Microsoft stumbled badly with the release of Windows 8. What happened and why, became bottomless subjects for the blogging technorati. A consensus formed that they rushed a touch UI out the door because Apple once again one upped them in the tablet market with the iPad.
The criticism of Windows 8 has mostly been about "Metro," touch, and lack of a desktop UI. I have gone as far as to call it Vista 2.0, but only because it flopped like Vista. Truth be told, unlike Vista, Windows 8 is a fast OS that requires fewer resources than even Windows 7 (if you don't count touch). If it were not for its requirement for PAE, NX, and SSE2, technology older processors don't have, it could extend the life of a lot of older PCs.
When will Windows 9 be released?
Is subscription based licensing for Windows inevitable?
A real start menu
Of course, there are plenty of other ways Microsoft can improve the next Windows. With Windows 8, they have shown that a Windows OS can be fast and light on resource requirements. It is unfortunate this was so overshadowed by a poorly executed user interface.
I'm betting the next version of Windows will be such a success, Microsoft's customers will soon forget Windows 8, and it will take its place alongside Windows ME and Vista as ordeals we will brag about surviving.
Besides the obvious start menu, what would you like to see in the new Windows? What will it take to get you to upgrade?