back to article Former Microsoft Windows chief: I was right to kill the Start button

Ex-Windows chief Steven Sinofsky is “happy” with the miserable sales record of tablets and PCs running his Windows 8 baby. Speaking at the Wall St Journal’s D11 conference yesterday, Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something to be proud of, saying the jury’s out on who will win - Apple, Android/Samsung... …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usually when execs make comments like that when they leave it's because they still have stock or stock options there.

    1. SuccessCase

      Actually, listening to him speak, I was surprised by how low level he sounded. He didn't talk numbers, he didn't talk financials, he didn't talk like someone who meaningfully owned the product definition. He sounded like an experienced senior product manager or head-of-product, who has spent so long navigating company politics he can no longer think outside the spun version of "reality" he has chosen to inhabit. Ironically if he had just provided some acknowledgement the crown has slipped and MS have to fight to get it back, he would have been able command much more authority and sound like the executive at the high level he actually inhabited. But no, in his version of "reality" all is roses. He was speaking to the audience like they were employees at a company convention who by virtue of being employees have to submit to the management principle you should only be allowed to look forward to positive outcomes, not backwards to the negative. This was not a business event. It was a chat, a chance to reminisce, an opportunity to relate to the world some of what it was like for him to work at Microsoft. At no point, did I feel we were hearing what he really thinks. There is a lot of value in the principle of looking to the positive when it is applied authentically and by a realist, but often and by Sinofsky, it was used to avoid acknowledging the Elephant rampaging about the room.

      Right there, I thought, is MIcrosoft's problem. In a big company you end up with division of ownership along political lines and that results in political speak and the need to commit huge energy to get any job done. I wanted to shake him and say, "it's OK to criticise some aspects of the company. It's ok to say the innovators dilemma is a harder deal at Microsoft because, just look at the history, understandably we have a sacred cow." We get it that that places some very tricky constraints on product development at Microsoft. I don't see him as weak because he couldn't overhaul that after all it's pretty clear to the world only Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer can sign-off on truly radical departures from the status quo.

      1. SuccessCase

        Above, meant to say "this was not a MS business event", as of course the D conference is a business event.

      2. Bob Vistakin
        FAIL

        So, on a brighter note...

        Let's see how the new, shiny, improved Windows 8 is doing when compared to that evil crappy old nasty who's name no Microsoft exec is even allowed to utter: Vista. Oh dear...

    2. henrydddd
      Linux

      From my point of view, I think that he was absolutely right. Of course, I use and support Linux.

  2. Mr Spock

    A pedant writes...

    A 'sabbatical' is when someone is given (paid or unpaid) leave from their job in order to pursue something else (usually research) for a (usually) fixed period of time, after which they return to their job.

    Therefore, Sinofsky is not on sabbatical. He is unemployed.

    1. Prowler
      Alien

      Re: A pedant writes... <--- perfect!

      " Therefore, Sinofsky is not on sabbatical. He is unemployed. "

      Not only that, he left on a Monday in time to shake up the stock market. No-one "plans" an exit for a Monday, especially the Monday the week prior to the long Thanksgiving holiday ( which is a perfect opportunity to bury a bad news story ). No, Sinofsky and Ballmer most likely had it out and either he quit on the spot or was fired and escorted out of the building. People in his important and high position never do this. They have transitions with overlap to ease the replacement into the job. If he left on good terms it would have been pre-announced.

      So he is at the very least fibbing. The question is why there is no real journalism anymore? Where is Thurrott and his so-called sources? Why hasn't he snagged an interview?

      Sinofsky was the Windows Destroyer-in-Chief. If you participated in that sham of a blog you already know this. If you did not you should understand that he would answer a small handful of fluff comments from MetroTards ( "Hey Steve, love the new colors, any chance we'll get some more?" ), while ducking the overwhelming criticism and deleting many others. When the Start Button went away in beta2 ( the CP ) and then Aero Glass *after* beta3 ( the RP ) but *before* the RTM ( the release ) comments were especially harsh and he ignored it all ( even having one of his servants do the Aero announcement ). I have never seen anything so arrogant and disrespectful done to their beloved customers, or to anyone else for that matter.

      Steven Sinofsky, Architect of the Metro Matrix!

      http://i.imgur.com/llIaLfO.jpg

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: A pedant writes... <--- perfect!

        "while ducking the overwhelming criticism and deleting many others"

        So a follower of the Orlowski school of.... bein a dick

        you wouldn't have thought it possible but I like him less!

      2. kb
        Unhappy

        Re: A pedant writes... <--- perfect!

        Well friend if the rumors are true (and please do take into account they ARE rumors, no way to get the full story unless you are one of the participants in these things) then the reason Sinofsky was kicked out the door was NOT because he wanted any of this tripe, quite the opposite in fact as he wanted to make Win 8 the Win98SE to Win 7s Win98, it was BALLMER who rammed all this through and when Sinofsky finally got fed up and said "Fix this or I'm out" Ballmer told him to walk.

        Considering the evidence such as him being given the boot on a Monday and how while his speeches on the run up to Win 7 were obviously written by him and tech heavy the speeches he gave on the run up to Win 8 were written by marketing and nothing but buzzword bingo (seriously watch one of his Win 8 speeches and take a shot every time he says touchscreen or touch and you'll pass out before the halfway point) I tend to believe this version as it makes the most sense with the known evidence we have. Ballmer has been pushing Apple Clones for more than half a decade like Zune and Kin and Zune Market, ALL failures I might add, while the work done by Sinofsky up to Win 8 didn't show any leaning in that direction, Its really not hard to see whose sweaty fingerprints are all over the design of Win 8.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    '....his blog Learning by shipping.'

    Maybe, given the speculation on those 100 million licenses, he'll change its name to "Learning from unsold returns" soon?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: '....his blog Learning by shipping.'

      Sinofsky and Win 8 shipping? I've been surfing tumblr too much. This is what came to me first when I read that:

      1. shipping

      A term used to describe fan fictions that take previously created characters and put them as a pair. It usually refers to romantic relationships, but it can refer platonic ones as well. (Just think of "shipping" as short for "relationSHIP".)

      Sinofsky and Win 8 shipping?... EWWW! I'm off to bleach my brain now!

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: '....his blog Learning by shipping.'

        "1. shipping

        A term used to describe fan fictions that take previously created characters and put them as a pair. It usually refers to romantic relationships, but it can refer platonic ones as well. (Just think of "shipping" as short for "relationSHIP".)"

        I did not know this.

        "Sinofsky and Win 8 shipping?."

        I have not felt this bad since an old web search inadvertently threw up a detailed description of the term "furry"

  4. K Silver badge
    Megaphone

    He's happy...

    So am I, happy that he left that is..

    One down, now we just Steve "teflon" Ballmer to go..

  5. Jabberwolf
    Devil

    Thank god hes out !!

    Sinofsky is probably the single most obvious reason Windows 8 sales sucked.

    I understand that there needed to be 1 interface but he had a retarded mental block when it came to use case scenarios - mainly business which is the mainstay of Microsoft.

    He though of himself as a hipster and yuppie and tried to be like Google and Apple and failed.

    All Windows 8 needed was its start button back, (for office and desktop use), a shared favorites page between the metro and desktop IE, a simple shut down button, and oh, add flash to the metro IE.

    A few simple things that would make windows 8 an easy choice, with choice, to bounce between tablet and desktop function. So simple, yet he failed so hard at it. Next time LISTEN TO YOUR USER BASE AND USE CASE SCENARIOS !! The users have to adopt it, don't make it painful, simply make things optional and you'll keep the old and gain the new !!

    1. vmistery

      Re: Thank god hes out !!

      @Jabberwolf for head of Windows division!

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Thank God he's out !!

      "I understand that there needed to be 1 interface..."

      False *. No more than the 'need' to force everyone to use the same user interface language, or other localizations. It's called Consumer Choice - ignore it and we'll ignore your products.

      (* Provided that they also provide a quick and easy way to switch between the various interface choices so that the IT Support hired help can issue one command to reinstate the normal default scheme.)

      1. Jabberwolf
        Devil

        Re: Thank God he's out !!

        Let me reiterate JeffyPooh:

        They want one interface (eventually one common OS) for all of their products.

        computer, laptop, tablet, Phone, .. even Xbox. This would make a seamless bounce from one device to another and keep all their services the same with one login.

        I know that's what their end goal is - but the "desktop" interface is going to be there for quite a long time. That was my point. They want to give users a common interface and probably OS, but they have to allow the users to choose to move to it, not force, and give them a choice.

        Again, gain the new and keep the old. Otherwise they piss off the old base and put off the new customer base with what they were doing.

    3. Johan Bastiaansen
      Happy

      Re: Thank god hes out !!

      "Next time LISTEN TO YOUR USER BASE AND USE CASE SCENARIOS !!"

      You don't understand, I'm so precious, I'm so smart. I just have to make the non-obvious choice. That's what makes me special. And it gives me grabbing rights ! ! !

      The moron is obviously still in denial.

    4. Pookietoo

      Re: simply make things optional

      The changes aren't about making Windows a better desktop tool, they're about MSFT trying to leverage their desktop presence to gain market share with mobile devices. A problem with this tactic (apart from not owning the rights to "Metro", making ugly difficult interfaces that users complain about, annoying hardware partners by associating the software launch with own-brand hardware, advertising campaigns that leave the public wondering "what was that about?") is that the PC business was feeling a bit fragile already ...

    5. kb
      Windows

      Re: Thank god hes out !!

      I'm sorry friend but as a small PC shop owner I can tell you that all that? Really wouldn't have saved Win 8.

      There is several flaws with Win 8 and metro is but one, the way the design makes assumptions, such as how it thinks the users need ZERO context or explanation, not even mouse overs to let them know what this or that does, its "We are all artsy fartsy!" attitude of making elements that makes it damned hard to tell at a glance what is clickable and what isn't, and the reason I won't carry it in my shop "refresh my PC" which I am convinced was put in there as they had a serious corruption issue they just weren't able to pin down so they stuck that in there as a CYA.

      I can tell you that since Win 7 reached RTM I have yet to have to reinstall Win 7 that wasn't either caused by malware infection or hardware failure but I've had waaay too many people paying me to "refresh their PC" thanks to Win 8 shitting itself and them not being comfortable with the procedure. As to the why I can't tell you, I have a theory that its the bolted on nature of TIFKAM and the way its constantly updating all its tweeting twitting crud in the background, probably with a good dose of MSFT's beloved hamfisted DRM, but that is just a theory.

      In any case i can tell you that Win 8 is NOT "just Win 7 with TIFKAM" because many of those problems, including the refresh issue, still remain even if you restore the start menu or even replace the shell completely with something like Astonshell. any way you slice it Win 8 is simply a bad design and like Vista I seriously doubt it can be salvaged, and I predict Win 8.1 will be the first double flop in the history of MSFT. No wonder Acer is bragging about 12% of their income coming from Chromebooks, they like most of the OEMs are looking for the exit to get away from TIFKAM.

  6. Miek
    Linux

    "I was right to kill the Start button" -- He seems confident.

    1. Redsyrup
      Go

      What many don't understand is the 'Start' Button is still there. It's now a hot point in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. It appears when you move the mouse cursor to that corner. When you click it the 'Start' Menu it takes over the entire screen.

      Windows 8 also boots to the 'Start' Menu. After using the product for a few days it makes sense. I think it was a good design choice and I'm a little disappointed they're reverting to the old ways with SP1. I'm hoping we can get Windows 8 deployed at our company before SP1 is released so our users get a chance to enjoy the new UI.

      1. Pookietoo

        re: the 'Start' Button is still there

        It's not just the button that people want, but the hierarchical rearrangeable start menu interface. The one that's no good for touch devices.

        1. MacGyver
          Megaphone

          Re: re: the 'Start' Button is still there

          "It's not just the button that people want, but the hierarchical re-arrangeable start menu interface. The one that's no good for touch devices." -Pookietoo

          Not only that, but the control panel is a mess, and networking has been redesigned to be used only by children.

          BTW, the "fix" in Windows 8.1 for the Start button just screams that Microsoft still isn't listening so here I go again, "We don't want a big screen of things you think we should see, we want a proper hierarchical menu of everything that should be there!"

          Why can't they grasp the concept that we are not too stupid to find the start button, it's that their replacement is not useful. A monkey knows that clicking on the ugly windows icon on the right will open up some stupid App search window, at which point you can now start typing what you think the developer has decided to name their program, and yes 99% of the time you will see your choice pop up, but the problem is that this by far the slowest most inaccurate way of launching a program (doubled by the fact that a tablet device doesn't have a keyboard, and will proceed to take up half your screen with a virtual one at this point). With a menu system, you see EVERYTHING, so if the vendor decided to name his calculator program "A.D.D.4 Fun", you will see it in the list, not only that, but you will see any help files and extra links the vendor has installed with it. The original way may not be that best possible way to do this function, but the new way is not better, it is in fact much worse by a factor of 10.

          It was designed to be used by the lowest user level they could think of, and they gave no thought to how anyone outside of that skill level would like it. Otherwise known as a bad design.

  7. hplasm Silver badge
    FAIL

    He killed the Start Button.

    But he didn't make sure it was dead, and just like in the movies, it came back and killed him.

    1. FrankAlphaXII
      Thumb Up

      Re: He killed the Start Button.

      So basically its "Kill Steve" Volumes 1 & 2.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: He killed the Start Button.

        So basically its "Kill Steve" Volumes 1 & 2.

        Which Steve?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He killed the Start Button.

          It doesn't matter. Kill one Steve and another Steve will replace him. It's Steves all the way down.

        2. Rumournz

          Re: He killed the Start Button.

          the wrong one

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

    When you install Windows 7 on a PC you'll have, well, Windows 7 obviously. In all it's glory.

    When you install it on a laptop on the other hand you too have Windows 7, yet with some extra functionality which is specific for laptop usage. Things like presentation mode, those aren't available on the PC (but can be activated by hacking the registry).

    It makes me wonder why Microsoft didn't extend on this? Microsoft obviously wants one solution to rule all markets. I don't think it's smart, but alas.

    And Metro as a stand alone environment isn't all that bad IMO, I use it on my phone and actually like it there. But it becomes totally different on a desktop (without touch hardware), it's also a reason why I dislike Windows 8 with a passion.

    They had an architecture which could provide functionality based on hardware; it really boggles me that they didn't use this for touch based equipment. You know: you work with the classic keyboard / mouse and you get a start menu. You work with a touch screen and you get the Metro start screen.

    And for the die hards who have A but also want B: you can hack the registry and tune the stuff yourself.

    Microsoft should really learn to give the users what they want (and optionally give them even more) instead of trying to continue to dictate the market what's best for them. Because more and more does it become apparent that if they keep this up then people may actually stop buying into Microsoft desktops alltogether.

    1. CaptainHook

      Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

      Getting Users to use Metro is only part of the issue, they needed Developers to make Metro apps as well.

      There are approximately 1 gazillion non-touch PC/Laptop based Windows installations out there and about 100 metro touch installations. If the developers aren't forced to develop for the new UI they wouldn't bother because it makes no economic sense for them.

      I'm sure in the back of their crazy little minds they were hoping forcing Metro on everything makes Windows mobile development more attractive because even if the code can't run directly on mobile hardware the UI restrictions will already have been taken into account.

      1. breakfast

        Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

        Of course the new Metro-based monochrome styles of Visual Studio 2012 makes life as a Windows developer far harder than it needs to be, so it turns out that they are actively making it more difficult to develop for the new Windows UI.

        1. jmk89
          Happy

          Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

          "Of course the new Metro-based monochrome styles of Visual Studio 2012 makes life as a Windows developer far harder than it needs to be, so it turns out that they are actively making it more difficult to develop for the new Windows UI."

          Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 has an extra theme, which restores the appearance of 2010, makes my life slightly easier!

      2. revdjenk
        Joke

        Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

        I've told you a "gazillion" times to not exaggerate!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

      It's a classic case of Microsoft wanting to get into a market and feeling that the only way for the "touch" interface to become accepted is to make it the default and make it hard to avoid.

      Which when it comes to a pure desktop machine is a bit difficult to use. Nobody with a tablet seems to be complaining.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

      Microsoft should really learn to give the users what they want (and optionally give them even more) instead of trying to continue to dictate the market what's best for them.

      Microsoft is doing exactly that...when 'them' == Microsoft.

      Oh, you mean when 'them' == users? Silly ShelLuser...

    4. Johan Bastiaansen

      Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

      No, it's YOU who doesn't understand how a very big ego can simply overwhelm the brain. This guy probably had a whole layer of clueless people to shield him from the truth and the harsh reality of the world out there, whose sole purpose was to tell him how smart he was and that everybody who didn't agree with him "simply didn't get it".

      So now he's all alone on his own little planet. Kinda sad really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When you look at it it's actually pretty stupid...

        The function of a VP's staff has always been to protect the VP from awkward contact with reality, so that they can wield power without said VP finding out. The problem comes when the VP gets to make decisions.

    5. Quxy
      Facepalm

      Why "should" Microsoft learn to give the users what they want?

      Unless your stock portfolio or income depends upon Microsoft's financial success, why worry?

      Microsoft never gave the users what they wanted in the past, but for a variety of reasons their products became widespread in office and consumer environments, and users lived with what they were given. Now that users have more choices on their new devices, let *them* decide. It's hard to imagine that many users or IT professionals will be shedding tears over Microsoft's failure to dominate the personal computing market the way they did a decade ago.

  9. Turtle

    Right And Right. Or Right And Wrong. Or Wrong And Right.

    "Former Microsoft Windows chief: I was right to kill the Start button"

    And Microsoft was right to fire him.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Right And Right. Or Right And Wrong. Or Wrong And Right.

      Yet Windows 8.1's UI is still a dog's breakfast.

      What's going on inside Microsoft? Anyone know?

      1. Mike Brown

        Re: Right And Right. Or Right And Wrong. Or Wrong And Right.

        Not even Microsoft know that answer, is supect thats the main problem.

  10. Jonathan 29

    wise words

    In closing Ubuntu's bug #1 ('Microsoft has majority share') Mark Shuttleworth said the following:

    'it's better for us to focus our intent on excellence in our own right, rather than our impact on someone else's product.'

    If Microsoft could adopt the same philosophy I think we would all benefit.

    1. John Sanders
      Mushroom

      Re: wise words

      They will not do it, no one on the IT industry does it any more, and the few companies who do not engage in copying each other's farts, engage in patent trolling.

      The IT industry is bollocks lately.

    2. Daleos

      Re: wise words

      Except. Ubuntu Unity is also a complete dogs dinner. So much so, my home laptop is now running Mint.

      (Main home desktop still on Windows 7 and have absolutely no intention of moving, work laptop on Windows 8 because I need to be able to teach other suckers who fell into the trap how to use it).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wise words

      Says the guy who is trying to produce alternatives to iTunes and many other things Apple does.

  11. El Andy

    Sales = Money, surely?

    "there is absolutely no correlation between licences sold and devices actually in the hands of users."

    But there is a direct correlation between licences sold and cash going to Microsoft, right? Why should they care about anything else?

    1. nuked

      Re: Sales = Money, surely?

      I should imagine that the licenses have been purchased 'on account'.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Sales = Money, surely? (@ nuked)

        "I should imagine that the licenses have been purchased 'on account'."

        And if they weren't purchased on account, the next batch of licenses surely will.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Sales = Money, surely?

      They care because no one is going to buy more until they use all the ones they already bought.

  12. Piro

    He was wrong.

    However, there are a lot of people who have managed to convince themselves that it was the right decision. I swear there are always people that say CHANGE-X IS THE BEST THING, even if it was stupid. Conversely, there are those who always say CHANGE-Y IS HORRIBLE where it may be something useful but misunderstood.

    Ultimately all we want and expect are OPTIONS to change the system to our preference. If that means we want to keep using it as we always have, it should be available. It shouldn't stop progress - rather, OPTIONS should be key in allowing progress - because you can thrust your new ideas in whilst still keep the old guard happy, and eventually they may soften and change an option check out the new thing. However, piss everyone off, and your new features have tiny exposure.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: He was wrong.

      Ultimately we want drama-free IT products that aren't time-sucking black holes of ultimate fail.

      In most industries 'professional' means a product that makes your life easier by doing what you need, with all the options you want and a minimum of fuss.

      In IT 'professional' means marketing have been broken into the cleaning cupboard again, and you can't expect any sense from them until the fumes wear off from whatever the fuck they've been snorting in there.

      1. Adam 1

        Re: He was wrong.

        I think you will find it is TIME-SUCKING BLACK HOLES OF ULTIMATE FAIL!!!

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Still on message then

    Probably hoping to be asked back when Mr Balmer is ousted.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu Bug#1

    I guess he had not yet read about Ubuntu's closing of Bug #1.

  15. Don Jefe
    Stop

    Disruptive

    Fashionable execs have woefully understood 'disruptive' as it applies most products/services.

    Disruptive in the buzzword sense means to destabilize entrenched interests enough that an opportunity exists to slip into through the gaps and become entrenched yourself. It is a strategy.

    Disruptive in the venacular sense can be summarized as a chaotic, anarchic situation in which no advantage can be planned and only happens by chance. Entrenched interests rarely benefit from causing disruption.

    In their rush to be cool many execs confuse the two. Sinofsky is an excellent example of one who is confused.

    1. croc

      Re: Disruptive

      Good for rats, bad for dinosaurs... Cockroaches don't even notice.

  16. triceratops triceps

    Iraq?!

    what's with the Iraq reference? completely unjustified and unnecessary.

    1. Fading
      Holmes

      Re: Iraq?!

      Have an upvote for answering your own question......

      1. asdf Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Iraq?!

        Wow burn of the week. Love the wit you at least find in the posters on El Reg.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iraq?!

      No, it makes the link with the dickswinging mentality that is the worst thing the US keeps inflicting on itself.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Iraq?!

      Whatever happens, don't mention the Iraq War!

  17. tylab

    What the heck is this communities problem with windows 8? Yes, all the points in this article are valid but a passionate hatred of windows 8 comes through pretty clear. Have any of you used windows 8 on a touch screen laptop such as the Lenovo Yoga? Its got issues an OS from apple would never have, but its a new, different, and awesome operating system. #rantover

    1. David Hicks
      Stop

      It's part of the new trend of forcing people to change the way they work because of your artistic 'vision', rather than actually helping people work better.

      It forces people like my parents to relearn the interface, and dear god did it take long enough to get them to the comfort zone they were in. It forces people like me to relearn how to find programs and operate the machine.

      The interface just sucks, sorry. That's why it's hated, because it's awful and it causes all sorts of trouble and extra work.

      1. Redsyrup

        Is it that hard to move your mouse cursor to the bottom left hand corner of the screen? Like magic you have your Start Button back.

        1. J__M__M

          Is it that hard to move your mouse cursor to the bottom left hand corner of the screen?

          Not hard, just stupid.

          1. Belardi

            Re: Is it that hard to move your mouse cursor to the bottom left hand corner of the screen?

            Yep... its very stupid to hide a button... a visual clue. Considering how much space Metro/Win 8 wastes.

            It is the stupidity of Windows8 that makes me NOT have confidence in Microsoft. A lot of bad ideas.

        2. Pookietoo

          Is it that hard to move your mouse cursor to the bottom left hand corner

          Apparently it can be if you're running a remote desktop or VM.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        @David Hicks

        It forces people like my parents to relearn the interface,

        Hint : Mint.

        I've found a lot of older people have no trouble with, and many even enjoy Mint 14 KDE. Said it before but it does my heart good (and pisses my boss off no end) when they ask why no one told them that their computer could be so easy to use!

        1. David Hicks
          Linux

          Re: @David Hicks

          Cool. I am definitely a linux guy but have held off recommending it to parents. Perhaps I will in future, but this time round it's too late -

          I was at Dad's place yesterday and his hatred of the Win 8 machine he bought recently has turned him to the Apple side, there was a shiny new Mac sat on the desk in his study. Apparently "it's a bit different but it seems to work well", a contrast from the Win 8 experience - "I can't do anything with this stupid machine".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Forced Change

      If MS had provided different Windows Shells which start based on use I don't think people woud have a problem. But they forced Metro on desktop users in order to gain marketshare, large touch screen buttons are irratating.

      Making things worse is the Metro/Desktop shell integration makes it harder to find anything, 7 helped improved the consistency and logic of the menu options (Vista was more of a mix of XP style and Vista). It makes the whole operating system seem half baked, KDE 4.10 now seems more polished than Windows.

      KDE demonstrates how a desktop environment should work, different devices have different "Plasma Workspaces". There are Desktop, Laptop, Netbook and I believe a Mobile workspace and these try to reshape to suit your needs. This approach by MS would have been incredible, as it stands I've put on openSuse on a couple of Windows 8 (non touch) laptops because people prefer the "windows 7" style and the charm bar keeps getting in the way for them.

      I would have rather had MS go through all applications and apply the ribbon, sort out all applications/options so they work the same and are organised. Than any other change they did.

    3. Miek
      Linux

      "Have any of you used windows 8 on a touch screen laptop" -- I have tried both a "touchy feely" incarnation along with mouse and keyboard derivations and have come to the conclusion that Windows 8 is good at neither touch nor mouse use. It's either a PITA to use as a touch device (I yearned for a keyboard) or a PITA to use with a mouse.

      1. h3

        RE: Miek

        The thing is Windows 8 works just fine using a keyboard. (And a mouse as little as possible only in specific apps).

        windows key + x (Most of the stuff that was buried in the start menu)

        or

        windows key + q (Search charm)

        I don't use any of the metro stuff other than the mail app.

        (I have given up even looking in the Windows Store everything is like stuff that is annoying on a phone or Android tablet). It might be ok if you have Windows 8 supported media devices.

        along with hitting the windows key and typing the app name (Which is what I used in Windows 7 sometimes but not as much as I do now. But if I go back to Windows 7 I use it all the time because it is better).

        The most annoying thing for me is setting border padding to 0 (Which really should be the default other than as an accessibility option) needs a registry hack.

      2. Belardi

        Yep.... like on a touch notebook... there is no Startbutton to press. You are supposed to know how to swipe... because pressing is so hard....

        I think Win8 is not a great touch UI either... hence, new Win8 standard hot-keys on the keyboard.... which kind of defeats the purpose of an "easier touch UI"... DUH!

    4. breakfast

      A touchscreen laptop for Win 8

      If I wanted to spend enough to get a touchscreen laptop to run Windows 8 on, I might as well buy Apple.

    5. Philip Lewis
      Mushroom

      Yes, I have used Windows8 (in its WindowsServer2012 guise).

      Yes, it is awful. It is fucking awful in so many ways that it defies enumeration.

      Also, no one here, incl me, gives a rats arse about whether Windows8 on a tablet is OK or not. A lot of us here work in high level technical positions and Windows is the de jour interface we are stuck with whether we like it or not. The fact that it is now a direct factor in how effectively we can perform our jobs is of serious interest to us, and the people who pay us.

      Windows8 on a workstation is a fucking disaster. end of.

  18. John Styles

    I cannot help think of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    N/T

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Stephen Channell
    FAIL

    QWERTY

    QWERTY keyboards were designed to slow-down typing and reduce catching in manual keyboards.. even through the layout has been redundant for 50 years, we still use it because of momentum, and all replacements have failed.. It’s the same with the start-button.

    What Sinofsky fails to understand is that he’s not Stalin.. he can’t stop a “start button”, he only stopped Microsoft doing a “start button”, at some point Google will do a “chrome start” button, and they’ll back-peddle like mad..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: QWERTY

      I thought that particular urban myth had been put to rest a long time ago...

    2. h3

      Re: QWERTY

      The layout is not really redundant. It is still reasonably efficient to type using two hands. And the keyboard is far more efficient than using a mouse or touchscreen for almost all uses.

      The real productivity increase you get is from focus follows mouse (No autoraise). That in particular is so useful. (If there was something similar that I could get from using a different layout keyboard then I would go for it).

      Most of the parts of Microsoft that affect me are pretty good. (I don't use an xbox or metro apps). Google on the other hand is constantly doing stuff that affects me in a negative manner. (Following the Facebook mentality).

  21. DrXym Silver badge

    I really don't see why they took out the start button, or why they can't have a compact mini-metro that replaces the old start menu.

    Microsoft are starting to blog about 8.1 and so far I haven't see the slightest indication that the clue has sunk in. It's all about "continuing the vision" without first "fixing the vision". Metro is fine for tablets, but it's lacking functionality that desktop users need. They appear to be reinstating a button on the taskbar, but what about the menu. They also appear to be making the start button open the all apps view, but what about opening a mini launcher which doesn't swallow up the whole screen? What about being able to zoom out the tiles, or group them properly? What about multiple selection options, and sort tiles functionality?

    It just seems like they're not listening and hope by the time they pull their fingers out their arses we'll all be using touchscreens and grateful for it.

    1. Belardi

      I'm not waiting.... I've already started going to Linux.

  22. brother451
    Thumb Down

    Speaking as a user interface designer who has worked over the last 20 years on software and web interfaces; I can safely say this guy was right to be let go.

    He may have been correct in removing the Start button; however, he was completely wrong not to replace it with a visual, on screen method for reaching the start screen. Likewise he was insanely misguided and showed incredible levels of incompetence in his field to release an interface where simple things like closing apps also have no visual indicators.

    Knowing full well that users may not always be on a Windows tablet that has a Start button, he should have planned to have one shown on the UI when the user was not operating a keyboardless environment. He did not remove the start button from the tablet. It is there when you use a Windows RT device and in close visual proximity to the screen.

    The Window key on a keyboard is not anywhere near the screen. It's a cop out to say that users should know to press it to reach the start screen.

    Windows 8 is a complete and total UI and best practices disaster.

    (clipped slightly by moderator)

    1. Miek
      Linux

      "Likewise he was insanely misguided and showed incredible levels of incompetence in his field to release an interface where simple things like closing apps also have no visual indicators" - Totally agree with you there ... I ended up using Alt-F4 to close those pesky Metro Apps

      1. JC_

        "Likewise he was insanely misguided and showed incredible levels of incompetence in his field to release an interface where simple things like closing apps also have no visual indicators"

        There's obviously a lot wrong with Windows 8, but this is one of the things that they got right. Metro-style applications aren't really meant to be shut down. As they're light-weight, you just leave them in their idle state. Closing them is unnecessary and it's a better experience overall to let the OS worry about managing resources. Geeks, of course, hate giving up control!

        As for the gesture (swipe down), well, they had to come up with something and that works very nicely on touch-screens. Not so great on non-touch-screens, but point A about it being unecessary makes that moot.

        1. h3

          RE: JC_

          The gesture is not a problem seen as alt + f4 is still like it used to be.

          It would be less of a problem if that screen didn't come up when it was not needed (i.e moving from one monitor to another.)

          If one monitor could be permanently dedicated to metro stuff with the rest left alone (Which may come in 8.1) that won't be an issue either.

          All I want is the OS to not actively hinder what I am doing. I would keep them open if I didn't accidently get the full strip of open metro apps that you cannot go past when I am just trying to move from one screen to another.

        2. brother451

          I get what you're saying here. Similar to Android you don't have to close an app. That seems fair at first blush, however...

          The thing is, on Android this is true for ALL apps. On Windows 8 there is a very confusing dichotomy that is put forth. In one area, you are supposed to close apps via a close button, and in the other you aren't supposed to close them, however there is a way to close them, it's just not made obvious.

          So users search the web for "how to close apps on windows 8" and find out they can. This sends the mixed message that you are supposed to close apps, since they have allowed you to do so. You just don't do it using a little X icon the way you do everywhere else, and it's not explained anywhere that you don't need to.

          If they intended for Metro to co-exist with the desktop experience, they need to create a solid set of common controls that work across the environments. Not doing this creates a functional mess that doesn't rely on muscle memory the way it should.

          Like I said earlier. It's a complete and total UI disaster designed by amateurs. I'm not being mean here, just being honest. The first time I saw it I thought to myself "looks like they outsourced the UI to an agency."

          The whole thing smacks of a team lead that just had no experience in this area. To the layman you might say it's subjective and hem and haw. But after doing this work for as long as I have, I look at it the same way that an architect would look at a building where the 1st floor is made of styrofoam and the 2nd is made of lead. You simply don't do things like that.

    2. h3

      Re: brother451

      I don't see why that is necessary.

      There is a physical key on the keyboard that brings the same thing up straight away.

      The way it is it the moment it is annoying to use the mouse which makes it sensible to just use the key which is the best way.

      There is very few so called experts on best practice who do anything whatsoever to benefit me.

      Powershell has a great ui (Replace the rest of the taskbar with a 2 line powershell would work for me improve it so it works for window management).

      All the so called usability experts seem to do is make stuff more of a pita for me to use.

      Don't see why you need an on screen start button when there is one on your keyboard.

      The best user interfaces for me are when the CLI is the prime focus.

      It is offensive when anyone pretends to know what is the best thing to do for everyone.

      For unskilled users from what I have seen they are faster using old telnet type interfaces for form entry than web interfaces.

      web interfaces (other than the new outlook.com) don't seem to use the right mouse button for common commands which is an obvious thing to do for me.

      Maybe you are one of those people who makes things great for everyone but it seems unlikely. (I prefer text never pictures in UI's I can always remember what the function is after using it the first time I can never work out what the silly pictures are supposed to be. I prefer black background green or grey text).

      Windows 8 overall has not made things worse for me in any noticable way almost every case when something has switched from a dedicated application to a web interface has been made much worse for me. Stuff like whether tab goes to the next input position in a sane manner.

      There is odd marvels of user interface design - the z shell (zsh) / powershell / gnu screen (verticle split might be nice) / emacs / Xmonad.

      (I don't like colour in UI's either really so for me the new Visual Studio is an improvement).

      Best for who that is what annoys me. (Best Practices from UI designers almost always means worse for me.)

      1. brother451

        Re: brother451

        That's unfortunate that you've had that experience. There are a lot of would be "experts" who aren't these days.

        "Don't see why you need an on screen start button when there is one on your keyboard."

        A good reason you would need it is that most users would not know to press the windows button to open the start menu. Very few users of Windows 7 know that you can press that button to make the start menu appear. I have witnessed this myself during user testing of apps in Windows environments. They tend to opt for using the on-screen menu as that is what they are looking at.

        A great UI will give users visual cues that help them understand what to do or that functionality exists in a certain area. In Windows 7 for example, there is a windows icon on the task bar that opens the start menu. That icon matches the icon on my keyboard. That visual cue let's users know that the two items are related. Even so, many users still don't discover that nuance.

        Now fast forward to Windows 8. There is no visual cue at all. No cue that there is a charms bar, no cue that there is a start menu, no cue that you swipe downwards on metro apps to close them. In short, if you don't have a manual for this OS, or you are a geek that likes to read blogs, you're not going to be doing much of anything on Windows 8 with any level of ease.

        This is why the OS flopped. This is why they are putting back the start button. I don't think they'd do that, and make such an embarrassing admission, if it wasn't important.

        1. Belardi

          Re: brother451

          "A great UI will give users visual cues that help them understand what to do or that functionality "

          That is why Win8 sucks... no visual clues. And its like they forgot WHY they made the RIBBON interface to begin with. They took the functions out of the menus (hidden) and put them on the ribbon bar... so people can SEE they have features.

        2. Philip Lewis
          Paris Hilton

          Re: brother451

          pip pi. Exactly!

          Win8 is a user interface that is completely intuitive, once you know how to use it - sic!

          Paris: For her, no user manual is required

  23. Smallbrainfield
    WTF?

    It makes no sense to this user to upset your core...

    ... business with something that only really satisfies one form factor.

    That form factor being the one the majority of your users are not working with.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tell you what though

    That is one boring blog he's written.

  25. fishman
    Joke

    Windows 8 helped PC sales

    That is, it helped sales of any PC running Windows 7.

  26. billy no mates

    every little helps

    This also helps Linux as well.

    what with IDE environments like Cinnamon and mate, peopel will be tempted to jump ship.

    i.e. if your standard base operating system has changed and no one wants to use it then there are alternatives that people will look at

    1. The_Regulator

      Yeah because ma and pa are really going to start using Linux due to win 8 fail. Keep dreaming!!

  27. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something

    If the copy shops in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh can't sell Win 8 for a dollar a copy, then you know you have a loser.

    Check PirateBay downloads, Win 8 is a dog.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something

      Ultimate consumer research agency!

    2. Daniel B.
      Pirate

      Re: Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something

      The Mexico City pirate salesmen are doing pretty well with win7 pirated copies. Guess why?

    3. Belardi

      Re: Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something

      Actually you are WRONG. What Microsoft succeeded in doing is producing an Operating System that nobody wants to Pirate.

      That was their plan all along.... and it worked!

  28. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Coat

    "Learning by shipping" !!??

    I hope this doesn't involve slash fiction and Steve.

  29. Raz

    Learning by shipping

    I did not read his blog, but the title is so amateurish... Who in their right mind in the software industry is using learning by shipping as something to be proud of? You do focus groups, you do use cases. Of course you will learn something from production, but man, to put that as a motto is terrible.

    1. The_Regulator

      So you didn't read his blog and yet your qualified to say it sucks....have you ever heard of the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover?"

      1. Raz

        No, I only said that the title sucks.

    2. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Learning by shipping

      I think Sinofsky is an ass. However he does have a point about learning by shipping. The market will tell you when you've made a mistake and if you are quick enough to accept and correct your mistake everything will be fine (usually). The problem here is that MS is not listening to the market, not accepting or addressing their mistake and they are getting, rightfully, hammered for it.

      1. Epobirs

        Re: Learning by shipping or just ignoring

        The problem is they shipped two beta version that were installed by millions of people, got tons of negative response and a lot of suggestions on what needed to change. And ignored all of it.

        How much negative response did their need to be to tell them they had a problem on their hands? There was certainly enough to clue Sinofsky in he was never going to lead the company after this debacle.

        That is just how it is. Expecting most people to learn more is banging your head against a very hard wall. And basing your estimate of how the transition to a new design will go based on a much higher level of user expertise than found in reality is a huge mistake.

        I was able to adjust quickly to Win8 because I was already a fairly expert user on Windows. But I encounter very few users with comparable understanding of the UI outside of IT folks. A vast portion of the user base knows only exactly as much as they need to get by and nothing more, despite how much better their experience could be if a bit of effort were expended in learning.

        The really irksome thing is the arrogance. A lot of the major complaints could have been alleviated with just a few bits of configurability and some minor additions. A tutorial for instance. All the user gets is a screen hinting at the hot corners during the first-time login. This is grossly inadequate. How insignificant of a cost would it have been to hire an outside firm to create an interactive tutorial to ship with the final release. During the betas there were over a dozen simple tutorials and cheat sheets in the app store. Just picking the best of those and adding it to the default install would have made a difference.

        1. Belardi

          Re: Learning by shipping or just ignoring

          And Microsoft deserves to lose market share because they IGNORED all the warnings from those people. It allowed *US* to warn our friends and clients to not buy Windows8. Even to this day, like many others - we are building and selling Windows 7 systems. Only ones who get Win8 are those who go to retail stores/outlets and don't know where/how to get a legit Win7 computer.

          Not listening to your customers is NOT good business. I remember using the *best* wordprocessor for the Amiga (Final Write) that MS-Word wouldn't mostly catch up for many many years. There was a $30 upgrade with free fonts on two floppies. I called the company and talked to the owner of the company (Small tech companies are like that) I asked him a question and told him WHY I can't buy his software anymore. What was the problem with the very GREAT product - that can phonetically spell check in the way that MSWord does NOT?! There wasn't an UNDO function! Imagine accidentally deleting a whole paragraph or pages of text with no way to UNDO?! This was 1991, I've been using a text editor for most of my text needs and it had an undo level of 1000 or something. (To this day, I use a text editor much more than MSWord).

          You know what this owner tells me: "The programmers will code on what they want to work on." WTF?! They make a word processor that is powerful, WYSIWYG, stable, professional - but didn't want to work on the basics! They were more concerned with aREXX and such.... features most people don't use. The upgrade with 100 enhancement and new features were useless to me if there is NO WAY to UNDO!

          Having programmers make products aimed at end-users with programmer-like mentality = failure. This is exactly WHY OpenOffice is STILL substandard to MS-Office 2003 to this very day. I've talked to a few people working on OOo 8+ years ago about the problem. Some agreed... nothing happened. Mind you, OOo is very good... but its Spreadsheet is very lacking and is lack of a mail-client & PIM is very stupid. Yes, there are alternatives... but business minded people want an ALL-in-ONE package that works together. That is where and WHY MS-Office will always kick OpenOffice in balls. Outlook isn't all that great, but there is nothing else like it on the market. And there is nothing keeping Open Office from making their own "Outlook" other than their closed mentality in "I don't need it, why should others". And that is the same with MS with their Start Menu and Metro BS.

          Epobirs said: "I was able to adjust quickly to Win8 because I was already a fairly expert user on Windows. But I encounter very few users with comparable understanding of the UI outside of IT folks. "

          Pat yourself on the back... but that really isn't it. many of us use Windows, iOS and Android every day. Learning how to use an UI isn't and shouldn't be hard. Hell, I grew up using 8bit computers then using the CLI on my Amiga.

          Windows8 is a stupid ugly UI, that is the problem. I learned how to use some of it, I could "master it" if I cared to. But I simply don't like Windows8. There are some good things about it... but nothing I can't live with or could add to Windows 7 such as TeraCopy which is more powerful than Windows 8's copy window.

          MS says that Win8 is designed for Touch... but it does it badly. MS pushes their new standard Windows8 keyboards which include short-cut keys to functions that were simple to get to before... hey, a keyboard is NOT a touch screen! So to get the MOST out of Windows 8's touch UI, you must USE the keyboard to move around and find crap. On touchscreen notebooks, there is no WINDOWS HOME key on the display... back to the keyboard or learn to use some swipe movement. The charms are lame, there is no reason for how they function. Sometimes they slide out when you don't want them too... other times... you have to dig for it or wait for something to happen! It got old. Wait, if you press the Windows-Key + some other key for charms, it pops out right away!! Oh wow! But I was on the mouse before... what was the key command again? Oh, yeah I'm supposed to buy the new $50 Microsoft Windows 8 keyboard to get to Charms easily because of how easy it is to use Windows 8.

          I get why Windows 8 was made for. People were/are not buying WindowsPhones7~8. So IF people got used/forced into Metro on the desktop level, they will LEARN what they are missing from WP7/8!! And I'll be honest, I agreed with that plan. I was using a WP7 UI on my Android phone... I *LOVED IT*. Hell, it did things that WP7/8 don't do. As of today, I'm happy with Android 4.2 as it... Windows 8 made me NOT WANT a WindowsPhone8 device. Yep, I was planning on getting the Nokia 920+ type phone.

          But it didn't work out that way. I used the Win8 Preview for 6 months (I murdered W8 with LinuxMint) The more I used Windows 8, the more I didn't like it. The stupidity of the whole thing. And then on top of that, the nice cleaner AERO Skin on W8Preview was thrown out for the flat-crap we see today. Windows8 in desktop mode is UGLY. It makes Windows XP look modern. I grew up with monochrome computers or 4~16 color desktops on my Amiga... the retro look of Windows8 is not needed. Its kind of okay on a phone... it looks quite nice actually. But on a 20~28" display monitor it looks like shit. Running 2-3 APPS in Win8 Metro is not productive.

          Windows 8 sucks as a desktop OS and as a tablet OS. There was a better way of doing this, they were warned. A company that STUPID deserves to lose and die. And at that point, I decided that Microsoft is simply no longer important in the computer marketplace. As it stands, MS-OS is only on about 24% of the computers in the world (Phones and tablets count as COMPUTERS) - that number was back in Dec 2012... so maybe its now 21%?

          What is it that most people need a computer to do? Facebook, browse web and do Office documents. Any phone can do this today. The only thing left for MS-Windows is a support system for MS-Office. Games? MS-Killed PC gaming, even thou they have some stupid "XBOX GAMES" App for Win8... it doesn't actually play XBOX GAMES! Think of MTV. My future gaming will be the Playstation 4. Microsoft has burnt their bridges... I won't support them anymore. That means NO desktops, no tablets, no phones and no games. My Linux notebook does pretty much everything it needs to do... without Windows. Yet, Linux IS not ready for the masses until we have Intuit, Adobe and a few more companies on board making native Linux software.

          Microsoft will be reduced to a bit player in the computer market place. They made Windows8 for their future in which Metro replaces Windows. They know they are in trouble. It won't be surprising when HP and Dell collapse. Samsung, Lenovo and ASUS will survive as their business doesn't depend on Microsoft.

          In closing to this reply: Learning how to use Linux is EASIER and more useful than bothering with Windows 8 and beyond.

  30. The_Regulator

    They were right to get rid of start menu, wrong not to give an option to enable at least a visual start button for the mass public/noobs.

    Real world or not 100 million licenses sold still = 100 million licenses sold whether they are being used right now or not it's revenue no matter how you look at it.

    Try seeing how many frustrated customers you have distributing any open source os to the mass public. You think people are frustrated by no start button lol, it would be Armageddon if there was no windows xx.xx at this point. Hardware issues, multiple available builds etc etc.

    It is frustrating to watch a good product be chastised based on trivial things like a start menu not being available by default.

    I for one will continue using it with no start button and my wife who barely knows how to use a computer other than the things she does regularly on there (email, internet, music) has had no issue using it without start.

    I await your retorts and down votes eagerly for expressing an opinion that does not match with the majority of users here.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      no need for rants

      What's the point. The wonderful thing about capitalism is the market speaks for itself. Just the fact this guy was let go a few weeks after win8 was released speaks volumes. As had been said many other places the OEMs will take it on the chin first before Microsoft because Microsoft can channel stuff and pull other tricks for quite some time (in addition to being able to rely on other non Win8 products). OEMs however have to shift hardware now or they take it in the crotch. In the next six months you are going to see one of the OEMs report a quarterly loss of the ages after they are no longer able to fidget with the numbers. Just the fact windows 8.1 is in the news months after release also speaks volumes. The only good thing I can see about Win8 for Microsoft is it might finally get rid of Ballmer.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      @The_Regulator

      Try seeing how many frustrated customers you have distributing any open source os to the mass public.

      Each and every day another person comes up to me and asks "Why did no one tell me my computer could be so easy to use?". Constant thanking me for showing them the light, showing them that their computer can be theirs, and it can be fun.

      I give my mobile number out to every person who gets a Mint install with a promise that they can ring 24/7. Not one has called so far.

      You think people are frustrated by no start button lol, it would be Armageddon if there was no windows xx.xx at this point. Hardware issues, multiple available builds etc etc.

      As I've said before. Only one person has any problems with this, and that's my boss. 1) he knows there's lost revenue - we don't see people bringing infected machines in every other week (many thanks to the writers of the "federal police" virus/scam BTW, brings my company a shitload of money!) nor does the hardware fail like it does on windows, and 2) he's a MS fan. People loving their machines, and loving what Linux does for it, all because of Linux pisses him off so much.. It's a joy to behold!

      Hardware issues? You mean like spending hours upon hours upon hours upon hours upon hours trying to find a basic hard disk driver like you have to do so often with windows? Or the sometimes weeks it can take to find a lot of other common basic drivers for windows? Whenever I upgrade a machine with dual-boot, Linux just works with very few exceptions (always when I'm leaving NVidia for something else). Windows? First have 3 days max to find all the different drivers, then have to do the re-activation (after 3 days won't let you boot till you either activate or run a certain command in safe-mode command-prompt.

      Windows is a pain to use compared to many (maybe most) Linux distros out there. Compared to win8, the worst Linux is a piece of piss to use. And yes, I do use 8. I have to. Like all Windows releases, it breaks. Easily and often.

      1. mhenriday
        Pint

        Kiwi, as you seem to reside on the other side of the planet,

        I'm not about to ring you up, but perhaps you could aid me with a (very minor) problem I have with the Cinnamon desktop of Linux Mint 15 and which I haven't been able to find any help for on the Mint fora ? I've not been able to discover how to change the manner in which the date and time are indicated on the login screen - or, for that matter, on the screen which appears when the user has been inactive for a while and the computer requests that a new login be performed. When I log in, for example, I see, «ons maj 29, 19:34» ; I'd like to change this to the customary Swedish order, i e, «ons/onsdag 29 maj 19.34». Any tips ?...

        Henri

        1. Dave Lawton

          Re: Kiwi, as you seem to reside on the other side of the planet,

          Well, I ain't Kiwi, nor am I using the Cinnamon desktop of Linux Mint 15.

          But I suspect that it won't be too dissimilar from the following :-

          Right-click on your digital clock on the desktop

          Pick the option 'Digital Clock Settings'

          Hopefully you will have a 'Date Format' selection box, with an advanced selection (spanner perhaps) button.

          I would expect that to take you to a 'Country/Region & Language' multiple selection window.

          In that 'Date & Time' should provide all the customisation you need.

          HTH

    3. Belardi

      The Start Button is NOT the problem. Its a small part of the many PROBLEMS that is the turd known as Windows8. Like when I built my latest PC with an i5-3570K, I could have used the $40 version of Win8Pro, but went with the $130 Win7Pro. Why? I've had Win8Pro on one of my ThinkPads for months.

      Its an ugly badly designed product that wasn't worth using for free. Windows 8 sucks ass so much, that I put LinuxMint over Windows8 on that computer... Yeah, it ain't Windows... but its far more functional as a desktop computer with Linux.

  31. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    The jury

    Speaking at the Wall St Journal’s D11 conference yesterday, Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something to be proud of, saying the jury’s out on who will win - Apple, Android/Samsung... Microsoft?

    Maybe. But the jury has been in for a while on who loses: That'd be we users.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You godda go when you godda go

    Reminds me of that classic "Ray from Reef radio" Bacardi ad from years back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvurDFSN_cY

  33. Bruce Ordway

    Where is the new Windows for business desktops?

    Where is a new Windows for business?

    I don't have any use for a smartphone interface.

    Instead of "touch", "tiles" and "social media", I want access to more real estate, multiple screens, RDP and VMs.

    The current state of Windows keeps me de-motivated.

    I've been ready to upgrade all my old hardware for well over a year but...

    I want to know I'll have the same systems that client businesses will be using.

    Which is XP, Win7, Windows and Linux servers.

    Nobody I know wants to be on the bleeding edge of this one.

    - Except for a very few enthusiastic IT geeks I know who have been "experimenting" with W8.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Where is the new Windows for business desktops?

      Let me add to that list: An ANSI-compliant C++ compiler. (It'd be a first for them, to be sure, but since we're dreaming....)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As The Reg wrote when Microsoft started touting that 100 million number, and as various analysts’ numbers have proved, there is absolutely no correlation between licences sold and devices actually in the hands of users."

    Also, a Win 8 license is not really a Win 8 license for large clients. A Win 8 license allows Win 7 to be used as well. Since Microsoft is not going to sell a Win 7 license, those clients buy Win 8 licenses instead.

  35. tempemeaty

    The Gates & Ballmer TIFKAM suit shop

    This whole ridiculous Windows 8 situation is beginning to look like "The Emperor's New Clothes." as Microsoft marches naked in procession before everyone.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

    1. Don Jefe
      Stop

      Re: The Gates & Ballmer TIFKAM suit shop

      How is it possible that, what appear to be adults, have become infatuated with The Emperors New Clothes?

      Everybody knows the story (in the States anyway) but in the past year or so it's like a whole generation of people just discovered the story. Do parents not real morality stories to their kids anymore?

  36. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    It's a computer...

    You can easily program "d) All of the above."

  37. Greg 16

    Surface RT

    1 Surface RT device sold for every 20 iPads sold is actually quite impressive considering how bad they are.

    I'd have thought it would be more like 1 for every 100!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    jumping ship

    The average user will not go to linux. I deal with "end users" all the time. Most are not at all technical and want something that most people have and most people know. As techie people we often make the mistake of thinking, "they won't like it and then they go for linux". They just won't. For the average non techie user, linux will be a PITA. They won't know how to do anything, even as simple as installing printers and their friends and families won't know. I'll get asked, "How do I install Internet Explorer? I need Word. I bought this game and it doesn't work. Why won't it work? this is a PC....."

    To average joe punter - PC = windows. You may not like it, but that's the way it is. They'll grumble, they'll moan, but their next OS will be Windows, as inevitable as iphone users buying another new iphone.

    They look at Macs and say things like, "They're supposed to be good..." and repeat all the sales pitch and then ask the same questions as above with linux. They buy Macs to IMPRESS people with no technical consideration.

    This is the real world of people who use computers at home - anything else is like expecting people with cars to be mechanics or to have a car because of it's technical specification instead of the fact that "I like the shape...".

    Sad but true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: jumping ship

      I have come across more than one Mac user who "had to" buy the biggest Mac he could find only to discover that the one application he actually needed to run did not exist for Macs.

      1. Dana W
        Meh

        Re: jumping ship

        @ribosome Its called Parallels.

    2. Don Jefe
      Meh

      Re: jumping ship

      I'm not the average user, but I am historically a huge Windows proponent. Since 3.1 I've used it, sold it, developed around it and as CIO crammed it down everyone's throats. Windows 8 is such a miserable experience that for the first time ever I'm working out a plan to migrate everything I can to Linux of some breed.

      If it all goes well I'll move on and never look back. In their quest for 'innovation' they have removed the stable and well known interface and experience Windows has always offered. If they are going to destroy their consistency they really have nothing left to offer. If I'm going to have to learn tons of new methods anyway I'll just move to something else entirely.

      1. Chemist

        Re: jumping ship

        " I'm working out a plan to migrate everything I can to Linux of some breed."

        Good luck with this. After years of PDPs & VAX I moved to a mix of Linux and Windows systems professionally where Windows was used for the corporate guff like e-mail and PP, Word and Linux was used for the big complex scientific software that ran over nights & weekends. At home I was using Linux more or less from the start + Windows. Around ~2004 I switched entirely to Linux for home use and have found no real problem in doing everything I want ( RAW photo processing, HD video editing, programming and the usual stuff + all the scientific software I need)

        If you can do everything you want then go for it - I've used OpenSuse for years and would recommend finding a distro you like AND STICKING with it. Even after all these years I still use a Live CD or equivalent first to check for any snags. In fact I carry a USB stick around with a 32-bit version on my keyring.

      2. Belardi

        Re: jumping ship

        Hey Jefe...

        Give LinuxMint a try. It comes in various flavors - get the 64bit version. I prefer the MATE version... but I've changed the colors a bit for a bit more "color" (I think its a bit too much white by default). I've installed this on my wife's ThinkPad as the household computer for me to learn. She's a computer Novice, but SHE uses is able to USE LINUX without knowing anything about how to use computer. She uses Opera and Firefox browsers, Open Office.... and that's it. Same as if it was a Windows PC. I'm able to share work files between that computer and my Windows 7 desktop.

        The BIG issue here is that you can't run MS-OFFICE in Linux native... have to do VB or WINE. But if you can get away with using OpenOffice which is FREE to use on Linux, Windows and Mac... then you are set. The Spreadsheet in OpenOffice is sub-standard to Excel 2003 thou. Word-processor is just as good.

        Look at the costs... $150~200 for Windows + $150~400 for MS-Office vs. $0 going with Linux.

        By all means, I can't use Linux full time... its stupid when people say "Just use Linux" - its not there yet... but with the world NO LONGER being dependent on Microsoft... it makes it easier.

        I've yet to read a manual on Linux... I grew up with Amiga before using Windows, which didn't even become decent until XP. But finding settings for Linux wasn't a problem. Networking, display, audio controls... all that was easier to figure out than finding crap in Windows8.

        LinuxMint boots up just as fast as Windows8, its been solid and reliable on my Core2D notebook.

        1. Chemist

          Re: jumping ship

          "its stupid when people say "Just use Linux""

          Depends entirely on what you are doing ! I don't need or have access to Windows now I'm retired.

          I process RAW digital photos, edit 1080p/50 HD video, design and layout PCBs, program PIC microcontrollers, write software in c, tcl and assembler, and do all the other usual stuff. I have a 3G dongle for my laptop and netbook that just works, several printers/scanners, Skype, Google Earth etc.

          Linux is there if it fits your needs. We have 6 machines running it.

    3. Belardi

      Re: jumping ship

      I don't agree with you... but you are correct. I say the biggest thing holding Linux back in the standardized Office files (which I think is becoming less important) and that OpenOffice *IS STILL* very substandard to Office 2003.

      Also, Canon, HP, Epson *NEED* to make standard printer/scanner drivers that work out of the box (by download is fine). It needs to say on the packaging "SUPPORTS LINUX". For fun, I did look up Linux Printer drivers for my canon... I have to get them from the other side of the world. Some people have issues to make them work but most do get it working. Not quite as simple as Windows.... which is an issue.

      But if Canon or Epson were to hire and maintain a dedicated Linux team and have drivers ready, Linux users would FLOCK to that brand for their new purchases.

      Anyway.... I have installed Linux on one of my ThinkPads... my wife, who barely knows how to use Windows - is now using Linux without problems. When she does have an issue, I am able to find a solution fairly quickly. Windows is no longer needed for many people... iPads and Smartphones prove this.

      1. Chemist

        Re: jumping ship

        "*NEED* to make standard printer/scanner drivers that work out of the box"

        I've used Epson lasers, Samsung Lasers, Brother lasers, Epson photo and Epson printer/scanners - only the latter gave any problems but that was sorted several releases of OpenSuse ago. I've never needed to go to a manufacture's site - all the necessary was in the distro.

        1. Belardi

          Re: jumping ship

          When average Consumer Joe goes looking for a printer... and doesn't see anything about Linux Support on the printer box... then as far as they are rightfully concerned.... that printer does NOT support Linux.

          The wireless keyboard and mouse for my Smart TV said nothing about working on my TV. But I gave it shot, plugged in the USB dongle... and it worked.

          Linux needs more major players to push Linux over Windows. This is a good time to do it... Windows 8.1 isn't going to help sales. In the future, mobile devices will be the main formfactor and a Desktop will be reduced for geeks and developers.... might as well make that Linux.

          My Android phone can be plugged to my TV and use a blue tooth keyboard and mouse and therefor run like a computer more powerful than anything from 2002. Ah, if we could run Photoshop on these things... maybe we can soon.

          1. Chemist

            Re: jumping ship

            "When average Consumer Joe goes looking for a printer... and doesn't see anything about Linux Support on the printer box... then as far as they are rightfully concerned.... that printer does NOT support Linux."

            The average consumer isn't likely to care because they will have purchased a computer with Windows already installed as do the vast majority - partly because they don't know anything else and partly because it's nigh impossible to buy one with Linux already installed.

            Anyone, like me, who assemble their own boxes are far more likely to know about Linux and also check the the suitability of peripherals.

            As to Photoshop - if what you want to do is a little level or curve adjustment, resize, crop and sharpening of photos and/or RAW conversion then there are plenty of programs available for Linux including several using 16 bits/plane and I don't mean GIMP.

    4. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: jumping ship

      The average user will not go to linux. I deal with "end users" all the time.

      So do I. Mint/KDE impresses those who've only known Windows (much liks Higaara impressed those who only knew the sands of Karak :) ). Each one I can get to switch loves it. Sure, a lot are resistant, but as they realise more and more that MS has no interest in listening to them, whereas with Linux they have a voice (well, maybe outside of Ubuntu anyway), and as they get sick of the malware or corrupt registry or having to buy a new Vista key every time that breaks, well, they switch. And those who switch love it.

      For the average non techie user, linux will be a PITA. They won't know how to do anything, even as simple as installing printers and their friends and families won't know.

      With IIRC one HP model and some Lexmark models, printers and most other hardware are installed by the exceedingly difficulty tasks of plugging them in and turning them on. No disks, no downloads, no fuss. True plug and play. Sure, a while ago it was harder than today, but today there's really no issues.

      I'll get asked, "How do I install Internet Explorer?

      I used IE today for the first time in years. Today I've used every version of IE from 6 to whatever is current on Win7 (9 or 10?) to test a site. I hated every minute of it. I thought konqueror and chrome were bad! Man, IE is painfully slow, and just plain horrible to look at. As to what it does with a standards-compliant web site. What makes you think any one would want to use that once they've had a taste of something else?

      I need Word.

      Then install it. If you really cannot get to grips with Libre/Open Office, or any of the many other much better office tools out there, install it. If you have WINE on the system (usually installed by default IME) then chuck the Office disk in the machine and install it just like you would with windows.

      I bought this game and it doesn't work. Why won't it work? this is a PC....."

      See above. Run relatively high-end games under wine on my laptops. They run better than under windows on my gaming rig (which is only such by 2006 standards, by todays standards it's old and slow!). Chuck the disk in, install, play, enjoy.

      Linux really is not hard to use. If it was I wouldn't. a) I spend my days fixing other peoples broken computers, and b) I'm a lazy sod. Last thing I want is to spend my game time fixing stuff. So I run Linux. I could run windows, but there's all the maintenance, the repairs, the AV and AS, the registry errors, the endless search for drivers... NO THANKS!

  39. Nathan 13

    There has never been a better time in the computing era

    For a company to take over as THE operating system software of choice for PCs.

    And resign Microsoft to the history books.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: There has never been a better time in the computing era

      I don't think that the market will necessarily be dominated by a different company, it will just be a more diverse computing environment where devices often aren't x86 PCs and PCs often don't run Windows - the first half of that has already happened.

  40. hungee
    Happy

    manual

    I made this list of "how to" for my parents so they could use win8. Then I stuck it on a wall close to their heads... Now they are fluent.

    WINDOWS 8 SURVIVAL GUIDE.

    How to shutdown, restart, suspend computer - press "win"(windows) key + I simultaneously, select power (bottom right of screen), select shutdown/restart/suspend.

    How to connect  to a wireless network - When on desktop, bring cursor to bottom right where notifications are displayed, click on the graph (steps) icon. Wireless taskbar will appear. Click on desired network I.D. (eg. Netgear, or Telstra, wrt54g, other) enter password if necessary.

    How to find a program on your computer.

    Press Win/start key. Once start page appears type in program name ( e.g. word, excel, chrome) program should appear before typing is complete. Click on appropriate entry.

    How to find a file on your computer.

    Press Win key. Once start/home page appears, first move cursor to right hand menu, click "files", then type in file name name ( e.g. windows 8 hints and tips). File should appear before typing is complete. Click on appropriate entry to the left.

    2 quick ways to find control panel or device manager

    1. Use above instructions "how to find a program on your computer."

    2. Move cursor to bottom left of screen, right-click mouse, move cursor

    2/3rds of the way down the list that appears, click on control panel.

    Device manager is also on that list, near the top of the list.

    How to uninstall a program.

    Move cursor to bottom left of screen, right-click mouse, move cursor

    To the top of the list that appears, click on "programs and features". Then scroll to unwanted program, right click on the program, select "uninstall program". It should now uninstall.

    How to find the desktop.

    Windows key + D

    Shortcut keys.

    Windows key + I = Settings panel.

    Windows key + C = Charms bar.

    Windows key = Start page.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: manual

      Alternatively, just click the 'Start' button on any version but 8.

    2. Belardi

      Re: manual

      Howdy... I'll share my TEXAS WINDOWS 8 SURVIVAL GUIDE.

      A - Murder Windows 8, replace with Windows 7. The $100~150 spent is worth it.

      B - Buy a new computer with Windows 7Pro, such as ThinkPads and ThinkCentres from Lenovo - the don't come with crap-ware pre-installed.

      or

      C - Murder Windows 8, replace with LinuxMint. Its Free. Free upgrades forever.

  41. Asok Asus
    Holmes

    Fired Loser Spews Gibberish

    I believe the operative term here is "former". And the reason is Windows 8. And why would anyone care one whit what gibberish this loser is spewing?

  42. Whiznot

    After you've set fire to the house it's wise to get out.

  43. Don Jefe

    Sorry

    I just realized this. I'm sure others have already seen it but I just realized it. The new focus on the Windows key is a complete fucking ripoff of that old 'open Apple/closed Apple + mouse click' bullshit on Macs! It really is like they've gone back to a shittier time.

  44. Dave Lawton

    Graphical User Interface

    I've seen an awful lot of comments along the lines of 'Windows KEY + letter KEY is so much easier'.

    Even 'The best user interfaces for me are when the CLI is the prime focus.', and 'Powershell has a great ui' (Apologies, I'm not picking on you, but they were items that stood out).

    Most of us on here tend to be IT professionals, who use the best tool for the job in hand, but GUIs were designed to make life easier for everyone, especially the great bulk of computer users, whose use of a keyboard is to input 'data', not remember esoteric commands to start programs.

    Isn't the goal to make things easier to do, without making it easier to screw things up, and make computers more intuitive, and consistent, and closer to being appliances that 'Just Work tm' ?

    I f anyone can demonstrate how W8 takes everyone closer to that goal, without using unprovable personal anecdotes, and with properly documented examples, then I, and I'm sure lots of others, are prepared to listen, at least.

    Thanks for reading.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They fired one idiot and hired another idiot. Julie Green is in fact a much bigger idiot than Sinofsky. Time will show how incompetent the foolish woman is.

  46. MACWINLINO

    We care why?

    Why on earth should we care what this man has to say? He doesn't work for MS anymore and therefore is irrelevant.

    I don't for one minute believe he was sorely responsibly for the death of StartMenu, surely there are a board of people. There must have been one person who said, WTF are you guys nuts we will piss off our user base?

    His best work had to be Windows 7, or Vista SP3

    1. Belardi

      Re: We care why?

      You're right.... He might have been in charge of Windows... but the guys above him, didn't say "Hey! I think we may have a problem shoving that shitty UI up people's arses!"

      Ballmer "Let them eat cake!"

      Microsoft has no talent. They need their knees shot off.

  47. Belardi

    Anyone else want to see Microsoft crash and burn? I think in the long wrong, Microsoft DOES need to knocked down... then their influence in the industry will be reduced. They'd have to sell their OS at a competitive level...

    Like Windows8Pro was $40 to upgrade (even with Win8 beta or XP) ! When was the last time MS sold an upgrade OS for $40?! Hell, XP-Home~Win7Home have always been $100. I *DID NOT* go with the $40 deal... why would I spend $160 to upgrade 4 PCs to a crappy product that I WOULDN'T install or use for $1?

    I've installed LinuxMint on one of my notebooks (after I was done trying out Win8Pro for a few months) and it runs Linux full time. Its easier to use than Win8 IMHO. Not that Win8 was hard to learn - its was just horrible to use.

    I'm not going to use Windows8.1, which is still crap... I'm done with Microsoft... I'll continue to use Win7 for now... it works... as I migrate to Linux full time. Games? Don't care... not many good games for PC anymore, I'm buying the Playstation4 (screw MS, I'm not buying their new xbox1)

  48. mhenriday
    Boffin

    When I first encountered Windows 8,

    I disliked it - more specifically the GUI - intensely. Then I installed Classic Shell and used a simple registry hack to disable the irrelevant lock screen and voila ! - an OS that was both usable (despite a few quirks) on a desktop or laptop without a touch screen and faster and smoother than Windows 7 ! No thanks to Mr Sinofsky, of course, who forced me to jump through these hoops. And just to be explicit, I prefer Linux Mint 15 to either of the Windows versions mentioned above....

    Henri

    1. Philip Lewis

      Re: When I first encountered Windows 8,

      As I have said previously. I would be completely happy with Win7 UI and Windows8 under the hood. I think this is true of about 99.9999999% of windows users.

  49. Tim Almond
    Go

    With one exception (he works for Microsoft), every single .net developer I know that has converted to Win8 has subsequently installed Start8.

    People are used to it. They've been using it for 15 years. And as far as I'm concerned, it's far better than the start screen. Why? Because it's hierarchical. I can put all my graphics programs (that I don't use that often) in a "graphics" menu with a folder for each program below it.

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