Personally I'd suggest that MS offer both options for the start menu.
I think that adding back the start menu is good enough. You can disable the hot corners and change file associations already in Win8.1.
You are misreading the article.
"The pass I think Paul is referring to is how is it OK for apple to do exactly the same thing to iWork that Microsoft did to windows 8 "
It is not exactly the same thing, and it is not the...
My personal favorite fiasco of the old Microsoft is the OS/2 2.0 fiasco.
I think MS is also allowing snap to work on 1024x768 with Win8.1. They are already allowing sales of it now but the manufacturer has to mention that it doesn't support snap.
I think MS is finally allowing 4:3 1024x768 tablets now, but the manufacturers have to warn users they don't support snap, which as mentioned in other comments will be fixed in 8.1.
In ring 3 it is a tremendous change (it introduced Win32 and some preemptive multitasking and memory protection that even Win32s did not have), though it did not eliminate all 16-bit code.
MS have never put things like IE upgrades into Service Packs.
I wonder how they decided to implement it. Do they translate these to DirectX calls or do they actually call OpenGL32.dll?