Microsoft pins its hopes on Windows 8

MICROSOFT last night took the wraps off Windows 8, the most radical redesign in the operating system’s history, in a bid to reignite consumer interest in the company ahead of today’s launch.

Steve Ballmer, the technology giant’s chief executive, also showed off the Surface, Microsoft’s first tablet computer, at yesterday’s event in New York.

“We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs,” Ballmer said

Windows 8 and the Surface go on sale today, and demand for the software is expected to be strong, although the tablet computer – one of Microsoft’s few forays into hardware – has seen momentum somewhat spoiled this week.

Apple announced an iPad mini and a revamped iPad on Tuesday, while Amazon released its touchscreen Kindle Fire in the UK for the first time yesterday.

Windows 8 is the first major departure from a tried-and-tested formula from Microsoft since it unveiled its Windows 95 software 17 years ago. It features a new tile-based interface and support for touchscreen computers, with a similar design to its tablet and smartphone software.

The Surface will cost as little as £399 when it starts retailing today.