Windows Vista and Windows 7 have supported desktop gadgets. Windows Vista came with a sidebar that could hold these gadgets in a neat arrangement. This sidebar was gone in Windows 7 but the gadgets are still available for placement on the desktop itself.
Online sources are reporting that Microsoft plans to kill support for these gadgets in the gold edition of Windows 8.
This looks like a reasonable decision considering the Metro UI of Windows 8 feature live tiles which can show updated information fetched from the web. Developers can literally create widgets inside tiles.
Microsoft is yet to comment on these reports in the media.