Quick thoughts on Windows 8.1

About a week ago Microsoft confirmed the final name for the first update to Windows 8. Up until the announcement the next version of Windows had been going by its codename “Blue”. But at a tech analyst conference, Tami Reller, head of the business aspects of the Windows division, detailed the official name and pricing.

Windows 8.1 will be an update bringing new features and bug fixes to all Windows 8 devices. It will be a free upgrade for all Windows 8 and Windows RT users with a device and come on hardware coming toward the fall of this year. From all indications it will have improvements for desktop users and bring back certain features desktop users expect from Windows.

Due to the vocal response of some to Windows 8, 8.1 has been greatly anticipated. For many traditional desktop users they hope for a return of the Start button and start menu (basically Windows 7). Actually let me stop and say that this has been the only thing people have talked about around Windows 8; its supposed unfriendliness toward users of mice and keyboards. This whole time when sales of tablets have increased, all the talk has been around desktops (not even laptops).

For many 8.1 is seen as Microsoft repudiating the changes made in Windows 8, coming back to earth says the CEO of Acer. It would all be cute if not for one thing:

It doesn’t answer the issue at hand.

As much as many would like to run back the clock, the PC market has plateaued and even then the growth was slowing. With the growth of tablets especially in business, Microsoft needed to get in the door with a mobile OS. And while Windows Phone might have been sufficient it would not have gotten as much attention as Windows 8 has now.

Windows 8.1 will have features to make desktop users happy, but it will not be Windows 7.5, an that’s because it still needs to address the market for devices. This means addressing tablets booth small and large.

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