The sheer audacity of Windows 8 was enough to set it apart. It was startling, the kind of uncompromising upheaval you almost never see from a frontrunner. Despite obvious missteps—big, idiotic, self-inflicted ones, more often than not—it always gave the sense that it was just wrong-footed, correctable stuff, never cause for a total retreat. Except, if recent reports are to be believed, that’s just what Microsoft seems to be doing. Retreating. And we really hope it doesn’t.