Microsoft: You Are the Reason Why We Killed the Start Menu

One of the big negative issues surrounding the upcoming release of Windows 8 is the lack of a Start button, one of the standard Windows-based features we've used since the release of Windows 95. It was assumed that Microsoft ditched the familiar tool in order to force users into accepting the new Metro interface. Heck, Microsoft event went so far as to remove code from the OS that would have enabled a third-party Start button.

But now Microsoft is blaming the actual consumer for its removal. Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, said during TechEd in Amsterdam that users began to fall out of favor for the Start button in Windows 7, preferring to pin their favorite applications to the taskbar instead. This observation was based on telemetry gathered by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program.

"We’d seen the trend in Windows 7," Sareen told PC Pro. "When we evolved the taskbar we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar. We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We’re saying 'look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?'"

"So I’m a desktop user, I pin the browser, Explorer, whatever my apps are. I don’t go the Start menu as often," he added. "If you’re going to the Start screen now, we’re going to unlock a whole new set of scenarios, or you can choose not to go there, stay in the desktop, and it’s still fast. You can’t beat the taskbar."

Sareen also said that Windows 7 users are taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts to open applications rather than digging them out from the Start menu. For instance, by pressing the Windows Key and "1" once Internet Explorer is pinned to the taskbar, the browser loads. It's not as quick as simply clicking on the icon pinned to the taskbar, but it's quicker than digging through the Start menu.

In addition to talking about the lack of a Start button, she also reportedly dismissed complaints about how the Metro interface is more focused on touch-based devices than the desktops and laptops that make up the majority of Microsoft's business. Even two Microsoft presenters were struggling to make gesture controls work on laptop trackpads during the show.

According to Sareen, the touchpad drivers were still "very, very early" and were "still being refined." He also said the Metro interface "really works well with the mouse and keyboard."

  • DarkenMoon97
    They must be crazy and coming up as to why they had to remove such a great feature of Windows, so what do they do? That's right, blame us!
  • evan1715
    well u say we want it taken away.
    well i guess we changed our minds and want it back?
    so... put it back!!
  • TL;DR - My opinion is better than yours.

    I don't care if some random manager at MS prefers the taskbar over the start menu. That doesn't mean you turn a blind eye and alienate the majority.

    I haven't tried Metro yet, and I'll reserve judgment on Win8 until I do, but Microsoft should know this is BAD PR. A company should never point the finger at its customers, it can end only in backlash. While somewhat off topic, if anyone here knows anything about the Mega Man Legends 3 fiasco, they will most certainly know what I'm talking about.
  • hotroderx
    Whats wrong with company's now days? This sounds like blizzard with Diablo 3 and the rage it has started "Your not playing the game how we intended" . Microsoft will its your fault we removed the start button its what we thought you wanted so you have no one to blame but your self's.

    I remember when company's use to adept designs to consumer wants and needs. Today it seems its "use it the way your told and if you don't like it to bad its your fault".
  • whooleo
    Well you see I wouldn't be complaining if they would have replaced it with something that works on mice and keyboards and doesn't act like gnome 3.
  • Tmanishere
    Microsoft, mouse and Keyboard works well for most people. This big ugly interface sucks.
  • offerings12
    Most people that enjoy the Start Menu Probably didn't even have the Customer Experience Enabled. I am an IT administrator and i know for a Fact that most Users turn that crap off... So your gathering your information from uninformed users that are too stupid to turn the Micro$ information gathering off...
  • JamesSneed
    I'm not sure if Henry Ford actually said this but this reminds me of Microsoft.

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
    ― Henry Ford
  • daglesj
    No we are not the reason. It has nothing to do with improving the UI feel for the end user.

    The reason is you need to push as many of us as possible into the Metro environment so we buy buy buy apps in the millions.

    You need to make a money spinning Apps market. And you are prepared to screw over as many possible to make it work.

    Ballsy but it shows a lack of respect for the customer really.
  • olaf
    I use start to quickly find aps, and i do use the quick launch menu in it , why fucking get me used to it since windows xp if you are removeing my quick launch menu, and just how many things whould i pin on my taskbar, at a full hd resolution yes the screen is wide but you are loseing to much screen realestate if you use a double taskbar like with windows xp and old CRT displays that could go as high as 1600x1200 at 120hz :D to bad they used up almost as much electricity as my whole pc :D