Microsoft seems to be slowly stepping away from the desktop, at least on Windows RT if not the core Windows 8.1 operating platform. The company has decided to go all in with the Metro UI on its Windows on ARM solution.
The recently released Windows RT 8.1, for instance, removes the Desktop tile that was placed on the Start Screen of tablets running this particular flavor of the OS.
It is now not there by default, though users can return the tile to the Start Screen in any size. And it also exists in the All App View that is new to Windows 8.1, for users that do not want it on their Start Screen.
But in essence, desktop is now buried just a little deeper in Windows RT 8.1.
Sure, bringing it back is easy, but then again, the absolute beginners may have a bit of a hard time doing that, and would rather prefer to stick within the Metro environment.
In any case, the direction is plain evident.
The only problem is that Redmond has not yet launched a touch optimized Metro version of the Office productivity suite. It is in development, but Windows RT users currently have to make trips to the desktop — Office and Internet Explorer being the only applications they can run in the desktop mode.
Anyway, if you are in the market to buy a Surface 2, expect to add back the desktop tile the first time to start using your new tablet. If you want to, that is.