Lenovo to preload Start menu replacement on Windows 8 machines

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Microsoft is attempting a middle of the road compromise in response to one of the main complaints users have had with Windows 8: it’s set to bring back the Start button to the desktop. But rather than triggering the old and trusty Start menu, clicking on this button will still take you to the tile-based Start screen.

Fortunately third-party developers have been working to keep the classic desktop experience alive with their own take on the Start menu. One of them, Pokki, is set to get a major boost through a partnership with Lenovo.

San Diego-based SweetLabs, the company behind Pokki today announced a deal with the Chinese computer vendor to preinstall their app on new Windows 8 machines around the world. That’s quite a coup considering Lenovo is now the largest PC manufacturer worldwide; having the functionality out-of-the-box will enable the company to reach millions of users who otherwise wouldn’t have bothered to look for a Start menu replacement.

Perhaps more significantly, SweetLabs stands to gain an important piece of the app store market on Windows.

You see, aside from providing quick access to installed applications and things like the Windows control panel, Pokki features its own app distribution platform. The software was actually born as a platform for running web applications as standalone apps on your desktop, but since launching they’ve added their own store with things like in-app payments and paid app recommendations, a game arcade with titles from Zynga and others, and now they’re expanding to traditional Windows desktop apps. Windows 8’s Modern-style apps are not part of the deal, though, as those are exclusively distributed by Microsoft through the Windows Store.

SweetLabs previously announced a partnership with Acer to preload its game arcade on the company’s Windows 8 machines. The new deal means the company now has relationships with two of the top four computer makers.

Download: Pokki for Windows

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