14: Windows 8.1
If you can put aside its disappointing app store inventory and confusing Live Tile interface, Windows 8 has always been a solid operating system—precisely because its desktop features improve on Windows 7.
You get an improved file system, speedy performance, and elegant cloud integration. And now, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft offers traditional PC users even more, including a boot-to-desktop option and various features that make the schism between “old” and “new” Windows less pronounced.
Microsoft still has a long way to go in perfecting its new Windows vision, but Windows 8.1 is definitely a product of the year—on notoriety if not on merit.