Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further
Windows 8 has one perceived issue that is the lack of a traditional start menu. 8.1 essentially solves that problem by giving you.
1. Boot direct to desktop
2. Show applications on start screen rather than tiles
3. Show desktop background behind start screen.
Unfortunately this isn't enough for the masses because it's 3 options to change rather than one and, perhaps more importantly, it doesn't get you back to where you were. Microsoft could easily have chosen to bring back the windows 7 style start menu as an option. In the same way that XP offered the 95 style start menu. The start screen on windows 8 is probably better than the start menu but it needs refinement and time for people to come to that conclusion by themselves. When XP came out everyone changed the start menu to look like 2000, but over time people realised that actually the XP start menu was better. The jury is still out on the Windows 8 start screen but without the option to use the old system people aren't even going to try windows 8.
The other thing here that is interesting is that 8.1 is essentially windows 8 sp1, a free upgrade for all windows 8 users.. However server 2012 is moving to R2 which is a new version of Windows server