@Dr Herbie: That might be satisfactory if the desktop experience was practically identical to Windows 7. Even in 7 you could configure it to resemble more XP/Vista style by setting small icons + combine when taskbar full and you can even add quick launch icons back just as it was in XP with little work.
I currently pin often launched document based stuff (excel, VS etc) on the start menu and only very frequently used stuff in the taskbar (IE, notepad replacement etc). The more rarely used things I launch from either desktop or the Run (win+r). I prefer the more often used or text input based stuff in Run history than desktop as I can start then start and run them purely without moving my hand to the mouse, where as mouse based stuff can be on the desktop as icons. I don't launch stuff using Start Menu search at all since I always disable indexing services and as Windows unindexed search is unusably slow I use NTFS search as that handles millions of files in second. I don't think the MSFT search guys can even dream up that kind of perf, or if they can, it will involve some background indexer service that happens to run when I'm using a MIDI keyboard and increase jitter...
re: release cycle
That would make sense. I'm tempted to here think about all the crap I've read (I don't own their devices, have only tried out) about Apple and Google cycle/updates. As Microsoft has experience here and should know what doesn't work well in the competitors models, I'll just wait and see if this would actually work out better than what the competition is doing.