embraced Windows 8 and can't get used to the Start Screen, but here's something we don't see very often.
Microsoft must admit it was wrong.
Peter Klein, the company's financial chief officer that will soon resign, said in this month's earnings conference call that Microsoft's future Windows release would be based on consumer feedback. This means that in case Microsoft indeed brings back the Start button, it's all because of you. Users, that is.
The avalanche of criticism Microsoft had to cope with after the Windows 8 launch was overwhelming, with millions of users criticizing the company for removing this traditional Windows feature.
High-profile Microsoft executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer, said that customers had no other option than to get used to the Start Screen.
Steven Sinofsky, the former Windows boss, explained that people were reluctant to adopt the Start Screen because it was “something new.” The same happened when the Start button was launched in Windows 95, he said.
Microsoft's dilemma is that users actually do have a choice: they can dump Windows completely and move to another operating system, stick to Windows 7 or go the third-party way and install a separate Start button.
Microsoft needs Windows 8.1 to be successful. There's no doubt about it.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has no other option than to bring back the Start button because of two reasons.
First, it has to show everyone that it cares about its users. Windows 8 ignored consumer feedback and brought a major change in both user interface and features. The Metro interface even made some people think that Microsoft might actually kill the desktop completely in the future. Which is wrong. Microsoft won't do that unless it wants to lose 99 percent of its customers.
Second, Microsoft needs Windows 8.1 to be successful. If it sticks to the same idea embraced by Windows 8, it has no chance to do this. The Start button and an option to bypass the Start Screen would basically be the easiest ways to attract more users. Microsoft will soon kill Windows XP completely, so the Start button could also help the company bring more users to its Modern operating system.
After the Windows 8 “disaster,” Windows 8.1 must be a hit. Otherwise, the comments made by Gartner analyst and suggesting that Microsoft's domination could be over might not sound so strange anymore.
So the Start button is a must have in Windows 8.1 Believe it or not, it all comes down to this feature. It's the end user whose opinion is the most important and in this case, you've said it loud and clear: bring back the Start button! You're welcome, Microsoft! These guys are doing you a huge favor. They're saving your business by showing you the right path.
Here are some of the comments you've send to us ever since the Start button got removed from Windows :
“We need options. I don't understand what's so hard, just let us determine how we use OUR computers.”
“I've been using computers since Radio Shack came out with the first home computer. This is the first time I've had to search the Internet to find out how to shut down my computer. Windows 8 is the worst operating system I have ever used! “
“Windows 8 takes the 'friendly' out of user-friendly. This is the final straw. I'm switching to Linux!”
“MS. Are you listening to your customers who pay the bills? For many like my shop, it's still a mouse, trackball, and trackpad world. All the 3rd party start button clones ought to give you at least some clue (that is unless you're clueless).”
“I don't use Windows 8 just because of the missing start menu. I think that was the worst idea Microsoft had.”
“I loaded Win 8 on my laptop and regret it every time I turn it on. So much so that I rarely use it.”
“I believe that Microsoft should take a poll on this to see how many of their consumers like the new metro version or if they prefer the old start button. Why not create an update add on that could allow you to run which ever one you like best. Remember the consumer is always right.”
And we thank you for these. In the end, it seems that you've won a battle, but not the war. Microsoft, on the other hand, has no other choice than to admit it was wrong. And this is great news for all users across the world. Good job everyone! You've made it.