Microsoft unveils Windows 8 for public test | Reuters

29 Feb

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp unveils the first widely available test version of Windows 8 on Wednesday, giving the public the first chance to try out the slick, new-look operating system it hopes will restore the company’s fading tech supremacy.

Windows 8, as the first Microsoft operating system compatible with low-power microprocessors designed by ARM Holdings Plc, will run on tablets as well as desktops and laptops.

“The operating system has begun to be seen as largely irrelevant,” said Sid Parakh, an analyst at fund firm McAdams Wright Ragen, which holds Microsoft shares. “This is the release that will have to prove its relevance all over again.”

Tablets and smartphones and cloud computing have made Bill Gates’ vision of “a computer on every desk and in every home” seem quaint, and Apple Inc and Google Inc and Amazon.com now set the agenda for the computing industry.

Still, all of those companies’ fancy new hardware devices need basic operating software, and Microsoft is betting there is still more than a little room for Windows.

“The big increment here is that it’ll be viable on the ARM platform, that there’ll be a tablet form factor — that kind of makes it a big deal,” said Dan Hanson, a portfolio manager at BlackRock, which holds 5 percent of Microsoft’s shares through various funds. “Microsoft correctly identified the relevance of the tablet form factor over a decade ago. This operating system may allow them to finally execute.”

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Microsoft unveils Windows 8 for public test | Reuters.

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