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Microsoft defends Windows 8 changes as reacting to feedback

Microsoft has gone on the defensive, saying the changes to Windows 8 aren't backtracking, but rather listening to customer feedback.

Windows 8 has come in for plenty of stick in its relatively short life, but now Microsoft has gone on the defensive, slamming its detractors.

Articles this week in the Financial Times and The Economist accuse Microsoft of backtracking, pointing to the return of the Start button as evidence its latest operating system is a failure. This prompted Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of corporate communications, to accuse such publications of providing "stark black-and-white caricatures" rather than "shades-of-grey reality".

The Financial Times piece is particularly damning. It says bringing back the Start button is "one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola's New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago."

Shaw counters that rather than an admission of failure, Microsoft is simply listening to customer feedback and using it to improve its product. "Windows 8 is a good product, and it's getting better every day," Shaw writes.

He points to Microsoft's recent announcement that it's sold 100 million licenses for Windows 8, but the Guardian's Charles Arthur has a bone to pick with that. The figure for licences sold doesn't equate to how many PCs are running the operating system, Arthur says. Microsoft could tell us how many PCs actually run Windows 8 because it gets activation data when they're first turned on, but instead it goes for the more impressive figure.

Arthur reckons around 60 million PCs use Windows 8 as their operating system, which works out at less than 10 million a month since launch. And it's some way off Microsoft's trumpeted figure of 100 million.

What do you think of Windows 8? Have you felt let down, or is it still early days? Is Microsoft admitting defeat by bringing back the Start button, or just listening to customers? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.