In October, for instance, Stardock boasted of a major increase in sales to enterprises, saying that "single order quantities of 1,000 Start8 units or greater immediately increased" after Microsoft revealed that Windows 8.1 would lack a Start menu on the desktop.
Even so, Wardell welcomed the rumored additions to Windows. "I don't know if Microsoft will bring back the Start menu in a future edition of Windows, but I hope they do," he said. "Our company relies on Windows to be a healthy ecosystem and Windows 8 has created some difficulties because many of our customers aren't upgrading to it. While programs like Start8 or ModernMix are helpful, it would be better if Microsoft integrated [their] functionality into the OS."
The more Microsoft makes Windows 8 and its follow-ons more acceptable to more customers, the better Stardock will do, argued Wardell.
"In the longer term, it would enable us to create new software that would further improve the Windows environment," Wardell said. "There's a lot of work to be done on Windows still, and it would be helpful if Microsoft began integrating the things we have so that we can build further on that."
With Microsoft aping Stardock, some have wondered why the Redmond, Wash. giant doesn't just snap up the smaller firm. "I sure hope Microsoft buys Stardock as part of its move to a better future," opined a reader of InfoWorld, a sister publication of Computerworld, this week. "Buy Stardock and integrate Start8 and ModernMix, and honestly, they're most of the way there."
"That's kind of him to say. It has come up a number of times over the years," Wardell said when asked about the reader's suggestion. "[But] I think the Windows ecosystem works best when there are external developers who can move quickly, and without any political pressure deliver solutions that the Windows consumer base is looking for," he said. "Then Microsoft can pick and choose what would make sense as part of the base OS."
Stardock sells its Windows 8 tools on its website, but because they are not Metro apps, not through the Windows Store.
Microsoft will reportedly add on-the-desktop Metro apps to a future release of Windows 8, duplicating what Stardock's $5 ModernMix already does. (Image: Stardock.)
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