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.