@DeathByVisualStudio:

"The desktop" is still there.. what you should be comparing is the flexibility of the Start menu to the Start screen.

As for that comparison, the search experience is at worst identical between the two, allthough i personally prefer the win8 way to search apps and not list a bunch of emails from outlook that i'm extremely unlikely to be interested in. i do kinda wish it would display results from settings if there are no results from apps, but oh well, there is a shortcut for searching settings only. You dont get that in the start menu either.

As for general flexibility and customization, even you cant argue that the start menu is more customizable than the start screen...