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  1. #1
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    Default Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    The canning of Steven Sinofsky 15 days after the launch of Windows 8 could signal the start of Microsoft dealing with lukewarm reception to its latest operating system.

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    6:29PM EST November 13. 2012 - The firing of Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky, just 15 days after the launch of Windows 8, raises questions about whether there will be a return of the traditional Windows Start Menu.

    Microsoft's not saying. But there are a couple of developments suggesting that might not be a bad bet.

    First, to catch you up: Sinofsky, a one time aide to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was summarily let go by CEO Steve Ballmer on Monday night, two weeks after the much hyped Oct. 26 launch of Windows 8. Until then, Sinofsky was head of Microsoft's Windows division. WIndows 8 is his baby.

    Arguably the boldest change Sinofsky insisted on was to cut off Windows users cold turkey from the familiar Start Menu interface. He outlined his philosophy and rationale via a blog post written in connection with the Build developers' conference held a few days after the Windows 8 launch.

    Sinofsky persuaded Ballmer to replace the Start Menu with a hybrid touch screen, plus keyboard and mouse interface. He had his detractors. But Sinofsky successfully argued that it was crucial for the company to orient Windows PC users toward the look and feel of the all-new Windows 8 Surface touch tablet and the latest Windows Phone 8 smartphone models.

    He might have won the internal debate. But convincing millions of home and workplace users of Windows that the switch was for their own good hasn't gone well.

    Software company Stardock has sold tens of thousands of copies of Start8, a $5 application that restores a fully functioning Windows 7 Start Menu interface to new Windows 8 PCs. Stardock has distributed tens of thousands more free trial versions, says Kris Kwilas, Stardock's vice president of technology.

    "We were having some success with word of mouth before the Windows 8 release, and since the release, the floodgates have been opened, and the demand is surprising even us," Kwilas says. "It tells me that early adopters of Windows 8 feel there's something missing -- a comfort factor for how they want to use their PCs, vs. how Microsoft has decided for them how they should use their computers."

    The lukewarm reception for Windows 8 appears to be running deep with Microsoft's corporate customers, as well. Gartner analyst Stephen Kleynhans has issued a widely cited report saying large organizations won't even begin small pilot studies of Windows 8 usage until 2013 at the earliest.

    "We expect during 2013 a lot of companies will begin experimenting with Windows 8 tablets, running some small pilots as a learning experience," Kleynhans says.

    User training and acceptance in corporate settings is a "major hurdle," adds Karl Volkman, chief technology officer at hosting services provider SRV Network. "Many people resist change because breaking habits is difficult," he says.

    Complicating matters further, Sinofsky championed issuing multiple versions of Windows 8, including one for the Surface tablet that runs on an ARM processing chip, instead of Intel chips. Application developers have had to design software for two distinctive processors. None of the existing Intel Windows apps can run on the ARM-based Surface tablets. Microsoft has had to create a special version of Office to run on Surface, observes Trip Chowdhry, managing director of Global Equities Research.

    "Office on Surface is a dumbed-down version. Consumers are confused, and confused consumers don't buy things," says Chowdhry. "Nobody can explain what you can do in one version of Windows 8 compared to another."

    Al Hilwa, IDC's applications development software analyst, surmises that the bottom line probably dictated the timing of Ballmer firing Sinofsky.

    The Windows division reported declining sales in the company's fiscal 2013 first quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Six weeks into Microsoft's fiscal second quarter, and two weeks into a Windows 8 marketing blitz, Ballmer must not like what he sees in Windows sales trends, Hilwa says.

    Hilwa says Ballmer has to at least be weighing a reversal of Sinofsky's call to dump the Start Menu whole hog.

    "Clearly, if the product isn't doing well, they could come up with a service pack that restores the Start Menu," Hilwa says. "There's a whole bunch of smaller decisions that could make the product easier to use with a mouse. They may have to dial the needle down enough to bring enterprises on board."

    Wes Miller, an industry analyst at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft, says Sinofsky's sudden exit probably has more to do with personalities than any specific product flaws.

    Miller points out that Sinofsky's replacement, Julie Larson-Green, actually directed the revamping of the user interface for Windows 8.

    "She spiritually led much of the start screen work for Windows 8," says Miller. "So much about this decision is personality and the direction of the company moving forward -- and not really any explicit product-related decisions."

    Article Source: usatoday.com

  2. #2
    Moderator Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    Personally, I very much suggest that Sinofsky's leaving & the retired start stuff being put into Windows 8. It is nothing more than the 'start folks' jumping on a self-created band-wagon in trying to say one will lead to the other. The UI will stand not matter his departure. My belief. No matter what 3rd Parties are offering. And there is always a delay following release w/ Enterprise, just the normal nature of the beast.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    That was true of 7 also, which Drew pointed out, & in fact, many businesses this very day are still on XP. Why? The global economy & the fact that many small & large businesses are getting by with XP nicely. Of course, this is slowly changing, more & more are migrating to 7.

    Still, one third (or more) Windows computers (business or home) on XP, after three generations of Windows has been released, is unacceptable from any standpoint of view. Especially of the business world, which can write off these expenses, in some cases, getting a free upgrade, computers & software.

    Home users, I can understand more, there are no tax breaks for us to upgrade, it all boils down to whether or not we have the funds to do it. With so many jobless, & a lot of those who are fortunate to have a job haven't had a raise in years, or working for minimum wage, yet health insurance/other living expenses continue to rise, I can relate to that.

    I do have two fully working XP computers myself, but they're not my main ones, I use them for web browsing only. They won't run a modern version of Windows. If I had no other choice than those, one of them would be running the latest version of Ubuntu (12.04 LTS) or Mint 13, modern OS's which runs fine on not too old hardware.

    As to this Start Menu (or Orb) deal, I've read more than one source stating that the Start Menu is in fact in the code of Windows 8, but it's not been activated (or whatever) to run. And while this doesn't overly concern me, it certainly does others, otherwise why the success of the companies producing replacements for it? There are free & paid, as described above, options for it.

    There are too many reasons to list here why Windows 8 *must* be a success, & sooner rather than later. Shareholders doesn't have time for the usual wait that businesses makes, this is 2012, times have changed. Many traders practices in what's known as "day trading", rather than ride out a wave for years. They buy shares when they're low, if no or poor performance, dump them.

    The fact is, Windows 8 hasn't seen the immediate impact that Windows 7 received for several straight months prior to & after release, a overwhelming launching, & hundreds of millions of copies sold in record time. Office 2013 is going to have the same uphill battle, after many customers dropped $499 for it's top line Office 2010 Professional Plus.

    And the last thing, all of this could have been avoided, Windows 7 & Office 2010 was flying high, & still is, Windows 7 outselling Windows 8 by a 2 to 1 margin. All that MS had to do, & I wrote this myself when talk began to surface about the "next" Windows, was to wait until after 04/08/2014 before releasing anything, milking the cash cow of Windows 7 for all that it was worth. MS could have addressed the tablet market with Windows RT w/o messing with the rest.

    Someone decided to "fix" what wasn't broken. That's why Steven Sinofsky received his walking papers, just as his equal (Scott Forstall) at Apple did. Forstall thought that his close friendship with Steve Jobs was going to carry him, that doesn't cut it in the corporate world anymore. No doubt, Sinofsky thought, as did many, that he was going to be Microsoft's next CEO, as did Forstall with Apple.

    But don't sweat over him, no doubt he received a nice golden parachute, that will be revealed in time to come.

    All this leads one to wonder, did MS fire the right Steve?

    Cat

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    Personally, I think Julie taking over is very cool. You have to remember there were other people VERY involved w/ the design & building of Windows 8, as it is. Julie, especially. 1 of the prime goals was to have an OS that would impact the mobile space while having a consistent look, feel & MO across multiple devices, including PCs. I don't mean to harp on it but, one has to keep an eye on the 'big picture'. In IT & modern, evolving technology new versions of products will materialize & on shorter timelines than have existed & 1 thing that will continue to be repeated is change... maybe, not always as drastic & dramatic as Win7 to Win8 But, there will continue to be NEW, new S/W, new H/W, new updates & new versions. Some will find it makes sense, serves a purpose, fills a need, find it exciting... some will balk, find fault, want to 'old', not accept it, 'get' it or go w/ the flow and write reams of complaints, debate & controversy. All while the futures stands there yelling a curious, rhetorical question... "You coming?"

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    I'm already there, not only with one computer, but probably also my notebook next month. I still have a backup of 8 RP that can be reinstalled & upgraded (with my OEM Windows 7 Pro). And give up nothing, as was with my desktop! On this baby that I just picked up today.

    Newegg.com - Intel 330 Series Maple Crest SSDSC2CT180A3K5 2.5" 180GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    Oh hell yea! The M4 that's in there is only 128GB (119GB usable), this 180GB gives me plenty of cushion for my recovery partition (don't bother asking why, I'm keeping it) & a dual boot of Windows 7 & 8 Pro. And it being an Intel brand, my notebook has built in software that supports Intel SSD's. Had I known this, I'd bought Intel to begin with, after all, they're a great brand, & there's downloads to assist me with my install, as well as monitor health.

    As for the M4, I'm going to move it to this desktop (in my specs below). That should cover for some of it's deficiencies (anemic CPU, total of yesteryear's 4GB DDR2 PC2-6400 RAM). And being that both the RAM & SSD are of the Crucial brand, they're matched components, or at least should be compatible with one another. It should boot & load apps at a far more decent speed.

    I'm sold on Windows 8, though not ready to totally give up 7. There's lots of potential with the OS, as with anything new, attitude & willingness to learn goes a long way. That's the way it is on the job & other aspects of life, why would computing be different?

    Yes, Julie was also a part of the team, but had she bucked Sinofsky in any way (I mean any), out the door she would have went, as did many who did. Really, it's a shame. Because MS had the opportunity for many great things, some before it's competitors did. Problem was, it takes time to build a brand (Ballmer & Sinofsky knows this), yet they weren't giving new releases that had potential a chance. This isn't totally about Windows 8, it's also about many other failures/missed opportunities.

    MS was buying up companies left & right, then instead of listening to those who built those companies, they silenced them by telling them to be grateful that they had a job. So more or less, many of these buyouts, were to silence any competition. Most of these companies or "startups", we never hear the names of again.

    But where MS really missed a pot of gold, was when HP was flip-flopping around as to keep it's PC division or not. The door was wide open & MS had the cash to yank the HP name off every plant & office they have & replaced it with their own. They then could have told the rest of the OEM's to shove it, HP ships more computers than any other on the planet. Their employees however, could use some retraining on quality & a major attitude adjustment, which doesn't need explaining to the majority of recent HP computers/other devices. Sinofsky could have handled this task well.

    Apple does the same, everything is in house. I don't know what the implications for system builders (for profit) would be though, or those who builds their own. My guess is that MS would charge a high premium for their OS's, & prior OS's would be in very high demand.

    MS cannot afford to let these type of opportunities slip through their fingers again. There will be another major OEM in dire straights in due time, MS has to seize the moment when it comes.

    I believe that all will be well. As to whether MS bends to the Start Menu, if it does prove to be a factor, remains to be seen. MS has built an empire by delivering what it's customers wants & needs, not by giving them the cold shoulder. Should their customers demand a Start Menu in huge numbers, they may have to reconsider.

    And when it's all said & done, the entire lack of a native Start menu (as we've known it for 17 or so years) will be fully placed on the back of Sinofsky. Sure, Julie worked with him, but under him, & given enough pressure, it can be made to look like the Modern UI (& it's faults in it's entirety) as completely Sinofsky's idea & execution.

    Thing is, probably under the terms of his golden parachute, he will be unable to defend himself or object to anything said. We never heard a peep out of Carly Fiorina after she alone ruined the HP brand, likely forever, against advice from key board members, except for her cancer battle (which I wouldn't wish on anyone) & political losses.

    Sinofsky is likely done in the tech community also.

    Cat

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    Or, just a thought, OR people could (and they will eventually) grow accustomed to using windows 8, as is, w/out adding old start things. Not sure why everything has to be, one way or another, back to being about start stuff, all the time. I know, I know, I not entitled to my opinion & nobody wants to hear it anymore than I want to hear about start stuff, anymore. Some of us, maybe more than some others realize, like 8 just fine the way it is and don't spend our days fretting about start or thinking everything somehow, at the end of the day, has something (no matter how convoluted) to do w/ start or some lack of it. Oh, geeez, a different topic would be nice! OR, same as I discovered how 8 works, we could just pick up on doing things differently, from the conditioned familiar. I dunno why that seems so prudent & fitting vs adding things to make it like something from the past. People tend to forget, there are heaps of people that Windows 8 is all they'll know... their life w/out making any comparisons to start stuff from Windows 95 must be so much less cumbersome.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    No, I agree with you Drew, and also agree that everyone has the right to express their opinions, including you. As far as all of this Start Menu stuff goes, it's called Customization. There's no "one size fits all" in computing. If there were, we'd all be using the same, many of which are less effective, utilities. These aren't all, but some of the popular ones, that's replaced with both paid & free counterparts.

    1) Windows Backup
    2) Windows Defrag
    3) Windows Security (WD on 8, MSE/WD on XP, Vista, 7)
    4) Windows Media Player (many uses VLC, which now has both a 32 & 64 bit version).
    5) BitLocker (True Crypt is less buggy & has tighter security, & works better on non-TPM equipped computers).
    6) Windows Start Menu (these replacements did NOT begin with the birth of 8, some were used with 7 & Vista).
    7) Screensavers/Themes: Many doesn't use the default one shipped with their version of Windows.

    I'm sure there are many others, the problem here is that the media has made a big deal out of customizing our Windows the way we wish. Not the users. Even some of the OEM's have introduced their version of a Start Menu, though to some, it may be considered "crapware".

    Except in cases where the EULA between the customer, the OEM & MS is violated, it's 100% fine to customize our computers the way we wish. There is no right or wrong way to accomplish many tasks & perform functions, there is the BEST way for each user.

    Freedom of choice of apps is very much a part of why MS Windows is on 90+% of the world's computers, & the lack of such is what will keep the other players down. It is imperative to keep it as such, as if Windows users are forced to go in a certain direction, some will simply leave, or stick with XP/Vista/7 until the wheels falls off. BTW, demand for Windows 7 has caused the pricing to increase at many sites, including Newegg/Amazon.

    MS doesn't have until 2014, 2017 & 2020 (when support for the above ends) to get users to buy their products. That's the bottom line.

    Cat

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    A couple of other things that caused business to hang on to XP so long is proprietary software and a lot of hardware that wouldn't run on Windows 7. The software and hardware makers didn't update because they want to sell new products also some of them had been acquired by other companies.
    Joe

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    Yes, and actually that scenario was at it's worst at the release of Vista. The lack of being in-step w/ Operation System by 3rd party vendors & manufactures of both H/W and S/W has been severe. I really don't feel compatibility issues were as bad w/ 7. Now, the greatest tendency or trend is that things are not written for XP (anymore). In the case of IE10 this also applies to Vista. As the continuum goes along, older systems, get less attention. I do think we will see less of this phenomenon w/ Windows 8. One, because the timeline/gap across OSs is shorter and two, because there has been better collaboration from the 3rd party peripherals makers.

    At the speed of IT evolving over the past very few recent years it is/has been expecting a lot for people to keep up, let alone Enterprise. Add to that the delay w/ Vista, then a quick knee-jerk reaction getting 7 out, both skewing reasonable intervals AND the 3rd Party folks dropping the ball and cumulative ripple effect creates a fertile recipe for disaster, confusion, misunderstandings & huge challenges.

    So, yes, there were some reasons, Joe. May there be some reasons to see improvement in this regard; fingers crossed.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Last edited by Drew; 11-14-2012 at 11:47 PM.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?

    Dealing with old computers and new mixed together can be a nightmare. I ran a CNC that had a proprietary control from about 1990. Our tool file backed up to a floppy disk. The file was to big to reload so you had to break it in half. To make it more interesting there were no line numbers. The floppy could only be read by a Windows 95 or older computers. After they changed our PC to XP that linked to the mainframe and CNC there was no place left to access the floppy disk if needed. Eventually my day man and I figured out how to save the tool file on the XP machine and split it there ourselves. We got absolutely no help from IT people they were clueless when we asked. One thing I figured out was a problem in the old software. I changed a setting so the XP machine would time out when finished because one symbpol in the old software stopped it near the beginning. If we hadn't both been into computers on the outside we would have had to enter tons of data back in one tool at a time. After I retired he was the only one who knew how to do it.
    Joe

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