Before I start off I want to make it clear that I AM NOT trying to compare Mint and Windows 8. As a concurrent user of Mint 16 and Windows 8, I just have a few feature suggestions that I think could help Mint distance itself from other distros. I readily prefer Mint over Windows 8, so I am not trying to attack it. I don't think that these suggestions would have anything to do with Cinnamon, so I posted them here instead of GitHub. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Some (of the very few) features I like in Windows 8:
1) File History. I absolutely love this new feature of Windows 8. IMHO, it is one of the best features Microsoft has come up with. It basically backs up your personal files (Docs, Pics, Downloads, etc.) as they are updated to a local or network attached drive. You can set the time intervals between backup updates and also when to start deleting old files. Incorporating this natively into Mint Backup or a similar Mint program, I think, would help distinguish Mint from other distros. I am all for backup utilities and programs. While protecting from a complete hard drive failure, it also protects against accidental deletion/modification of files.
2) PIN Unlocking. This was another convenient addition in Windows 8. It is nice to be able to use a 4-digit PIN number to unlock your computer instead of having to type in your full password everytime. While probably not recommened in corporate environments, this is nice for personal and small business applications. Also, in Windows, if you enter a wrong PIN five times in a row, it makes you use your password. I realize that this might require a fundamental change in Linux to incorporate.
3) Store. Finally, the addition of the Windows store is great. They are the last major operating system to incorporate this, behind Linux and Mac OS X. I know Mint already has the Software Manager, however it is a little "lack luster" compared to some other "stores." The Mint software manager UI really could be improved, especially the home page. Just take a look at the Windows Store and Ubuntu.
I know I sit here and type things that I would like added to Mint, but I do realize that it does take developer time. I really do regret that I am unable to help out in development yet. Thank you to developers who can! Also, please realize that these suggestions/features are just my opinion. Others will (not may ) defer.