Microsoft responds to 'extreme' Windows 8 criticism

Microsoft posted a rebuttal to the mounting attacks on the company and Windows 8.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Microsoft appreciates the feedback on Windows 8. Up to a point.

"There is a trend to the extreme," Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft, wrote on The Official Microsoft Blog on Friday, addressing some of the harsher attacks.

Here's a fuller quote:

In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme -- where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis. In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light. Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality.

So let's pause for a moment and consider the center. In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing. In the center, listening to feedback and improving a product is a good thing.

So how "extreme" has the criticism been? Well, the Financial Times said the upcoming changes to Windows 8 mark 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."

And the Economist attacked Microsoft the company, saying "restoring the Start button will not restore Microsoft to its former glory."

On CNET, IDC's Bob O'Donnell spoke to me in March. At that time he said: "There were certain decisions that Microsoft made that were in retrospect flawed. Notably not allowing people to boot into desktop mode and taking away the Start button. Those two things have come up consistently. We've done some research and people miss that."

And IDC continued over the following months to be critical as PC sales stalled. Especially when first-quarter global computer shipments dropped 14 percent from the previous year, much worse than IDC's forecast for a 7.7 percent decline.

So, what do you think? Has Microsoft and Windows 8 been unfairly attacked?

Note: It's not like a Start button function is completely absent in Windows 8. For example, the Windows key plus "x" brings up a menu similar to the Start button, replete with a search option. And getting to the Windows 8 desktop is only a matter of clicking "Desktop" on the Metro screen.