Crap or not crap?
I think the fact that most comments here are of the "crap" or "not crap" variety demonstrates how polarizing Windows 8 is.
The divisiveness surprises me a little, to be honest. Sure, it made sense at first, but I expected it to diminish after Windows 8.1-- not because 8.1 is amazing or anything, but because it made the OS functional enough for two distinct groups of users. As anyone who's read my editorials about 2-in-1 devices knows, I think Microsoft's convergence play will cater to niches for the immediate future-- so I'm not surprised that Windows tablet sales are still a bit soft. But I am surprised that desktop users have been so unimpressed by Windows 8.1.
When Windows 8 initially launched, I thought it offered an okay tablet UI that, thanks to Microsoft's strong arm tactics, significantly detracted from the desktop. When Windows 8.1 arrived, I thought it would silence some of this discontent. No, there's still not a Start Menu, but in less than five minutes, you can enable boot-to-desktop, disable hot corners, and otherwise banish most signs of the Modern UI and its touch controls. In essence, you can turn Windows 8.1 into a faster, more stable version of Windows 7 (minus the Start Menu). Even so, less than 40% of combined Windows 8/8.1 users are running the update (according to Net Applications), which doesn't suggest desktop users are rushing to upgrade.
As for the upcoming update to Win 8.1-- sounds pretty reasonable to me. It makes the OS friendlier to people with non-touch devices but doesn't retreat from the Modern UI on touch hardware-- not a bad way to go, considering the position in which Microsoft found itself heading into the update's development.
But Windows 8.1 hasn't caused much of a stir-- so will this update achieve more? In some ways, 2015's rumored Windows 9 sounds a lot like what Windows 8 should have been originally. But will this spring's update be enough to sustain things in the meantime? With Windows XP losing support just as this Windows 8.1 update (and allegedly cheaper devices) are set to debut, maybe Microsoft's new OS can finally make more than an incremental market share gain.