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Microsoft puts the focus back on the desktop

After the failings of Windows on new platforms, Microsoft goes back to what it knows best.


Steven’s Sinofsky’s vision for Windows seems to have had its fate sealed with a new report from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. Yes, the operating system will still be available on tablets and smartphones, but the centerpiece of Windows’ modern look: the Modern UI, once known as Metro, will be virtually erased from existence on the desktop  in favor of a return to the traditional Start Menu paradigm.

According to a report by ZDNet, which was later confirmed by The Verge, Microsoft’s next version of Windows, currently codenamed “Threshold”, will follow the trend started with Windows 8.1 — different versions of Windows for different hardware profiles. Desktop users will get a Start Menu and the Modern UI will be suppressed; mobile users will still have the touchscreen friendly interface. Users of Two-in-one devices that are Windows exclusive will have a hybrid, depending on what configuration their device is in.

Originally the return of the Start Menu was expected with Update 2 of Windows 8, but it looks like this will be now reserved for Threshold.

For Microsoft, Threshold is an attempt to undo the usability sins of Windows 8: the traditional Windows style desktop was useless on tablets, while the Modern UI was the wrong fit for the desktop.

Microsoft needs to do all it can to give Windows a second chance. Many two-in-one devices ship with Android for a reason — Windows has yet to prove itself as a viable mobile operating system. At the same time desktop users have largely avoided making the move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 because while the operating system itself is technically sound, the inclusion of the new UI was a major turn off to many.

It isn’t clear yet if Threshold will be Windows 9, or a major update to Windows 8. It all likelihood Microsoft will be eager to abandon Windows 8 and all its baggage, but nothing yet is confirmed.

The public preview of Threshold is expected to arrive in the fall, shortly after Windows 8.1 Update 2.

Sources: ZDNet, NeoWin

One thought on “Microsoft puts the focus back on the desktop

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