With the introduction of Windows 8.1 Update 1, if the rumors turn out to be true, Microsoft will no longer make the public eat Metro. Joining the list of detractors for the Metro screen is Microsoft, itself, or so it appears, as they have grudgingly decided that the public’s refusal to accept the mobile-style Metro apps and colorful tiles of Windows 8 warranted a return to having the “boot to desktop” setting as a default, rather than merely an option.
The “Metro” start button, in the Windows 8.1 Update 1, will be bypassed. Say “Hey, hey, good-bye,” to the mobile-style apps and colorful tiles of Windows 8, and say “Hello, old friend,” to the return of the familiar, perhaps more user-friendly, Windows applications that came before (excluding Vista, of course).
Rather than admit that the switch to the Metro style of Windows 8 wasn’t working, and scrapping it, Microsoft tried to appease their customers first with the roll out of Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 went in the right direction, by debutting a new boot-to-desktop setting; but, it was an option that had to be manually triggered by users.
While the final Windows 8.1 Update 1 hasn’t been released yet, if it holds true that the boot-to-desktop setting will be a feature of it, according to analysts it will be an admittal by Microsoft that their original strategy didn’t work.
What got Microsoft to implement Windows 8.1 Update 1?
Microsoft was pushed into a corner by business who didn’t like the switch to Windows 8 who told Microsoft, according to Patrick Moorhead, the principal analyst at Moor Insights Strategy, that if changes weren’t made, “we’re not going to buy Windows 8.”
Rather than consumers deciding that the touch and app Metro system had its benefits, thus pushing developers into creating tons of new apps, which was Microsoft’s aim, they rejected it, preferring the classic Windows desktop icons.
Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, made a promise to developers that the switch to the Metro apps system would “create a heck of a lot of opportunity for folks in this room to make millions.” If he’d been correct in his assumption, Ballmer would have looked like a prescient genius.
He apparently didn’t anticipate, though, that consumers wouldn’t take to Metro like a duck takes to water. The move caused many consumers to buy smartphones or tablets, or augment their older computers, rather than buying PCs featuring Windows 8.
Microsoft lost customers in droves, and businesses, though they continued to buy PCs, standardized Windows 7, refusing to accept Windows 8. Windows 8, many businesses felt, disrupted their productivity.
The April debut of Windows 9 will mark a further repudiation of Windows 8, as Microsoft apparently wants to leave behind the Windows 8 series altogether and move onward, hoping that the name change and return to the classic Windows desktop icon style will also bring back consumers.
Even though Windows 9 is set to debut this April, it won’t be available on PCs for around another year. That means, among other things, that Microsoft is counting on the introduction of Windows 8 Update 1 to restore consumer confidence in the brand.
Reportedly, for users of Windows 8 who have accepted the Metro system and now require it, they will still be able to access the Metro landing screen. They will just have to reinstate it by using options within the settings.
While insiders have reported that Microsoft will, with the introduction of Windows 8.1 Update 1, include a default boot-to-desktop feature, this switch has yet to be implemented. However, Microsoft would like to bring back the consumers and market shares that it’s been losing, so it’s a good likelihood that they will want to stop the bleeding and have the boot-to-desktop feature in Update 1.
Written by: Douglas Cobb