The fact is that practically nobody used the heirarchy menu ("classic menu") part of the start menu. Sure, people used the front part of the start menu, but that's just a collection of fixed buttons (control panel, my documents, shutdown etc) and a random selection of your most used apps.
It was the central hub, now there's no central place at all! All the links to the document folders, control panel etc. are randomly spread apart and you need to hunt them all down. The hierarchy menu is even more confusing now than it was with the Start Menu. Despite having the whole screen at their disposal, they have somehow managed to make it more worse - it's an intimidating wall of text that scares far more than the old "All Programs" did. The link to "All Programs" is now hidden to boot.
In Windows8 your most used apps appear in your start screen, and you get more than 7 of them at a time. Most of the complaints are that the other buttons aren't there, but they are, they're just less easy to find.
The problem isn't that Microsoft changed or killed the start menu. It's that they don't make it clear to customers where the buttons have moved to. It really isn't obvious to new users how to turn off the machine, how to get back to the start screen or what the hell the charms bar is or how to get to it, and that's really the problem with Windows8.
The real problems with Windows 8 is that this thing breaks mental processes. Switching applications by switching into a full screen context is *
Are we talking about live tiles?
Search is now even more bonkered. You can't even drag the items from the result list into applications now.
Ah, come on! I see tons of usage of the start menu frontpage. Your assertions are just Sinofsky-BS.
How the heck is the metro menu better? In almost all ways it's worse. Far more things are hidden, it's less central. There's lots of scrolling involved (far more nauseating than scrolling the start menu, because the whole screen scrolls this time), handling with the search results is a mess, installing new programs shuffles that thing around and many times barfs dozens of items on it, because there are no folders. You have the jarring context switch, you have no indication that it is searchable (yet is is), and on and on. The only improvement is that you have a bit more items at glance before you need to scroll around. Whoopie doo.
Don't get me wrong, if they would have produced something better than the start menu, I would be all for it. But it's worse. Maybe they can still produce a far better version of the start menu, I hope so, but until then they are forcing people on this gimped piece of code. And that is just ....