No Start Menu, no Win8
If M$ is planning on bringing back the Start Menu back in Win9, there is absolutely NO technical reason they can't bring it back in 8.1.1, or even via a hotifx; there are dozens of products out there that do it today. Since that is the only significant major change they haven't backed away from at least partially, and it is the primary reason so many people viscerally hate Win8. it can only be pride or misplaced marketing, trying to force everyone to get used to the tablet/phone interaface and thus boost M$'s offerings there. I don't think the marketing idea makes a bit of sense, given current results, but marketeers are seldom driven by facts or logic.
That being said, under Ballmer, my money was on pride, and he's gone now, but either way, a pox on their house if they wait.
But hey, maybe they're trying to keep up the string of good OS, bad OS...