First impressions are what count.
Honestly; if Microsoft is telling us about this then I have full confidence that they'll succeed and turn those programs into something awesome. Because if there's one thing Microsoft can do is turn something totally shit into something totally awesome (at least to some people, others might be less enthusiast and would probably label it "finally useful").
But here's the thing: Too little, too late.
Microsoft really needs to realize that the first impression is all that counts.
I'm not getting near Win8, even though it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Microsoft would somehow eventually succeed in setting up a solid and liable replacement for the start menu in Windows 8. I dunno; something which brings TIFKAM and the desktop better together.
But the damage has already been done; a lot of people have only one intention: to keep their current Windows version around for as long as possible. Where XP users are more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 than Windows 8.
So even if Microsoft would succeed, and I honestly think they'll pull it off eventually, it would hardly get them much further. Because just as now people will approach the product with a lot of (warranted!) prejudice; more likely picking some "other" solution just because of it.
The first impression is what counts.