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Windows 8.1 paints over the problems with Windows 8

Mark Hachman | May 31, 2013
Phew. Maybe Windows Blue (or Windows 8.1, as Microsoft is now officially calling it) won't be so blah after all. But Microsoft is betting big that a fresh coat of paint will be enough to bring users back into the fold.

Aside from the "improvements" to search (which look like features adding unnecessary complexity to the process), most of the other enhancements look like welcome additions. Future disclosures of what Windows 8.1 has in store will be rolling out over the next few weeks, Leblond wrote, leading up to what many expect will be a preview release by the end of the month.

Microsoft's strategy appears to be this: To continue driving forward with its vision, and to hope that its vast advertising reach, channel partners and retail programs provide a tow rope to haul the recalcitrant into the future. Take, for example, Microsoft's new Surface ads, which have begun emphasizing their integration with Office, and productivity. Consider Leblond's own words:

"Windows 8.1 will advance the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of PCs, tablets, and a range of industry devices, and the experiences customers--both consumers and businesses alike--need and will just expect moving forward," Leblond wrote. "It's Windows 8 even better. Not only will Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback, but it will add new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing's potential."

We all know the problems Microsoft faces: the rise of Apple and Android tablets, the demise of the traditional PC, and the lack of touchscreens that held back the early Windows 8 experience. But Leblond's statements aren't those of a company back on its heels.

Microsoft is charging ahead. For its sake, it had better hope that it doesn't leave its more traditional users behind.


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