But why force what is a touch interface onto desktop machines where most people don't even have touch screens or such?
You don't have to use a touch screen to use Windows 8.
Like I said, it's Microsoft's attempt to provide a consistent look & feel interface across desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. I think it's a worthy objective. I admit that not having a consistent look & feel (and not having my office apps) is one factor that makes me hesitate when considering obtaining a tablet.