In Pictures: Microsoft's 13 biggest wins and fails of 2012

It's been a busy year for Microsoft, including its challenges to Apple and Google on mobility

Fail: The new Start Screen antagonizes PC users

UI experts and public opinion have judged the touch-centric Windows 8 Start Screen to be a challenging and even antagonistic interface for PC users working with keyboards and mice. The so-called modern UI is engaging on touchscreen devices, but requires too much cursor hovering, right-clicking, and all-around "did I do that right?" guessing. The UI's also poorly integrated with the desktop side of Windows, and living with the OS day in and day out means struggling with file associations and system settings that are split between the system's two disparate halves. The nail in the coffin? You can't boot directly into the Windows 8 desktop. Omitting that option might have been Microsoft's biggest public relations failure of the year.

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