This annoys me a bit, since, as a matter of fact, the desktop interface in Windows 8 is still there and works just as well, and is just as complete, as the Windows 7 desktop interface. Truth being told, the misconception of the "Metro" interface being almost mandatory is mostly Microsoft's own fault since they have been marketing Windows 8 like the new "Metro" interface is all there will ever be from now on.
But even smart people that I look up to and should know better, are using "Metro" as an excuse to evade Windows 8 altogether, calling the desktop interface "legacy".
Pictures say more than a thousand words, so here is one of my Windows 8 Release Preview desktop:
Calling the desktop "legacy" and saying it won't get any more attention just doesn't make any sense, for several reasons:
- In Windows 8, the dektop _did_ get attention. In fact, they added more user-visible features between Windows 7 and 8 than they did in the Windows 7 development cycle. They redid the Windows Explorer, pimped the Task Manager (IO stats!), and added nice graphs to the file copy windows, added proper support for taskbars across multiple monitors, among many other things.
- People want a desktop, and Microsoft knows that. If they don't, they will know soon enough. They won't be so foolish to alienate a large part of their user base by getting rid of the desktop. Also, as long as future versions of OS X still feature a desktop, so will future versions of Windows.
- They need it to run Office 2013.
- One of Microsoft's strongest points, one of their trumph cards, their holy grail, their ace in the hole, and what not more, has always been: Backwards Compatibility. As long as people and companies are running desktop apps on any current and future version of Windows, the desktop will be there to provide optimal compatibility. Still have doubts? Check out Netscape 3 running on Windows 7:
From what I see, I believe Microsoft's selling point for desktop/workstation users will be this:
Imagine waking up, grabbing your Surface Pro to check news/weather/email while eating breakfast. Then once you get in the train to work you type a quick mail or work on a document using the cover's built-in keyboard. When you get at work, you just stick your Surface Pro into a dock, connected to a dual monitor setup, and you continue working right where you left of, using the desktop interface. That's what "no-compromise" means to me.
So here's a message to all you Windows XP/Vista/7 users that are sceptic about upgrading: Just go ahead and upgrade. Get rid of all the "Metro" apps, and except for the obvious style switch and the new start screen, you'll hardly notice any difference in the way you work with your computer when going to Windows 8.
Very unlike the transition from OS X 10.6 to 10.8, which is forcing all of iOS' skeuomorphism onto it's users, with no alternative.
Trust me, the Windows desktop interface is here to stay.