Microsoft calls Windows 8.1 an 'update', not a 'upgrade', for the money

You may think that there's little difference between the words "upgrade" and "update", but in the arcane world of financial regulations the two terms have very different, and very important, distinctions. That's the reason Microsoft is officially using the "update" term for Windows 8.1, rather than it being an "upgrade" for Windows 8.

In the past, Microsoft has released what it called "service packs" for previous versions of Windows for free, but those packs were mostly for putting in performance improvements and bug fixes to the OS, with only a few minor features included in each pack. Windows 8.1, on the surface, does not fit the description of a service pack as it adds many new features to Windows 8.

However, Microsoft offered the reasons why Windows 8.1 is just a free update, rather than an upgrade, to Windows 8 in its newest filing this week to the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission:

Windows 8.1 will enable new hardware, further the integration with other Microsoft services and address customer issues with Windows 8, and will be provided to Windows 8 customers when available at no additional charge.

Even though Microsoft is promoting Windows 8.1 with a list of its new features, including being able to boot to the desktop UI, the addition of a Start button, new in-house Windows 8 apps, better customization of the Start screen and more Snap view options for apps, the company is telling the SEC that Windows 8.1 is a mere "update".

This affects Microsoft in two ways. One is that they don't have to charge current Windows 8 users for Windows 8.1, as Apple does with its yearly upgrades for Mac OS X. The other is that by putting the "update" label on Windows 8.1, Microsoft does not have to defer any revenues for the Windows division, which could cause some major hits to the company's financial books.

So, as Microsoft itself stated to the SEC, "We evaluated Windows 8.1 and determined that it did not meet the definition of an upgrade and thus have not deferred revenue related to this planned release." Problem solved. It's possible that Microsoft could continue to "update" Windows 8 with new features in yearly doses until it is ready for a major overhaul of the OS in the future.

Source: SEC via Computerworld.com | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Acer's 8.1-inch Windows 8 tablet already marked down to $299

Next Story

Old MobileMe users to finally lose their free iCloud storage September 30th

88 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

i have been using win8 since the consumer preview and all six of the computers in my house are on win8.1

my little sister, my mother and my grandmother seem to enjoy it... with a little two minute explanation i have received LESS calls to explain stuff to my relatives than when they were on windows vista

all i tell them... click desktop item to go to desktop. press windows key and start typing. voila

i am the only person in the house that has a touch screen pc

if my 40+ mother and 60+ grandmother can handle win8.1 I dont see how people in this forum can say such idiotic things

Its simple for MS. They just have to continue aggressively pursuing updates to win 8 that improve the experience. 8.1 is a good start and helps a lot in the usability side whether your sticking to the desktop or if you dabble on both sides.

There is certainly more that can be done, but it seems to be moving the right way.

It is an update. Always has, always was.

This is not news.

In fact, in my house, its been treated (and sometimes referred to) like a service pack from the start.

I wouldn't call it arcane. If you're giving away a product you would normally sell, you have to write down the cost of the promotion on your books. An update is a support service is paid for by the original price of the software.

Windows 8 - Not an upgrade, actually made many things worse, extending number-of-clicks to do anything, tried to force a non-desktop UI on desktop users, crashing & focus issues with fullscreen applications...etc..etc.

Windows 8.1 - Brilliant, lets me stick to the desktop when I want to, puts back a start button making multi-monitor pleasant again, has the same wallpaper on start screen as desktop, so it's less of a kick to the face when you switch, lets you shutdown from the start menu instead of the charms menu, and a slew of other fixes that I can't be bothered to list that all add up to make this by far the best Windows OS available, even if it is a beta!

startscreennope said,
Win 8.1 UI isn't nearly enough for the same level of desktop productivity as XP or 7's UI

I'm curious as to why you think that? I have 7 at work and 8.1 at home, there's not much in it, except that at work I have to install displayfusion to have proper dual-monitor taskbars.

Some good points there, so fair enough. None of it changes the OS being more functional on the desktop front with 8.1, but if you really want to use Metro then yes, there's still issues to be addressed, windows 9 maybe?

1. Isn't a problem, it's there to open an app, not to stay open.
2. Ok I suppose, not often I'd go into there to know how important it is.
3. Good Point, although I'd argue it's a poorly designed program if it needs toe shortcut to be renamed.
4. I'm confused, is this because of metro things again?
5. True, I don't really use metro apps ever for this reason, doesn't make a lot of sense to me so I just continue to use desktop apps.
6. Win+S does this already.
7. I don't get it, these are great upgrades.
8. Stop living in the past, pointless aesthetic complaint.
9. Whatever do you need it transparent for, that would be hugely confusing particularly with people that plaster their desktop in shortcuts (Which isn't me, but I can see that being annoying as hell for users). I'd like to change the color scheme of shortcuts but I don't mind them.
10. I do find it a bit odd to have 2 separate control panels, it kind of defeats the point of having a central management location -_-

If Microsoft didn't think that Windows 8 sales crap then why are they pushing a so called 8.1 update. It certainly seems to me that it is actually more of a upgrade. But we must see if 8.1 actually catches on.

Star-Pirate said,
If Microsoft didn't think that Windows 8 sales crap then why are they pushing a so called 8.1 update. It certainly seems to me that it is actually more of a upgrade. But we must see if 8.1 actually catches on.

Yeah, it's so unlike Microsoft to update their software... /sarcasm

Yes, but MS isn't, maybe 8.2 will cost a small fee though. We'll have to wait and see what they do for 2014 to get a better picture.

Who ever came with the (infinite ideotic) idea that Windows 8.1 would cost? For me, it is totally logic, that Win8.1 is free. It was annoying to read 'oh Windows 8.1 would probably cost'. Windows 8.1 and cost would be an absolute no-go. This is the least that Microsoft could do. I mean, they are already developing Windows 9. What has happened to the mass? Windows 8.1 helps to sell. So the revenue for the Windows devision would be the same just as after Windows XP SP2. Which by the way was free, too.

SK[ said,]Doesn't Apple charge for each OSX 10.x upgrade?

OSX costs a fraction of Windows… (and also gets just a fraction of the long-term support Windows gets)

SK[ said,]Doesn't Apple charge for each OSX 10.x upgrade?

Apple releases free updates with new features between each Mac OS X upgrade. Things like 10.8.2, 10.8.4, et cetera. Apple charges a nominal fee for major upgrades (which change the major kernel version, Mountain Lion was 12.0 Mavericks is 13.0, et cetera)

For the record, past service packs actually added tons of features to Windows. On XP, you got Windows Firewall, Execute Bit Support, DirectX 9, better multicore support, Windows Media Player Updates (10/etc) etc. I mean, I didn't keep track, but generally, there is nothing I see in Windows 8.1 that isn't just a service pack feature. they roll up updates to services pack, whether they are new features or security fixes. what they have done is change the way the service pack is tracked, converting to the Windows Phone versioning convention, where each major update is now a point improvement in the version of the operating system. Like, when they updated Windows Phone 7, it became version 7.1, 7.5, etc. That is why they call it 8.1, because they updated the versioning system. I am guessing there will never be "service pack" released for Windows 8 or 8.1, it will continue to be updated with the new naming convention. next version will be "Windows 8.2" or 8.5. It just makes sense.

The service packs that brought new features to an Windows OS were rather the exception.
XP SP2 was one of those exceptions. Most of the past Service Packs just were a bunch of all the patches Microsoft put out over a period of time bundled together.
Since XP SP2, everyone expects a Service pack to bring new features, though.

It is true that is the definition of a service pack. Usually Microsoft rolls out updates as they come along, and including core system features like updates to Internetn Explorer, DirectX, Windows Media Player, etc then they are bundled together after so longer to make sure it's all there together. This ensures compatibility and makes sure updates get pushed out and deployed as widely as possible. But also, service packs have always included bits of features, patches, and changes that were not made available through Windows Update or other chains. Microsoft has tended to have a ton of private updates that only get pushed on a need for basis, sometimes they get pushed in private for specific problems. These updates get released only to manufactures or to select users through their website who specifically request them for a specific problem - these patches are never available on Windows Update, till the Service Pack comes out. Service packs are the other way to get these updates - anyway, 8.1 may have so many updates rolled into one because of how bad Windows 8 was. It also reminds me of Windows Vista, when it was so slow, the UI wasn't responsive, and file transfers had bugs, which were quickly fixed with a few major patches after it was launched. This was also further built upon with Vista Service Pack 1, which made the interface and desktop seem much faster. With Windows 8, the focus is on fixing the user interface a little, making it easier for desktop users to utilize (it's an improvement, but not much).

Seriously, I have no problem with windows 8.1 or whatsoever. In fact, it's way better than the any previous windows OS. For instance, if I want to check my new email all I need to do is just press the start button to switch over modern UI mail app without even opening IE or Chrome to login. It's way faster and efficient to do things and depend on how to use your computer for getting things done!

dodgetigger said,
And how is this better than doing that with either Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook or any other email program?

Windows 8.1 flat out integrate your email and Modern UI provide live information about your latest email sender and much better than windows live mail and can save your enormous of time. It's really a fine OS and people love to jump on bandwagon after most people give a thumb down.

It's not buggy like vista and have driver issues. People not giving a chance to try out windows 8 by using it for more than a month.

Master of Earth said,

It's not buggy like vista and have driver issues. People not giving a chance to try out windows 8 by using it for more than a month.

Not buggy? Like on a domain, sometimes I have to login twice because the first time it's just a black screen. When I add printer in Metro, it sometimes crashes to desktop. I tried adding a printer once and it blues careened, but then fine next time. I could really go on about bugs, but don't act like it's perfect. They have plenty that can be fixed.

And Win8 driver support isn't that great either. It's better than Vista, but not up to Win7 from my experience. Not necessarily MS's fault, but still.

farmeunit said,

Not buggy? Like on a domain, sometimes I have to login twice because the first time it's just a black screen. When I add printer in Metro, it sometimes crashes to desktop. I tried adding a printer once and it blues careened, but then fine next time. I could really go on about bugs, but don't act like it's perfect. They have plenty that can be fixed.

And Win8 driver support isn't that great either. It's better than Vista, but not up to Win7 from my experience. Not necessarily MS's fault, but still.


Yeah, Driver Support is surprisingly lacking...

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, Driver Support is surprisingly lacking...

It was announced by MS right before Win 8 launched that the majority of Win 7 drivers would work on Win 8. This is why you don't see as many drivers specifically for Windows 8 as you do for Windows 7.

Master of Earth said,
Seriously, I have no problem with windows 8.1 or whatsoever. In fact, it's way better than the any previous windows OS. For instance, if I want to check my new email all I need to do is just press the start button to switch over modern UI mail app without even opening IE or Chrome to login. It's way faster and efficient to do things and depend on how to use your computer for getting things done!
1. you can do the same thing with any other desktop program
2. windows mail app is severely lacking in functionality
3. tying your windows live account to your OS install seems like a security mess waiting to happen
4. fullscreen apps are awful for desktop productivity, you can't even run them in a window without 3rd party software

I bet it cost money to update to R2. It is considered a separate edition of Windows, generally with kernel revisions and updates to many core components beyond what a service pack does.

R2 costs money, while the service packs for Windows Server are free.

Don't really get why this is news.

They're releasing what is in truth a service pack, but because they're calling it 8.1 rather than service pack 1, suddenly people are expecting to have to pay for it, it's big news when it's free and apparently it's news that it's officially being referred to as an update. Seemed rather obvious to me ever since it was announced?

The reason this is not a SP is because an SP is 99% the time only minor bug fixes and or things like that SP2 for XP was the only SP that really added any new features . but this iis an update to windows 8.1 that Adds new features and some improvements under the hood as well.

One of the Vista SPs also did that, as did the Win7 SP. It's actually rarer that an SP is just a bunch of bug fixes and security updates.

Wakers said,
Don't really get why this is news.

They're releasing what is in truth a service pack, but because they're calling it 8.1 rather than service pack 1, suddenly people are expecting to have to pay for it, it's big news when it's free and apparently it's news that it's officially being referred to as an update. Seemed rather obvious to me ever since it was announced?


Agreed. I don't get it either.

No the only new thing to Vista was the fact it brought DX11 but that is it and well windows 7 SP did not bring any new features at all just updates and bug fixes it may have added DX 11.1 but agian nothing big while Windows 8.1 brings in big features to small ones a heck of a allot more then just 1 thing

They are calling it 8.1, cause that's what the NT Kernel version would be if they didnt kept it at 6 for backwards compatibility.

Windows 7's SP only had a collection of updates and hotfixes (several of these didn't even show up in Windows Update).
Vista had an SP that updated its driver space and some more under the hood performance changes backported from Win7 IIRC.

Wakers said,
Don't really get why this is news.
It's not much news, no, just another excuse for posters to flamebait and insult people who don't like MS products.

Wakers said,
One of the Vista SPs also did that, as did the Win7 SP. It's actually rarer that an SP is just a bunch of bug fixes and security updates.

You came up with two service packs that added features, and only one of them is true, and you say it's more rare they don't add features....

How many service packs have there been on the NT platform now, and ony one(two) added features....

SP are roll ups of fixes with some additional bug fixes and testing. But they're stopping with service packs because in the connected world with every enterprise being online, everyone needs to do rolling patches, so service packs doesn't serve their purpose anymore.

My only gripe with that way 8.1 has been handled (in an update / upgrade sense) is that when I go from 8.0 to 8.1 I get the whole Windows.old structures created. To me this states that it is not really updating it is installing a fresh and migrating everything over to that.

Maybe that behaviour will change when the final version is released?

Usually Windows.old is created at a clean install, not an upgrade...

TheDisneyMagic said,
My only gripe with that way 8.1 has been handled (in an update / upgrade sense) is that when I go from 8.0 to 8.1 I get the whole Windows.old structures created. To me this states that it is not really updating it is installing a fresh and migrating everything over to that.

I can't say for sure but even when installing a service pack in the past you would have a folder with the older files because you could rollback to before the install. The same applies with 8.1, you can refresh your install to default and I would take you back to 8.0 iirc. Unless that's just for the preview build.

It may well be changed by the final build, I have no way of knowing that but it was definitely an upgrade I performed (through the Windows Store) if memory serves me right this happened on a Surface RT tablet I upgraded as well.

GP007 said,

I can't say for sure but even when installing a service pack in the past you would have a folder with the older files because you could rollback to before the install. The same applies with 8.1, you can refresh your install to default and I would take you back to 8.0 iirc. Unless that's just for the preview build.

I don't believe I have ever got a Windows.old from installing a Service pack in the past, yes there is an option to Uninstall the Service Pack from Add / Remove Programs or Programs an Features but no Windows.old.

TheDisneyMagic said,

I don't believe I have ever got a Windows.old from installing a Service pack in the past, yes there is an option to Uninstall the Service Pack from Add / Remove Programs or Programs an Features but no Windows.old.

I worded it wrong, I meant that you would get a similar Service Pack folder in the /Windows directory after installing it. It's kinda the same idea but the folder names and locations differ. They both hold older copies of files, though in this case Windows.Old probably also holds some extra stuff in it.

Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

The OS is fine.

^^ this

I really have no problems with WIN8 at all, it's snappier, smoother and more solid than WIN7. Personal taste aside it's core is a big step up from the previous version.

I still find it interesting to see how many folks here seem to think the world revolves about whatever tends to be the trend around here. Guess what, we are but a minute corner of the world and as far as MSFT is concerned irrelevant.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

All of the users I support that have bought new pc's with windows 8 went through an initial 'oh ohhhh' phase due to the changes, but after just a few short weeks and open minded support from me and my colleagues they now prefer it - yes I am talking about all of them, not to mention my mum and dad, kids and partner.

The best way of getting people past this initial period is to focus on the benefits, as follows:

Office workers:

Syncing of windows settings, favourites and UI to any other office computer (yes group policy can do this to some extent via redirected folders but this is a big benefit to smaller companies with no server infrastructure).
Same syncing to your home windows 8 pc
Buy apps once and use on any of your windows 8 pc's - this is better when you chose windows 8 tablet as you now have a buy once use in office/home and home tablet scenario
Quick glance info on the start screen - focus on this benefit over the start menu which relayed no information what so ever (I'm not talking here about tricking them, as its not about that, once I point out this benefit and show them how to manipulate the tiles around they love it).

Home users:

Family safety built in and super easy to setup - if you haven't used this yet and have kids you are missing out, all cloud based
The whole thing about anyone being able to sign into anyone else's computer with their own MS account and its syncs their content and settings - the kids have a computer each and my partner has a laptop along with me, we all have synced accounts on all devices which take a whole 30 seconds to setup and that's it. Not like previous versions where the account is local and passwords would not sync

Again the apps thing, buy once use anywhere (there is a limit of 5 but this is fine)

Xbox music sub - this is only for me as the others have plenty of their own music, but the way it will sync my content (iTunes match style) and present it on my laptop, desktop and phone is cool while also giving me access to their entire library


With 8.1 things are about to get even better for us all, with skydrive being built right in and other changes (start screen customisations look good).

All in all me and the people I know love it, simply because we embraced a little change (which mainly comes down to the start screen vs start menu and is IMO very small and silly), we looked at the benefits of the start screen and the wider benefits and decided its a positive change overall. I'm in no way deluded into thinking this post of mine will change anyone's mind about windows 8 and that's fine, I'm just saying how it is for us.

nullie said,
The problem though, is it is not a desktop OS user interface.

I think this is spot on.
I have a Surface since a few weeks, and I think the UI works great on a tablet. Swipe in from the right to get to the settings, swipe in from the left, get the app-switcher.

On the desktop? Put your mouse in one of the right corners to get to the settings. That isn't really good for a desktop UI.

On the other hand: It might get users to learn the keyboard shortcut, Win-I for that. But that isn't anything but a lameass excuse for such a horrible user experience.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

From 95% of the windows user base, don't assume to be speaking for us.

People who gave positive comments about Windows 8/8.1 to my reply are clearly the 5% of the population who actually have it.

But on other news, hopyfully 9 will take into account that 95% of Windows users are actually using it from a desktop, not a tablet, and make a operating system that has desktop users in mind.

Anarkii said,
People who gave positive comments about Windows 8/8.1 to my reply are clearly the 5% of the population who actually have it.

But on other news, hopyfully 9 will take into account that 95% of Windows users are actually using it from a desktop, not a tablet, and make a operating system that has desktop users in mind.

Windows 8 was built with desktop users in mind. You must have missed the numerous improvements that have been made to the desktop, quite amazing really, either you haven't used it or you are blind..

Anarkii said,
People who gave positive comments about Windows 8/8.1 to my reply are clearly the 5% of the population who actually have it.

But on other news, hopyfully 9 will take into account that 95% of Windows users are actually using it from a desktop, not a tablet, and make a operating system that has desktop users in mind.

Except that the desktop is a slowly dying market and computing has already started to move to mobile devices and away from them. Laptops have been outselling desktops for years now and tablets are here to stay, so is touch interfaces. The desktop is the same it's been for 20 years and it's being left behind by consumers more and more. That 95% stat you picked out of the air does't change this market trend. MS knows this, other companies know it, it seems you want to deny it though.

Windows 8.2 or 9 isn't going to drop metro or give you back a desktop only OS. What you should expect is the two UIs to merge even more not break away.

If ou don't agree still then I keep hearing that it's the year o Linux , might be time for you to switch into the 1%.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

I use Windows 8 at home and work. Stable and speedy OS. And I've taken advantage of the new start screen and it works great...

duddit2 said,

Office workers:

Syncing of windows settings, favourites and UI to any other office computer (yes group policy can do this to some extent via redirected folders but this is a big benefit to smaller companies with no server infrastructure).
Same syncing to your home windows 8 pc
Buy apps once and use on any of your windows 8 pc's - this is better when you chose windows 8 tablet as you now have a buy once use in office/home and home tablet scenario
Quick glance info on the start screen - focus on this benefit over the start menu which relayed no information what so ever (I'm not talking here about tricking them, as its not about that, once I point out this benefit and show them how to manipulate the tiles around they love it).

First off, I would not sync a business workstation with home computers via a MS account. Big security no-nos, especially for PCI-DSS/Sarbanes Oxley governed businesses.

Second, in a company like mine that have a lot of "technologically inept" users, explaining the Start Screen might not be a great idea. Instead, we use GPO and standard images to put their widely used shortcuts to their business apps on their Desktop. No Start Screen needed.

By the time Windows 9 comes out, I don't think you'll be able to buy a machine without a touchscreen (especially laptops), So I think the direction Microsoft took is spot on. Of course the OS & UI need some improvement, but so did Win85, Win2000, WinXP and your favorite Win7

briangw said,

First off, I would not sync a business workstation with home computers via a MS account. Big security no-nos, especially for PCI-DSS/Sarbanes Oxley governed businesses.

Second, in a company like mine that have a lot of "technologically inept" users, explaining the Start Screen might not be a great idea. Instead, we use GPO and standard images to put their widely used shortcuts to their business apps on their Desktop. No Start Screen needed.

Maybe not a MS account, but you could get the same benefits if you use SharePoint from what I remember.

Wakers said,

THIS IS THE IT INDUSTRY, IT IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT.

It is a myth.
Things aren't changed much since the 80, just more fast, with more color, sound and better resolution. For instance, touch screen for windows is nothing new.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Please overhaul your crap OS for next Windows release. (aka Windows 9).
Regards,
95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

Amen

Anarkii said,
But on other news, hopyfully 9 will take into account that 95% of Windows users are actually using it from a desktop, not a tablet, and make a operating system that has desktop users in mind.

And the award for clueless hater-minded comment of the day goes to....

What more is there to take account of? The desktop is still there, you can still do everything in 8 that you could in 7. Now, with 8.1 you can even boot straight to the desktop if that is you preference.

Brony said,

It is a myth.
Things aren't changed much since the 80, just more fast, with more color, sound and better resolution. For instance, touch screen for windows is nothing new.

Nothing has changed? eh.. Go back and use Windows 95 for ten minutes and then post that again with a straight face.

DaveBG said,
yes. its the gui that is crap

Which is why they keep working on it? It's not like explorer was perfect in Windows 95. Lots of people still wanted to use Program manager back then, and lets not forget all the shell changers, a few that I also tried at one point, lightstep anyone?

8.1 is a very nice improvement on both sides of the coin and the next version will take things even farther.

dodgetigger said,

I think this is spot on.
I have a Surface since a few weeks, and I think the UI works great on a tablet. Swipe in from the right to get to the settings, swipe in from the left, get the app-switcher.

On the desktop? Put your mouse in one of the right corners to get to the settings. That isn't really good for a desktop UI.

On the other hand: It might get users to learn the keyboard shortcut, Win-I for that. But that isn't anything but a lameass excuse for such a horrible user experience.


Exactly, they should've kept all of the old desktop interface for the OS install on desktop machines. LIke they ask you, is this going on a tablet or touchscreen device? Then you get what we know to be Windows 8. If a user says no to the above question, you get at least the option to have the modern UI removed completely or have the full OLD start menu back with all functions there in. Microsoft messed up. I'm still debating on whether 8.1 is good enough a fix.

I don't even know why you are so worried about it. Just stick with an older Windows version, use OSX or use Linux. That way you and the rest of the world will be much happier.

Steve B said,

Exactly, they should've kept all of the old desktop interface for the OS install on desktop machines. LIke they ask you, is this going on a tablet or touchscreen device? Then you get what we know to be Windows 8. If a user says no to the above question, you get at least the option to have the modern UI removed completely or have the full OLD start menu back with all functions there in. Microsoft messed up. I'm still debating on whether 8.1 is good enough a fix.

That would have only served to leave metro and WinRT neglected and developers would be even slower to make apps for it since it would be turned off. You also have to come to terms with the shift in computing to mobile devices, better to get users used to the new way now and be ready for it with apps and so on then to take even longer to respond than they did.

Other GUIs are also making the move, you only have to look at Unity on Ubuntu and the default GNOME 3.x "menu". It's a full screen app list now, and GNOME does it's own share of hiding UI elements from you, look at the notification area that'd hidden down at the bottom of the screen, you only know it's there when you move the mouse down to it.

This whole start screen vs start menu debate can drag on as long as you want but the menu is gone, you can use a free replacement if you wish but the shift is to mobile device and touch first usage. That doesn't mean desktops are going to die or so on but they hit their highpoint in the market 3-4 years ago, it's going to be a steady downtrend for the next 5 or so years and who knows where it'll stop? It could go down to from the current 75-80million a quarter to 30 million for all we know. While tablets will keep growing each quarter.

MS did not have to reduce desktop functionality with the start screen. The two things are not mutually exclusive. They could have added most or all of my suggestions without breaking or hindering touch functionality.

Yes the desktop market is declining, that doesn't mean MS should destroy desktop functionality on their desktop OS in a bungled attempt to familiarize people with their phone/tablet touch UI.

startscreennope said,
MS did not have to reduce desktop functionality with the start screen. The two things are not mutually exclusive. They could have added most or all of my suggestions without breaking or hindering touch functionality.

Yes the desktop market is declining, that doesn't mean MS should destroy desktop functionality on their desktop OS in a bungled attempt to familiarize people with their phone/tablet touch UI.

You're ideas, while nice to an extent are only ones coming from a pure desktop users point of view. Many of the desktop side options you ask for have zero to do with a mobile device. Users on a tablet aren't going to want to go into the desktop, never have and never will. While the options are nice for traditional PC use, and I agree with a number of them, that doesn't help to improve the mobile needs going forward.

For example the multimonitor improvements in 8.0 and the multimonitor desktop auto scaling in 8.1, while good for desktop users, mean nothing to a tablet user. And that tablet/mobile user is going to make the majority of computer users in the future.

Familiarizing people with the new UI is only part of it, setting the groundwork for the new APIs and app model is also part of it. If you had just given people the option to turn it off fully and bring back the win7 start menu then that's just what would have happened, and as I said, even less developers would bother with WinRT when WinRT is clearly the way forward.

I expect desktop side improvements, they added more in 8.1 and will add more to the next version but the desktop is starting to see it's exit and soon will be used by the minority. You can't honestly argue this fact.

WinRT is stillborn as far as sales are concerned. Throwing desktop users under the bus to force people into Windows phones/tablets and Windows on ARM is a terrible idea that failed spectacularly. Not only did they not push phone/tablet sales, but they caused PC sales to crater even faster than they had been declining.

As I noted, the reductions in functionality were not even necessary - all of my suggestions could be added to the start screen, no need to "bring back the start menu".

Yes it would require 'extra work on non-touch things', but Windows 8 is a desktop OS, that's what people use it on. MS acknowledged that a little bit with 8.1 boot to desktop and disable edge shortcuts, but they still have a lot of work to do.

startscreennope said,
WinRT is stillborn as far as sales are concerned. Throwing desktop users under the bus to force people into Windows phones/tablets and Windows on ARM is a terrible idea that failed spectacularly. Not only did they not push phone/tablet sales, but they caused PC sales to crater even faster than they had been declining.

As I noted, the reductions in functionality were not even necessary - all of my suggestions could be added to the start screen, no need to "bring back the start menu".

Yes it would require 'extra work on non-touch things', but Windows 8 is a desktop OS, that's what people use it on. MS acknowledged that a little bit with 8.1 boot to desktop and disable edge shortcuts, but they still have a lot of work to do.

I'm talking about WinRT the platform/API framework, not Windows RT the ARM version of the OS. There are still people who want the menu, even with your additions that will always be the case. And saying phone and tablet sales didn't see a boost isn't that true, WP share is growing, faster in other places and slower in others (mainly in the US but US doesn't equal the world). And tablet sales went from something like 500k to 2.5-2.6million for the quarter. The PC was on the way down even when Windows 7 was what everyone was talking about, even if Windows 8 was the way you and some wished it was the decline still would've happened. Arguing over the rate of it is a guessing game, business still wouldn't have upgraded to 8, many just rolled out Win7 or have plans to do so this year and into 2014, since business moves as slow as they do. The quicker ones are what helped 7 sell as it did, though the PC industry didn't see much help either.

Anarkii said,
Dear Microsoft.
Regards, 95% of Windows users on the planet who arnt using Windows 8.

There's your issue... why not actually use it before making a judgement call like that. The majority that use it, love it.

briangw said,

First off, I would not sync a business workstation with home computers via a MS account. Big security no-nos, especially for PCI-DSS/Sarbanes Oxley governed businesses.

Second, in a company like mine that have a lot of "technologically inept" users, explaining the Start Screen might not be a great idea. Instead, we use GPO and standard images to put their widely used shortcuts to their business apps on their Desktop. No Start Screen needed.

Agreed I should have added that my customers are not big businesses that have to comply with regulations, they are mainly small offices and this works well for them. big companies can handle anything 'windows 8 issues' wise via their IT dept/GP and other such mechanisms.

i have been using win8 since the consumer preview and all six of the computers in my house are on win8.1

my little sister, my mother and my grandmother seem to enjoy it... with a little two minute explanation i have received LESS calls to explain stuff to my relatives than when they were on windows vista

all i tell them... click desktop item to go to desktop. press windows key and start typing. voila

i am the only person in the house that has a touch screen pc

if my 40+ mother and 60+ grandmother can handle win8.1 I dont see how people in this forum can say such idiotic things

GP007 said,

Which is why they keep working on it? It's not like explorer was perfect in Windows 95. Lots of people still wanted to use Program manager back then, and lets not forget all the shell changers, a few that I also tried at one point, lightstep anyone?

8.1 is a very nice improvement on both sides of the coin and the next version will take things even farther.


so removing features and dumbing it down is good? lol
back when 95 was released the added features not removed... this gui is already unusable over rdp

DaveBG said,

so removing features and dumbing it down is good? lol
back when 95 was released the added features not removed... this gui is already unusable over rdp

Pray tell, what features have they removed?

Wakers said,

Pray tell, what features have they removed?

In this example, 'features' (Plural) is used to describe the removal of a start menu (replaced with a start screen - so not removed, just changed).

Some people cant help exaggerating.

duddit2 said,

In this example, 'features' (Plural) is used to describe the removal of a start menu (replaced with a start screen - so not removed, just changed).

Some people cant help exaggerating.

I was waiting for him to come back and say just that.