SOFTWARE COBBLER Microsoft appears to be ready to respond to user criticism of its much maligned Metro tiled interface that it renamed "Modern", though that name hasn't stuck.
Leaked images posted by Wzor, who has a reliable history of Microsoft leaks, show a build of the so-called "Update 1" for Window 8.1. This includes an option that tantalisingly invites users to "Show Metro apps on the taskbar".
The implication appears to be that, rather than suffer the continued frustrations of what are essentially two conflicting interfaces, users will be able to launch tiled apps without leaving the familiar Windows desktop.
Analysts see this is a halfway house to Threshold, believed to be the working title of Windows 9 that reportedly has been accelerated as the company tries to distance itself from the disastrous reception met by Windows 8, which reminds users of Microsoft's previous ginger stepchild Windows Vista.
Paul Thurrott, who publicised earlier Threshold leaks on his blog, said, "Microsoft is improving Windows in Update 1 so that the Metro environment works better with traditional PC hardware. And while these improvements will take many forms, some subtle, some not, I can confirm one new feature: Metro apps will now include a close box, similar to that seen on desktop applications, which can be clicked with a mouse so that the app closes completely."
We're overwhelmed by the genius and sweeping scale of Microsoft's software innovation.
The general impression is that Microsoft is furiously back-pedaling with Windows 9, and that it will fully integrate the tiled interface into the traditional desktop, with Metro apps running on the Windows desktop and controlled from the taskbar. µ