Microsoft will make changes to the Windows 8 Start screen based on user feedback, according to a company executive.
Speaking to PC Pro in London today, the company's general manager of platform strategy, Tim O'Brien, suggested next month's Windows 8 beta will make amendments to the divisive Start screen menu.
The Windows 8 Start screen currently defaults to the new, tile-based Metro interface. More controversially, when users click on the Start button in the tradtional Windows desktop, they are immediately thrown back to the Metro screen.
O'Brien said Microsoft will react to the feedback received on the Building Windows 8 blog, which devoted a lengthy post to the Start screen in October last year. "Some of the changes you'll see on the Start screen are based on feedback from developers on that blog," O'Brien explained.
Windows chief Steven Sinofsky admitted on the blog last year that forcing Windows 8 users to run the touchscreen-oriented Metro - irrespective of whether they're using a tablet, laptop or desktop PC - had angered some early testers.
"We've seen some small amount of visceral feedback focused on 'choice' or 'disable' — a natural reaction to change, but perhaps not the best way to have a dialog leading to a new product," Sinofsky wrote.
Microsoft then spent the rest of the lengthy post justifying the decision to apply Metro by default, but promised modifications such as increasing the number of tiles displayed on larger screens, and a redesigned Apps screen that makes it easier to scan through long lists of installed apps.
O'Brien couldn't confirm what features will be tweaked ahead of the beta, which is due to be released at the end of next month.
O'Brien, who is tasked with evangelising Windows app development, claimed there had been huge interest in the Windows Store, which will be launched in beta form alongside the beta of Windows 8.
He described the investment in Metro as "fairly significant", pointing to the recent Metro-style overhaul of the Xbox interface as evidence of Microsoft's whole-hearted support for the new approach.
He refused to be drawn on which of Microsoft's own applications would be given the Metro treatment, conceding only that "any first-party app is certainly in the consideration set".
O'Brien added that the pool of third-party developers has never been greater, ranging from "nine, ten, eleven year olds" right through to professional developers. He said that the soon to be released Windows developer kit for Kinect was helping to attract young developers to Microsoft. "When we talk to students in schools, we get asked about it [Kinect] quite a lot," he added.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk