Ballmer orders the death of the start button

The Godfather of software, the shy, mumbling, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, has ordered that the start button should be made an offer it can’t refuse.

Punters were wondering why, when the Vole was showing off its start screen in Windows 8, there was no start menu in site.

Writing in its bog, Microsoft explained that the start menu dipped by 11 percent between Windows Vista and Windows 7, with many specialized start functions, like exploring pictures, declining as much as 61 percent.

Apparently this is why the start menu has been replaced with a screen full of live tiles that can serve as a program launcher as well as widgets.

Chaitanya Sareen, the lead program manager on the Microsoft Core Experience team, said while the 11 percent decrease in start menu usage may seem trivial, it was a key indicator for Microsoft’s design direction.

“Across our hundreds of millions of customers it is eye opening to see such a drop for a universally recognisable element of the Windows interface,” Sareen wrote.

He pointed out that it was not a hidden setting that is tweaked by a minority – it was a fundamental piece of Windows that people were using less.

That, in turn, led to a decision for Microsoft to “evolve” the start interface.

Apparently the days of navigating through the nested menus within start, or even searching for apps and documents through the live search function are gone. More users are pinning apps to the start menu or the taskbar for even quicker access.

Most users don’t pin a single app to the Start menu, while the number of pinned apps on the taskbar peaked at three, with 30 percent of the userbase choosing it.

Keyboard shortcuts like the Windows button plus the number of the applications on the taskbar allows users to quickly launch and switch, Sareen wrote.

In other words the taskbar has evolved to replace the start menu, and the start screen has evolved to replace the taskbar.