That is fantastic news!!
Looks like boot to desktop and start menu are coming back.
Here's the key passage:
Mary Jo Foley has reported on Microsoft’s plans to bring back the Start button and allow customers to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1 And I’ve separately confirmed that this is really happening, with the Start button, in particular, driven by upper management, which overruled objections from the Windows team.
And Paul Thurrott seems to have done yet another 180 on the Windows 8 interface:
One might theorize that this wrong-headed decisiveness is what led to Steve Sinofsky’s departure from Microsoft, and that the current edict to fix things from on high is something that could never have happened with him still in charge. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Microsoft, is belatedly, is finally listening to feedback from its customers and changing the product as a result. That is, by far, the most alarming thing that didn’t happen—Windows division protestations to the contrary notwithstanding—during the Sinofsky regime.
Put simply, Microsoft should have designed Windows 8 this way from the beginning, and didn’t because the Windows division was given too much free reign after its Windows 7 successes. And it’s doing it now because the leadership that triggered six years of ignoring customer wishes is no longer there. As a result, Windows 8.1 will more closely resemble Windows 7 than the original Windows 8 version.
This may also allay concerns about Microsoft pushing the Windows Store in users' faces: if people will now be able to use the Start Button (but will it call up the Start Menu?) and boot directly to the Desktop, it's hard to see how the Metro side and its app store can remain as obnoxious as they've been.
But all in all, it's good to hear that someone in charge at Microsoft might actually be listening to flesh-and-blood customers, as opposed to hiding behind a wall of "scientific data."