Microsoft reveals 26 October launch for Windows 8

Microsoft has updated announcements that Windows 8 will be available in October, by revealing an exact launch date

Microsoft has revealed its Windows 8 operating system (OS) will launch on 26 October.

The date was announced at Microsoft's annual sales meeting and was published on its blog shortly after, according to the BBC.

The launch date also revealed when the first Microsoft Surface tablet will hit the shelves, as the ARM-based model is set to be released at the same time Windows 8 goes to market.

Confirming an October release date earlier this month at Microsoft's worldwide partner conference, Windows CFO Tami Reller said anyone looking to buy a PC or laptop running the current Windows 7 OS would be able to update to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.

Microsoft has described Windows 8, which includes a touch-controlled interface called Metro, as the most important redesign of its interface in more than a decade.

Windows 8 will be released in a version that runs on ARM-based chips for the first time, as well as versions for x86-based chips made by Intel and AMD.

Analysts said Microsoft is aiming to use the combined release of its Surface family of devices and the latest version of its operating system to capitalise on and capture some of the rapidly growing tablet computing market.

A key part of Microsoft's strategy is offering a single operating system that works on desktop and mobile devices, in contrast to rival Apple which has different operating systems for each.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has described Windows 8 as a key part of "the most important year" for Microsoft. “The core of Microsoft is reinventing itself for the modern era. It will be the best year ever,” he said at the worldwide Microsoft partner conference.

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