Microsoft said Windows 8 is now available for download and purchase, starting… (Microsoft )
Microsoft today officially launched Windows 8 and the new Windows Store.
The company said Windows 8, its latest operating system, will be available for purchase online and in stores today starting at $39.99. The operating system retains Windows' traditional desktop but also adds another view that is heavily geared toward touchscreen devices.
Windows President Steven Sinofsky said that more than 1,000 computers have been certified for Windows 8 and that there will be some Windows 8 PCs that'll sell for less than $300.
Sinofsky also said Windows 8 will work well with Windows 7 PCs, making them boot up faster and run more efficiently.
Additionally, Microsoft today launched an online store for Windows 8 apps similar to Apple's App Store. Sinofsky said it is launching with more apps than any competing stores when they launched.
Microsoft and Sinofsky also used Thursday to speak about Windows RT, which is a downsized version of Windows 8 that will be mostly used on tablet computers.
Windows RT uses an ARM processor, which is smaller, cheaper and uses less power than other computer chips. However, Windows RT can run only apps purchased from the Windows Store.
The first batch of Microsoft's flagship tablet, the Surface, launches Friday and runs Windows RT. A Surface tablet running the more robust Windows 8 operating software will launch later.
[Update 12:33 p.m. PDT, Oct. 25: Microsoft has clarified that technically Windows 8 doesn't launch until midnight tonight local time.]
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