Although Microsoft vigorously defended its Windows 8 design decisions, it also softened its stance when it shipped Windows 8.1 last October. Windows 8.1 included a pseudo-Start button and gave users the option of circumventing the tile-style Start screen by booting directly to the conventional desktop.
Windows 8.1 Update, which will begin reaching customers Tuesday, will expand the reemphasis of the desktop with the boot-to-desktop setting enabled by default on non-touch personal computers.
Myerson's mention of the post-Windows 8.1 Update refresh was a return of sorts to a younger Microsoft that was more willing to discuss future plans, and a repudiation, perhaps a minor one, of the closed-mouth approach the Redmond, Wash. company has taken in the last several years. That approach was attributed to Steven Sinofsky, the former head of Windows development who was ousted in November 2012, but called counter-productive by many customers, partners and other outside observers.
Myerson acknowledged the change.
"It's always tricky to find the right balance when sharing future plans, as some parts of the plan may change," Myerson said in a blog he authored last week. "But as our industry, our company, and Windows are in the midst of a pretty massive transformation in the way we build and deliver innovation to customers, partners and developers, we are taking some steps to be more transparent in signaling what's ahead."
Microsoft's as-yet-unnamed next update to Windows will restore a Start menu (left) and let users run Metro apps on the conventional desktop (right foreground). (Image: Microsoft.)
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