Since his appointment as CEO Nadella has been on a campaign to regain consumer trust and acceptance of Microsoft. We have watched as the Xbox got a price cut and is being sold without the Kinect. We also saw Microsoft focus on games for the Xbox One instead of trying to push it as the center of the home. While this has not exactly been subtle it has begun to have an effect and we knew there would be more to come as other lines begin to blur and are redrawn.
One of these is the stance that Microsoft took when they launched Windows 8. The massive shift in the UI was one that put many people off of the new OS, or pushed them to 3rd party applications that brought back the familiar Windows feel. Under Ballmer this obvious item was ignored and we were all told that the Modern UI would be so much better if we would all just use it we would see. This mind set persisted even through a major update to the OS and may continue for the life of the OS.
Interestingly enough, despite all of the rhetoric about how good the Modern UI is, we saw a philosophy change at BUILD 2014. Here we got our first glimpse of Windows 9 and during the preview we saw the desktop return and a brand new start menu (yes a menu not just the button). Sadly, with everything else going on the world appeared to miss the importance of this event.
Nadella and his PR campaign have realized this and are now pushing that information back out to the world in the form of their usual leak sites and personalities. Over the past few weeks we have read multiple articles that are little more than repeats of the news from BUILD 2014 in January. Windows 9 will get a start menu that is customizable (you can add or remove Modern UI tiles).
Now, while the news might be stale there is an important item to take away here. Microsoft wants to reclaim the business it lost over Windows 8 and the cloud push it brought to the table. This means that we will see more changes in the way Microsoft presents their products. Nadella seems to get a fact that Ballmer never could, Microsoft is not and can never be Apple. They have a very different client base and you cannot simply change that by force.
Windows 9 will be part of that change. The cloud applications and services will still be there, but they will not be forced on you like they are in Windows 8. You will return to the flexibility of Windows 7 (even for developers) with the performance benefits that Windows 8.x really does bring to the table. The next few months will be interesting to watch as we see Microsoft try very hard to change their market perception. We wonder what will be next on their list…
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