[caption id="attachment_4771" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Windows 8's Start screen.[/caption] Intel CEO Paul Otellini reportedly told employees in Taiwan that Windows 8 still needs improvements despite its rapidly approaching release date. Otellini’s comments were reported by Bloomberg, which drew from an anonymous source who attended the private meeting. Intel declined to offer an official comment on the matter. This isn’t the first time an Intel executive has said something controversial about Windows 8. In May 2011, Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, told the audience at an Intel company investor meeting that ARM-based versions of Windows 8—subsequently Windows RT—wouldn’t run programs designed for older versions of Windows. Microsoft pushed back hard against James’ comments, telling tech-media venues such as The Register that the comments were “factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading.” However, it’s something of a different matter when the comments come from Intel’s CEO coming roughly a month before Windows 8 reaches store shelves. The operating system, which replaces the “traditional” desktop interface of previous Windows editions with a Start screen composed of colorful tiles linked to applications, is designed to operate equally well on both tablets and PCs. At least in theory, that’ll allow Microsoft to maintain its dominance of the PC operating system market while making inroads into tablets, where Apple’s iPad and a variety of devices running Google’s Android operating system remain the dominant forces. In order to accomplish that goal, though, Microsoft must convince longtime Windows users that the new interface is one that suits their needs (for the truly old-school, a modified desktop interface is available via a click or tap on one of the Start screen tiles). It must also persuade businesses to eventually adopt the new operating system, even though many recently upgraded to Windows 7 and seem to like it just fine. And it must present third-party developers with the best possible reasons for building apps and cloud services for the new interface. That’d be a monumental task for any company, even one with a perfect operating system on offer. Compounding the challenge is Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which the company built in-house as its flagship Windows 8 device, but could end up alienating those manufacturing partners anxious to sell their own touch-screens. In light of all that, it will be interesting to see if—and how—Microsoft pushes back against Otellini’s reported comments.   Image: Microsoft