While the vision for Windows 8 was to create an operating system that would be as functional on a tablet as it would be on a PC, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been flooded with complaints since the new OS was introduced last fall. Less than a year later, the company is conceding that it made some real mistakes with the most recent refresh and is addressing them.
Critics of Mr. Softy will celebrate the move as a victory against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), rather than seeing it as a shrewd decision by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). The real news is that Windows 8 is getting better — one of many reasons to consider adding the stock to your portfolio at current levels.
Return of the Start menu
Just as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has its “Home” button and others their own signature bit of functionality, the Start menu has been a part of the Windows operating system for decades. It’s one of the most fundamental parts of Windows, not only from a practical perspective, but also in giving users a sense of ease as they transition from one version to the next. The Start menu has long been where you go to do just about everything, and where you turn when you’ve exhausted all other options.
With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) switched to active tiles that more closely mirrored the apps you’re used to seeing in a smartphone OS. This was intentional so that the system would make sense on a tablet and the overall user experience would be similar across devices. To use the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) example once again, the iPad has the same Home button as the iPhone, making several iPad functions intuitive to anyone familiar with the iconic smartphone design.
The problem that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) faced was that it was trying to operate at the bleeding edge between the realm of the PC and the realm of mobile devices — there were bound to be some missteps. To get PC users to accept Windows 8 as a mobile OS, it needed to have a more app-driven feel. To get mobile-device users to accept Windows 8 as a PC OS, it needed to hold on to some of the ergonomics people had come to expect. The death of the Start menu was a step too far removed from the familiar PC layout for people to accept. And so they complained, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) heard them and changed.