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Microsoft to ring in Windows 8 with major launch event

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promises Windows 8 will 're-imagine the world from the ground up.' 

By Matthew Shaer / September 17, 2012

Windows 8 is coming. Here, the operating system is shown on an Acer Aspire S7.

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Sure does feel like we've been talking about Windows 8 forever, doesn't it? 

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So here's a bit of good news: The long-awaited Microsoft OS will finally launch on Thursday, Oct. 25, at an event in New York City. Microsoft hasn't said much about what will happen at the event – you can get a look at the recently-released invite here – but expect a bunch of Windows 8 demos on tablets and PCs, and an exuberant keynote address from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO.

In fact, as he demonstrated in an interview with the Seattle Times, Ballmer is already framing the release of Windows 8 as a historic landmark for Microsoft. 

"Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it," Ballmer told the newspaper over the weekend. "It's a little hard to compare things like the founding (of the company) and the introduction of the first popular PC and the system that popularized it, but it's at that scale."

Microsoft, Ballmer later added, was trying to "really re-imagine the world from the ground up with Windows 8." 

He's not wrong. Whereas Windows 7, which was released in 2009, remained very much in line with previous Windows releases, Windows 8 finally brings Microsoft into the tablet and smartphone era. There's a truly touchscreen-compatible interface, a tiled design, and an online store where users can purchase new desktop apps. Microsoft has even removed its iconic, four-color "Start" button. 

Windows 8 will ship in a range of builds, including Windows RT (for tablets) and Windows Pro, a deluxe edition for engineers and security professionals. 

Planning on picking up Windows 8? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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