People “miss” Start Menu in Windows 8 and Microsoft made “flawed” decisions, says IDC analyst

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Ready for some more Windows 8 hate? Here it comes!

Bob O’Donnell, Program VP of Clients and Displays and “responsible for tracking the latest and most important hardware developments that impact PCs, notebooks, thin clients and other computing devices” at International Data Corporation (IDC), recently told Brooke Crothers of CNET that Windows 8 sales have stalled because Microsoft made a couple of flaws, namely lack of ‘Start’ button (aka Start Menu) and inability to boot directly to desktop mode:

There were certain decisions that Microsoft made that were in retrospect flawed. Notably not allowing people to boot into desktop mode and taking away the start button. Those two things have come up consistently. We’ve done some research and people miss that.

And there are a lot of people that as soon as they boot into Windows 8, they go to desktop mode and do most their work there and occasionally back to Metro. But the point being they’re much more comfortable with desktop mode.

There are ways to get Start Menu back on Windows 8 and a way to boot directly to Windows 8 desktop mode. However, these aren’t native to Windows 8 so most people are unlikely to use them, which is O’Donnell’s point.

It is important to note that O’Donnell is not just another potshot analyst shooting from the hip. He works at IDC, a well respected analytics company “whose business it is to get input from PC makers” as Crothers puts it, and is basing his comments upon at least some research and analysis. Of course it is up for debate if O’Donnell is reflecting the viewpoint of end-users, of computer manufacturers, of end-users are reported to computer manufacturers, or all three. However, the sentiment across the board seems to be fairly clear: Microsoft pushed too much change on people too quickly.

[via CNET]

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7 comments

  1. Maximus

    You give M$ too much credit. First look at how the company is run; Money is Job One, #2 is stock holders, and somewhere coming up the tail end, is the consumer, dead last. That’s why it take M$ so long, to fix their *obvious* errors.

  2. Clint Martin

    I have to say I really hated the whole Modern UI experience at first. I installed and uninstalled Win8 several times over a month. Now though, I really prefer it to Win7. I have added Stardock’s start menu, but the Metro desktop is really convenient when you get used to it. It’s nice to have quick-loading single focus apps to jump to weather, news, or whatever. Took some getting used to, but I really like the whole setup now far better than anything previous. It’s like having Win7, but also a pretty cool tablet/mobile type UI thrown in. I do think MS could have relaxed a little on throwing out the start menu, at least for the desktop, but all in all 8 has really won me over in the end, it just took some time.

  3. V

    The third flaw, of course, is the cumbersome multi-tasking for the Metro interface since it is full-screen only. Not only that, want to (even) quit these programs? Good luck. No one but an idiot would’ve thought this a good idea on the desktop.

    The fourth flaw is that M$ took away much of the customization in Windows 7. Want to change the color of a UI object in Win h8? Yeah, good luck. Want to (even) find what used to be easily available from control panels? Again, good luck. Foolish, ignorant, unwarranted changes.

    Sure third-party programs — such as Stardock’s ModernMix — fix SOME of these problems but it is absurd that Ballmer is being paid to run a company which made such stupid decisions.

    With any kind of luck, he won’t be much longer. That man deserves to be fired.

  4. S.W. Anderson

    MS got on the wrong side of users because the start menu is a convenient, useful, customizable tool that serves them well in their daily computing. It’s not just a matter of discomfort at being confronted with “too much change.” It’s not that so many people come unglued when faced with something unfamiliar. The problem people have with Win 8 is that the change they’re confronted with doesn’t serve their needs as well as the one that was taken away. That was boneheaded-bad decision making on Microsoft’s part.

    My take on Microsoft’s Win 8 motif is that the company wanted desperately to be in on the latest trends. Win 8 affects a smartphone/tablet-style interface, with some Pocket and Pinterest vibes thrown in. “Hey, gang, we’re with it here in Redmond, see? Desktops are so l990′s. Laptops are so last decade.”

    In a way Win 8 smacks of change for the sake of change, not for enhanced usability. I’m not unsympathetic to Microsoft’s need to freshen up their world-leading OS. The obvious better way to go about this, though, was for MS to make reversion to a Win 7 start menu and desktop a matter of a few personalization clicks — a built in wizard, ready to go and easy to use, with step-by-step help on tap for less-savvy users. I realize, as your helpful links show, there are work-around ways to accomplish this. I’m just saying MS should’ve provided a convenient escape hatch right up front. Failure to do that was even more boneheaded bad, IMO. The IDC guys knows whereof he speaks.

  5. Bub

    I, for one, think the Windows 8 hate is overdone. I recently upgraded from XP to 8, and half-expected the sky to fall, from all the bad-talk. The only reasons I took the plunge were that XP had become rather unstable for me, and that I wanted to take advantage of Microsoft’s $39 upgrade offer before it expired.

    Yes, I miss the Start menu. But the Start Screen that replaced it isn’t an awful replacement. In some ways, it’s even better. For example, I no longer have the menu disappear on me just before clicking on the item I want.

    Yes, I would also like to boot to desktop, since I never use Metro apps. But my boot speed is so much improved since I upgraded that I can afford the time for the one extra click to switch to desktop, and I still come out quite a bit ahead.

    Most importantly, my stability issues have vanished. A clean reinstall of XP might have done that much for me as well, but I’m now glad that I took the plunge.