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'Dated and cheesy' Aero ripped from Windows 8

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Microsoft must really love Windows 8, or hate its legacy install base.

The Aero interface introduced with the hated Windows Vista and perpetuated with the loved Windows 7 is being canned from Windows 8, the company has revealed.

In another achingly long Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft called the Aero interface it once championed and poured so much love upon "dated and cheesy". Yes, Windows 7 peeps, it's official: you're using a cheesy-lookin' piece of software.

Now, it’s all about pretending your PC is a Windows Phone with Metro. Pull on your hipster chunky jumper, roll up your coloured jeans and let me explain over a flat white.

Jensen Harris, director of program management for Windows user experience team, wrote here:

Aero gave the appearance of highly-rendered glass, light sources, reflections, and other graphically complex textures in the title bars, taskbar, and other system surfaces. These stylistic elements represented the design sensibilities of the time, reflecting the capabilities of the brand-new digital tools used to create and render them. This style of simulating faux-realistic materials (such as glass or aluminum) on the screen looks dated and cheesy now, but at the time, it was very much en vogue.

If you keep reading, you'll see plenty of justification for making everything Metro: “fast and fluid” flows, longer battery life, ability to use the Metro tiles, use of touch... the list goes on and on, reading like a statement of design principles for Windows 8 rather than a list of technical justifications.

Microsoft is supposed to release the Windows 8 release candidate in about three weeks’ time but so far it has given just a sniff of what the finished Windows 8 UI will look like. Many remain in the dark as to how programming for this thing will work.

Traditionally when Microsoft launched a new version of Windows, it carried over the older apps – it had to, to ensure uptake. This time, it seems like the older apps are being treated like second-class citizens for the sake of Metro, swiped off to a land of dragons.

By cutting out the Aero Glass, Microsoft is going to make sure these apps get kicked a further class down for the sake of the Metro UI.

And if you want a measure of how bad things are, consider this comment from Windows group president Steven Sinofsky opening this latest epic humungousness of a Windows 8 blog post.

Sinofsky wrote:

With millions of people using the Consumer Preview for their daily work, we’ve seen just as many points of view expressed. Many people – from David Pogue of the New York Times to Mat Honan from Gizmodo and many more – have been quite positive, and others less so, most notably in the comments on this blog, where we’ve seen the rich dialog we’d hoped for.

Using journalists as your defence while expressing a problem with the negative comments of your actual audience on the Windows 8 blog? Things must be worse than we thought.

Sinofsky is the Microsoft exec who has driven Windows 8 and the Metro UI – Microsoft’s supposed answer to iOS on tablets – and driven them hard. But as Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard Graf von Moltke is famed for having said: "No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy."

That must be how Sinofsky is feeling right now as the Windows 8 launch approaches. ®

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