Money Minute: Microsoft Hits 'Back' on Windows; U.S. Middle Class Shrinks


Microsoft goes back to the future.

Many computer users have had trouble adapting to Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system, so the company is coming out next week with an update that brings back some features of Windows 7 and Windows XP. For instance, you'll be able to hit the start button and get the traditional looking desktop. It's also bringing back the familiar "X" and minus buttons to close and minimize various programs. The company calls the updates Windows 8.1. You can call it Windows Classic.

The definition of what's middle class varies, but this much is certain: fewer and fewer Americans consider themselves to be part of that vast middle.
A University of Chicago survey finds the number of people who place themselves in the middle class is now at the lowest level since it began measuring this 40 years ago. This has a very real impact on how much people spend, save and borrow.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 40 points Wednesday, closing within 4 points of its record high. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 8 points, and Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 5, moving to its second straight all-time high.

There are all sorts of theories about how to read the market, but one of the oldest is called the Dow Theory. It holds, in part, that when the Dow industrials and the Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT) reach records at the same time, that's called confirmation and it signals more gains ahead. Well, the Dow transports are there and the industrials are very close.

Not much has gone right for Detroit lately. It's the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy. But now a bankruptcy court judge has given the city the okay to borrow $120 million in order to buy new police and firefighting vehicles and make other purchases to improve urgent needs. The judge said the city isn't meeting "the basic needs of its citizens."

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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The term 'middle class' is a corporate media term. Most people have to work for a living, unless they are Gates.

Capitalism is a system that moves money from working people to the pockets of the rich. We se this glaringly now as many people have no homes, cannot pay utillity bills, have no transportation, no education or acce4ss to public education, are swaddled in debt and social mobility goes down.

the Golden Years of capitalism in america, 1948-1973 have been over for some time. The destruction of unions, which had 35% of US workers in them in the 1950's during the Golden Years of Capitalism, has left the ruling elite with the ability to decimate jobs, outsource them and insource immigrant labor and HB1 visa workers.

This is all a deliberate attempt to steal from people, both at the work place and from the pulbic treasury.

Plutocracy reigns now and any talk of a middle class is pure hyperbole.

It is the next generation and the old that will and are suffering. As America falls into a sink hole created and financed by Wall St and the capitalist class, we will see less jobs, more cuts to social security provisions and an all out attack on what remains of unions. they now have only 7% of the workforce.

Wthout an organized working class there can only be misery ahead.

We have two classes now: the unemployed, retired and workers and the one percent.

People, wake up and smell the outhouse not the coffee house.

April 03 2014 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The American middle class has been eroding for over 50 years. The fault of our shrinking middle class is our own doing. The middle class dominated over two decades. The 50's and 60's. It's been downhill since. The middle class has not made itself visible to the 535 politicians who collectively run our country. Moreover, we did not elect the right politicians. Instead we let the smaller and more powerful wealthy class do our bidding. We have also let our lower income fellow Americans make their choices heard. Middle class Americans have taken a back seat. It's our fault and it's time to fix our future. A good start would be to get out our vote in every local and national election. The middle class should vote for candidates of either party who meet our criteria. Most importantly, we need quality candidates whose education and desire for public service can be qualified and quantified. Our candidates should come from all backgrounds with high education qualifications, a net worth under 1 million dollars, and a desire to serve within term limits that reflect the desire of the middle class. We don't need to establish new term limit laws. We just need the candidates who will do their jobs with two or three terms and then leave office. What we have now is a club with politicians who are wealthy and enjoy the perks of their office. There first priority is reelection. They have gerrymandered their districts to make reelection easier. If we desire a stronger country both socially and economically, then the middle class must collectively make their voices heard. Let's wipe the slate clean with the current group of politicians and democratically start electing the right future candidates for political office both locally and nationally. It's not a republican or democratic issue as the cable media would have us believe. The media unfortunately has a stake financially in polarizing the American electorate. Goodbye to them, goodbye to the current club of politicians in Washington, DC. Let's elect American candidates from all walks of life who are true public servants. It's up to middle class Americans to stand up and work toward a stronger America.

April 03 2014 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hard to believe because in many parts of the country real estate especially new homes are going for 1 million plus and there are plenty of buyers.

April 03 2014 at 2:54 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Davie2743's comment

That is money from Daddy for the down payment

April 03 2014 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can't have a strong middle class without a strong manufacturing base. You cannot do it with a service economy. Selling each other foreign made goods is the road to poverty.

April 03 2014 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

It's frustrating how inaccurate some of the details pertaining to Microsoft and Windows are in this article. For one, Window 8.1 came out last year in the fall of 2013 -- about a year after Windows 8.1 Many of the features you've mentioned that Microsoft is brining back were still in Windows 8, it was just difficult for some "traditional" users to access them because of unfamiliarity with the new UI (or "Modern UI") and start screen... All Windows 8.1 did was bring many of those traditional features that were bured by the new UI back towards the surface, and added more choice to the traditional user. The update that comes out on April 8 is called Windows 8.1 Spring Update, and continues the work that Microsoft started with Windows 8.1 -- making more of the traditional Windows UI elements accessable in the modern UI for the regular mouse/keyboard based computers.

April 03 2014 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to markradaba's comment

Call it whatever you want, Microsoft decided to reinvent the wheel and move everything that everyone knew houw to use to new locations with different icons. While a teenager may be able to figure out all of those things, and they are used to using devices like smart phones and tablets, the older generation, especially those who grew up and got near retirement before a cellphone did everything under the sun but wipe your butt, those changes are very unwelcome and confusing.
There is a huge backlash over dropping support for Windows XP because many still in use programs don't work properly on the newer OS. We don't want to learn a whole new program, we don't want to buy a whole new program and we don't want to have to spend forever trying to find commonly used things like the save or close button.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

April 03 2014 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was President Obama's Vice President Joe Biden who not too long ago said that the middle class has been buried under Obama.

April 03 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to debwschultz's comment

The only intelligent thing he has said in over 5 years!

April 03 2014 at 3:25 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

They doubled how much you click and move around the mouse. If your work depends on a compute, then all MS did with W8 is double your workload.

April 03 2014 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Microsoft is finally getting the word. Windows 8 is terrible. Windows 7 was good.

April 03 2014 at 12:03 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Repuiblicans still want the end to social security and medicare. Shameful. Now if you are on social security and medicare thank a democrat, if you want to end these 2 fine programs vote republican.

April 03 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to toosmart4u's comment

Really? Exactly where do you get your lies from?

April 03 2014 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

social security and medicare will fail if something isn't done. with the approval of obama care, medicare will now fail even faster. yet all you do is accuse the republicans of wanting to kill social security and medicare, when nothing could be farther from the truth. they at least have the guts to want to try and fix it, while democrats lie about them wanting to take both from seniors.

April 03 2014 at 2:17 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
worried man

Windows 8.1 is not much better than 8. It is impossible to find anything on your computer. In large part it is designed to have you buy more software, apps, music, etc. Bing weather is never right I wonder where they get that report from. I have been working every day to make it look like windows WP or 7 and I have had partial success. I noticed that Costco dropped all computers with windows 8 because everyone was returning them. Now their computers come with 7.
On the middle class: Yes the jobs are gone forever, most likely. Remember there are only the haves and the have nots, both republicans and democrats alike. Good Luck !

April 03 2014 at 11:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to worried man's comment

Not heard anything about Costco, but that would be one way to get Microsoft to pay attention to their customers.

April 03 2014 at 11:33 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply