Waiting with bated breath for Windows 8? Microsoft today officially revealed that the highly anticipated operating system will be available this fall, as was widely rumored.
Windows 8 will be released to manufacturing the first week of August and the first PCs running the new operating system will go on sale at the end of October, Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Windows, said at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide.
"Windows 8 is simply the biggest deal from our company in at least 17 years," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during the first keynote of the conference. "It's a huge opportunity for our partners, and a very big deal for Microsoft."
At RTM, meanwhile, Microsoft will also turn on its commerce platform, which will allow developers to start earning money from their apps. More details about that will be released soon, the company said. At this point, apps are free to try within the Windows 8 Release Preview.
Microsoft officials also touted the success of other products during the event. To date, more than 630 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold, and more than half of enterprise desktops today are running Windows 7, Reller said. Also, Microsoft Office is currently on more than a billion desktops worldwide.
Meanwhile, Microsoft on Monday also announced plans to acquire Perceptive Pixel Inc. (PPI), a six-year-old maker of large-scale multi-touch workstations, for an undisclosed amount.
"The acquisition of PPI allows us to draw on our complementary strengths, and we're excited to accelerate this market evolution," Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft's Office Division, said in a statement. "PPI's large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration."
In other Windows 8 news, Microsoft last week announced that users with PCs running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99. Users in 131 markets will be able to purchase the upgrade package at windows.com when Redmond releases the new operating system this October.
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