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Microsoft announces Windows 8 launch date: October 26

Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 8, will be rolled out from October 26, the company announced late Wednesday.

The date is almost three years to the day since its predecessor, Windows 7, was launched.

“Just a few minutes ago, [Microsoft Windows president] Steven Sinofsky announced at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that customers will be able to get Windows 8 – whether in upgrade fashion or on a new PC – starting on October 26th,” the company’s Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a post on the Windows blog.

The Redmond-based company is resting much on the success of the highly anticipated OS – one that will work with tablets, such as its forthcoming Surface device, as well as with PCs. The Surface tablet, unveiled to great fanfare on June 18, is also expected to hit stores late October.

When DT’s Jeffrey Van Camp took a look at a preview edition of Windows 8 back in March, he liked what he saw but understood that at that stage the system still needed some tweaking. He concluded by saying that if Microsoft ironed out the creases present in the preview edition, it’d have “a fighting chance to retain PC dominance and regain some excitement.”

PC owners currently running Windows XP or Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 for a reasonable fee of $40 – a price much lower than what Microsoft used to charge for such upgrades.

In an effort to prevent a sudden dip in PC sales caused by consumers waiting for October’s launch of Windows 8, the computer giant said it’ll knock $25 off the cost of upgrading for anyone who buys a Windows 7 PC between now and October 26. The discount will also apply to anyone who bought a Windows 7 PC between the start of June and today.