Windows 'Blue' will leave Microsoft customers seeing red

Windows 8 customers have registered their complaints loud and clear. Will Windows 8.1 prove Microsoft is even listening?

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It's the customers, stupid

Why am I so indignant? I'm not going to say it; instead, I'll let a comment off Paul Thurrott's Windows Supersite about the new features do the talking. There, Grapemanca says:

But there's got to be much more than this, right? As a Desktop user who runs Win8 with Stardock's Start8 and ModernMix, I'm not sure I can see anything here that I'll even notice. We still can't boot directly to desktop. We still waste an amazing amount of space around the Modern [Metro] UI edges. We still can't see basic functions on a UI that is purportedly a graphic user interface. We still can't resize Modern apps to the dimensions that suit us. We're still forced to use a keyboard to maximize efficiency ... à la DOS. We still don't have a brand-new Windows that's maximized for the desktop. Talk about underwhelmed.

I concur. Now, I'm not saying that I think Windows 8 (and now "Blue") lack solid features. I love the speed, stability, security improvements, new apps and features, and so forth. I'm intimately aware of how awesome Windows 8 is on many levels. I simply want my choice of a Desktop-oriented system to be taken into consideration. And folks, let me be clear: I run only Windows 8 on all my systems. I even purchased my wife a beautiful new Acer with infinity touchscreen running Windows 8. Daily, I hear how much she hates it and why did I buy her this thing -- daily.

My hope is that Windows 8.1 really shows that Microsoft is listening, if not to the millions of folks begging for change, then at least to me. Microsoft, just listen to one person. I promise I can get you out of this mess.

That said, if you've waited until the very end of this column and didn't jump right into the comments section to begin the J. Peter Bruzzese beatdown, allow me to make this statement: We're still very early in the game. Some are saying there are clear indications that Microsoft is, in fact, listening to customers and will be making significant adjustments to the UI, including a revised Start button and a bypass of the Start screen (direct to Desktop) option for those who still prefer to use a keyboard and mouse as opposed to their thumb and index finger. Some are saying this reverse course is an admission of failure (like Coca-Cola's New Coke fiasco 30 years ago), but I would call it "listening to customers."

We'll know soon enough if we're being led to Disneyland or a burned-out warehouse. If it's the latter, will it be too late to go back? If Microsoft really wants to show customers that it's listening, it needs to drop the secrecy immediately and spell out the changes it plans to make to address the complaints.

Otherwise, Microsoft risks making them so angry that by the time the company gives them what they want, they won't care anymore.

This story, "Windows 'Blue' will leave Microsoft customers seeing red," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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