To say that the loss of the Start button, to be replaced by the Metro/Modern UI interface, is contentious is a massive understatement. Microsoft is seeing slow sales of Windows 8 and there are rumours going round that they’re blaming everyone but themselves for this, mainly the OEMs.
It appears that the person who was pushing hard for the removal of the Start button was the recently departed Steven Sinofsky, head of the Windows division. It was he who sold this idea to Steve Ballmer in the first place and now that sales are slow, presumably because of this big change, he’s out after just two weeks since the launch and Microsoft may be considering the return of the much loved Start button. Also, Stardock’s Start8 $5 utility which brings back the Start button, among other related features, is seeing sales of tens of thousands of copies, which must surely be giving Microsoft pause for thought. The next couple of months should prove interesting and with any luck Microsoft will bring back Aero, too, but that’s much less certain, since it wouldn’t go with the Modern UI’s flat look.
Sinofsky persuaded Ballmer to replace the Start Menu with a hybrid touch screen, plus keyboard and mouse interface. He had his detractors. But Sinofsky successfully argued that it was crucial for the company to orient Windows PC users toward the look and feel of the all-new Windows 8 Surface touch tablet and the latest Windows Phone 8 smartphone models.
He might have won the internal debate. But convincing millions of home and workplace users of Windows that the switch was for their own good hasn’t gone well.