Microsoft officially launches Windows 8

Microsoft officially launches Windows 8

New OS will finally go on sale across the world at 12:01am on Friday morning

Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 8 today in a packed New York venue, with consumers able to buy the operating system and new Windows 8 devices from midnight tonight.

The event was presented by the two most important men at Microsoft: Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, and CEO Steve Ballmer.

Between them they kept the launch short and relatively focused, but still managed to hit the core messages numerous times.

Apps and the Microsoft Store are a key part of the package: Windows 8 isn’t just an operating system. The range of Windows 8 devices, and there are over 1,000 of them, is the best ever. And the Windows 8 experience is “magical” and crosses over between work and play.

Nevertheless, there was a tacit acknowledgement that users could find the new OS a challenge to use at first, with Sinofsky announcing that every new copy of Windows 8 will come with a simple how-to guide.

Ballmer used the keynote to fight back against claims that the PC is dead. "Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC really is. Are these new designs PCs? YES. Are these new designs tablets also? YES.”

Read our two-part review of Windows 8 for PCs and laptops, and for tablets and touchscreen devices.

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