Prior to Windows 8, what exactly where people using to start applications if they were not using the start menu?
Or did they just notice the start menu was being used less often because people were keeping applications open?
90% of the people I see using windows have the desktop covered with icons to launch everything.
This is probably true, but it also illustrates the problem with Microsoft removing the Start Menu.
Removing the Start Menu provides zero benefit to the people who don't use it (they don't use it so they don't care if it's gone and removing it has no effect on how they do things) and makes things more difficult for the people who do use it.