Brad Chacos, former MPC contributor, recently wrote an extremely informative article explaining Microsoft's vision and how they are organizing the company to provide a unified experience. In it, he forecasts a grim future for the desktop:
"The desktop is the past for Microsoft; the modern UI vision is the future...The die is cast."
After reading his article, I was left with mixed emotions. On one side, he provided a compelling argument justifying the move to Metro and how Microsoft planned to implement it. I can say it was probably the best explanation I had ever seen. Not only did I understand the motive and reasoning, I agreed with it! And it looked like Microsoft was taking the right steps to implement it.
On the flip side, I felt like a part of what makes Windows "Windows" was dying. It's a familiar part of the experience for me. Currently, I don't think Metro is the appropriate replacement to the desktop. At work, and at home, I run several windows across two screens. I use some windows in tandem and have others running in the periphery so I can monitor them with a quick glance. Metro's current big, bubbly, full-screen applications would significantly hinder my experience, not to mention drastically impact my productivity.
With Win 8, the desktop feels crippled. When I switch to it I feel like Microsoft has intentionally made the experience unfriendly and burdensome, like I'm being punished for wanting to use it (and after reading Chacos's article, perhaps there's some truth to that). I hope 8.1 fills in some gaps and allows for a better experience and functionality of the desktop.
So...is 8.1 the desktop's swan song? Are we destined to a PC experience where you're allowed to see one app at a time and you have to search for an imaginary trigger that pulls out hidden menus? Or will the desktop live on and persevere? Has it become tradition, a part of Windows that will continue in future versions (like the Accessories folder)?
NOTE: I intentionally did not linked Brad's article in this post. It is available on the internet and you should be able to find it using a basic search with some of the terms used above.