- Title: USA: Microsoft unveils Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet
- Date: 25th October 2012
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 25, 2012) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF NEW MICROSOFT STORE
- Embargoed: 9th November 2012 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Business,Communications
- Reuters ID: LVABT1LKPER7TXXDNRWLBEV3NCF7
- Story Text: Microsoft Corp launched its new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet on Thursday (October 25) in a bid to revive interest in its flagship product and regain ground lost to Apple Inc and Google Inc in mobile computing.
"We've reimagined Windows and we've reimagined the whole PC industry," Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told Reuters Television.
Windows 8 devices and the company's new Surface tablet, which challenges Apple's popular iPad head on, go on sale at midnight on Thursday.
Microsoft unveiled the new Windows 8 at a launch event in New York in front about 1,000 media and PC industry partners.
Windows 8 can be used on devices made by various computer makers, as well as on the Surface tablet, the first computer Microsoft has made itself.
"What we think we've done is hit a very good balance of bringing along the applications and user the experience that people know and love and need to sort of do what they do everyday, personally and professionally and then we've added in a seamless way these additional capabilities and additional hardware," said Ballmer.
Computer maker Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. said consumers should be excited.
"I think what we have with Windows 8 is a real reason to buy a new PC with new features, new capabilities and I think that will be interesting certainly to users that are in the market," he said.
Dell added, "Getting the tablet and PC to work together has been a real nightmare, particularly if you are trying to secure your information. Now we have one product that basically does both. It's a tablet and a PC."
Ross Rubin, technology analyst at Reticle Research also thought consumers will take to the combination tablet and PC.
"You'll be able to use the notebook with the apps that you've already had and used, but perhaps be able to take the tablet piece screen off the keyboard and use it on your couch much as you would an iPad," said Rubin.
Microsoft's Surface has a starting price of $499 (USD) for the 32 GB version.
Through the end of January, users running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 can download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $40 (USD).
Initial demand for Windows 8 appeared solid, but customers are wary of spending money on unnecessary technology in the tight economy.
While Windows 7 was introduced three years ago, Windows 8 represents the biggest change in Microsoft's user interface since Windows 95 came out 17 years ago.
The radical redesign, which dispenses with the Start button and features square tiles for apps, may surprise some users.
Colin Gillis, a technology analyst at BGC Partners, said he is confident people will overcome their fears about a new operating system.
"I think, you know the thing is that it is a radical change to the operating system so those people who don't want to have a learning curve are going to be resistant to it. The fact that some of your familiar icons are now gone and that it is much more of a tile-centered operating system. But the other thing is, it is going to be fast and light and snappy and all those things should overcome that initial curve," he said.
Microsoft has not said how many apps Windows 8 will have at the launch, but it is expected to be a fraction of the 275,000 available to iPad users. The New York Times Co announced a reader app for Windows 8 on Thursday and Amazon.com Inc launched a Kindle e-book app for the new system, but some big names such as Facebook Inc are not expected to feature.
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