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Microsoft co-founder dings Windows 8 as 'puzzling, confusing'

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 3, 2012
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen today called Windows 8 'puzzling' and 'confusing initially,' but assured users that they would eventually learn to like the new OS.

In fact, Allen dedicated an entire section of this blog to the topic of "Puzzling aspects of the Windows 8 UI" that detailed everything from multiple-monitor desktop and notebook setups to the lack of a clock on the Start screen.

He concluded, however, that even with its out-of-the-box quirks, Windows 8 would be manageable by users and that Microsoft would address them in the next release. "While these changes may prove confusing initially, after a short period of discovery most of these changes should quickly become familiar," said Allen. And like most other long-time Windows users, he applauded Microsoft for assembling an OS suitable for tablets, the hottest category of computer-like devices.

"Touch seems a natural progression in the evolution of operating systems, and I'm confident that Windows 8 offers the best of legacy Windows features with an eye toward a very promising future," Allen wrote.

Allen's mere mention of Windows 8 was newsworthy: Computerworld could not find any evidence of Allen blogging about earlier editions of the OS such as 2009's very successful Windows 7 or the problem-plagued Windows Vista of 2007.

At times, however, Allen has not been shy about speaking up about the company he co-founded. Last year, for instance, Allen said Microsoft "needs to accelerate the pace of product development" to stay competitive with rivals Google and Apple.

Microsoft will start selling Windows 8 on Oct. 26, the same date its computer-making partners launch new hardware equipped with the operating system. Microsoft will also debut its Surface RT tablet -- which runs the Windows RT spin-off OS -- that day.

Now 59, Allen is worth an estimated $15 billion, enough to rank No. 20 on the 2012 Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. Company co-founder Bill Gates leads that list with a $66 billion net worth, while current CEO Steve Ballmer places No. 19 with $15.9 billion.


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