I think the most important take away, at least for me, with regard to browser based apps is -- they all look and function like s**t. I can't fathom how anyone can think otherwise. Even "metro" apps which seem to be nothing more than Internet Explorer with F11 pressed.
The desktop in Windows 8 didn't change a whole lot since 7. It even got a few lauded improvements, like the much improved file copy dialog and speed enhancements.
Not that that matters, your argument is bogus anyway. Windows has steadily been going toward a more useful desktop use case since Windows 8. 8.1 got the Start button, 8.1 update 1 got the taskbar and title bar everywhere (when using a mouse) and the taskbar shows Metro apps. Windows Threshold should be bringing non-touch users an experience that is fully immersed within the desktop, including start menu and windowed Metro apps.
It is undeniable that Microsoft has been going toward the desktop for every version after Windows 8.
"Going toward the desktop." That's just the thing. They were already there. Windows 7's desktop is near perfect. Now if people want to say "Well, 8 was really a tablet OS", that's fine. But it was called Windows 8 and it was shipped on desktops.
Big deal, 8.1 got the "start button" -- when everyone knew full well and were flat out ignoring the fact that no one was asking for the stupid bitmap of the button to be put back. They wanted the Start Menu and its features. Yeah, that's "coming" in Windows 9. I bet $25, though, that all of my desktop apps will still be covered up by a full screen search result pane when I try to search for something off that start menu while I'm needing my context to reference.
Taskbar and titlebars while in "metro" apps? Big deal. Those aren't improvements to the desktop, they are stupid things that don't belong on a touch interface. They don't help my desktop use because my desktop use does not entail running a full screen Facebook app on my 27" desktop display.
There are things that Microsoft could have done to improve the desktop which they've needed to do for quite a long time. Mostly things that are broken.
Libraries? Great. Oh, but I can't use them in an Enterprise really because they don't support DFS paths. Why don't they? Because Windows Search has a silly inability to understand DFS redirects, even though they've been part of Windows for 15 years. Hell, the "Windows Search" component on Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition flat out says in the description that it's "not for enterprise use".
How about event viewer "more information" links that lead to 404's, wasting the time of my technicians? Or Excel files getting locked on the server preventing people from opening them in write mode because someone who doesn't even have the file open happens to have the file selected in Explorer.
The file copy dialog is great. That's really the only improvement I saw to the desktop when, in all honesty it should have been done around XP time. Maybe in Windows 9, they'll figure out how to get Event Viewer to populate a list in less than 45 seconds when it would have taken XP five. They've been too busy putting a tablet interface on my servers and LOB workstations.
When Windows 8 came out, if you only went by this place and the Building Windows 8 blog, you would swear people were rioting in the streets and ringing Ballmer's phone off the hook demanding the removal of the "close button" and "window chrome." All of a sudden, the desktop was this evil "legacy" thing (who needs to look at more than one application at once????), that people wanted to get rid of.
No, I'm not fracking exaggerating.
Professionally: In the past, I've admin'd SUSE Enterprise Server and Redhat Enterprise for mapping/GIS services (ESRI ArcGIS products) - before Google Maps and when Google Earth was known as "Keyhole." Also CentOS for infrastructure (DNS, sendmail, squid).
Professionally nowadays, I work in a Windows shop and the only Linux we have is the console instance in our VMware infrastructure which is all Windows servers/Windows VDI. We're moving to Hyper-V so that Linux console will be going away.
Hobby: Not as such. More half hobby/half infrastructure at my house. I have three CentOS virtual machines, one is my Plex media server/DLNA server, one is a Nagios Core box for host & service monitoring/alerts, and one is a tinker box which, to be quite honest, I use mainly to do 'whois' or 'dig' queries.
Dual Boot/Main OS: Since the advent of virtualization on x86/x64 platforms, I've never seen a good reason to dual boot. All of my Linux machines are the main OS in the VMs I have set up. All my physical machines are Windows.
Distros: SUSE, RHEL, and CentOS in the past professionally, the console in VMware at work, and CentOS at home. My virtual router is the Vyatta distribution. I have a couple Roku boxes, a WD Live, and an STB from Verizon -- they might be running Linux for all I know, but I couldn't care less, so I'm not sure. I do believe, however, that the WD Live runs Linux --- I can tell because it pukes and acts stupid if any DFS paths are involved with the media sources. I've owned a couple Android phones in the past. I tried ChromeOS on one of my netbooks, but I couldn't really figure out what the point of this distribution was, unless I was in the business of selling notebooks with no capabilities.
Specific Interests in Linux: I have none. It, like Windows, is a means to an end. My media server is Linux because I don't want to allocate all of the RAM and license money necessary for a Windows server to do this one thing. I run my network monitoring on Linux because I'm familiar with Nagios.
If we were to go by all of the new stuff being posted about for the last few years, we should, by now, have 6 separate cures for cancer, warp drive, have eliminated Alzheimer's, and batteries with endless power. Can't wait for the next breakthrough.
@Craig_Matthews: I understand not wanting to lock the OS into supporting those features. There were some problems when Twitter or Facebook changed the API, and they had to roll out an OS update. However, they should have come up with some kind of plug-in model that would have provided the same functionality.
That's exactly what they need. I certainly get maybe not tying the phone's OS to specific named services (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), but a plug-in model that you suggest would solve the problem nicely and obviously open it up to more than Twitter and Facebook.
The integration of everything from different places into hubs is most of the reason I bought this awesome monstrosity of a phablet and it's an example of where, IMO, devices should be going in the future. Having to go into the Facebook app when I want to bring up the photos from a friend's trip is going to definitely feel like a step backward into the "iPhone way" of doing things.
IMO, Windows Phone 8 is pretty much what Android wishes it was, and makes the iPhone look like a feature phone because WP8 is all about bringing all your stuff into your device in a consistent and useable manner. Now it seems they want to go in the iPhone direction unfortunately. That's a real shame because this phone, as it is, kills.