Microsoft set for Windows 8 launch
The long wait for Windows 8 is almost at an end, with the new operating system marking a key moment in the history of the company.
The success and general reception to Windows 8 is expected to be crucial for Microsoft to retain their status as market leader in the PC operating system and office suite fields. Data from March 2011 shows that around 75 per cent of PC users had some form of Windows operating system, with Apple's OSX and Linux making up the remaining quarter of users. At one stage the figure using Windows was closer to 95 per cent.
However, since the rise of the tablet computer and the subsequent market dominance of the iPad, in addition to the massive improvements in smartphone technology, Microsoft's share of the intelligent devices sector is a mere 32 per cent.
Windows 8 moves with the times
A feature of Microsoft's success over the years has been their willingness to adapt, and Windows 8 is a further example of this. Radical changes to the system have been made, with the traditional start menu system replaced with a dynamic user interface designed to be used as a touchscreen.
There are also significant changes to security which Microsoft hopes will help to prevent viruses being able to damage systems. These include both number and picture based passwords upon sign in. In addition to password security, there are also enhanced parental control features.
Also on offer from the new release is increased support for mobile broadband, the Windows Store application and an app called SmartGlass which relates to fellow Microsoft product the Xbox 360.
Windows 8 is being offered as a downloadable upgrade for existing users, priced at $39.99 (£24.99). This offer will run until the end of January 2013, at which stage the price of the system will be increased. There are a total of three variations of the Windows 8 product, two for Intel based computers (Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro) and the tablet focused Windows 8 RT.
Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword commented: "This is arguably one of the most exciting tech releases of 2012, and it will be fascinating to see how the system runs in practice. The features that have already been announced certainly seem interesting, but as with any new product it is not until the general public gets their hands on it that the true potential is revealed."