Microsoft unveils Windows 8, Surface tablet

NEW YORK, Thu Oct 25, 2012 – Microsoft Corp. launched its new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet on Thursday 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 early Thursday ahead of the launch.

Windows 8 devices and the company’s new Surface tablet, which aims to challenge Apple’s popular iPad head on, go on sale at midnight on Thursday.

Steven Sinofsky, head of Microsoft’s Windows unit and the driving force behind Windows 8, opened the launch event in New York in front about 1,000 media and PC industry partners.

He showed off Windows 8’s new look, but stressed that the system was built upon the base of Windows 7, Microsoft’s best-selling software that recently passed 670 million license sales.

The new design of Windows, which dispenses with the Start button and features square tiles for apps, may surprise some users. Initial demand appeared solid, but customers were wary.