The new Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms have been on the receiving end of harsh words for months now. But the impending reveal of Windows Blue 8.1 is suddenly turning spurned allies into optimists.
Surprisingly, it hasn't just been the usual Microsoft critics attacking the platform. Partners like Samsung, Acer and Toshiba have all criticized Windows 8 for being less than successful.
In fact, at one point in March, a Samsung executive declared Windows 8 "no better than" Vista, while one anonymous OEM source told ZDNet that Microsoft is "destroying" the PC industry. Acer has also repeatedly harped on the platform as confusing, especially Windows RT, but it looks like Windows Blue 8.1 is slowly changing hearts and minds for the better.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Acer President Jim Wong said that Microsoft is taking OEM criticisms to heart, and that Windows Blue 8.1 is going to be a much better product.
"When we were talking to Microsoft, our input to them is balance," Wong said. "The world in the next five years is not going 100 percent to touch. Although touch makes a lot of possibilities for PCs, you need to take care of the rest of the world that doesn't need touch."
One of the biggest criticisms of Windows 8 is that it demotes the traditional Windows desktop experience in favor of the touch-oriented Metro Live Tile interface — regardless of whether you're using a tablet or PC. It ditched the Start button everyone was so familiar with, and didn't even allow the option to boot to the desktop.
Windows Blue 8.1 will supposedly fix many of these complaints. Microsoft hasn't confirmed any changes yet, but it has acknowledged the complaints and said it's working to make changes.
Meanwhile, Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said the fact that Microsoft is listening and changing its strategy is good for the future of the PC market:
"In the past we consider they (Microsoft) live in heaven," he quipped. "But now they go down to earth and they start to learn how people living on earth think."