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Microsoft officially releases Windows 8 and Windows RT

Today Microsoft stepped on stage and released its Windows 8 and Windows RT to the tech world in what was largely conceived as the biggest Windows release ever. Availability starts today and active Windows 7 customers can upgrade starting from $39.99.

Microsoft talked OS features, integration along a wide variety of devices, the services that are launching alongside the OS and demoed all of them.

Windows 8 is released with a couple of services in tow. Those are Xbox Music, Videos, Games and also Skype. All Windows 8 users will get unlimited streaming of music via Xbox Music free of charge.

Microsoft’s speakers (CEO Steve Ballmer included) were keen on repeating that the Windows 8 PCs are the “Best PCs Ever”. There are around 670 million PCs currently, which are compatible with Windows 8 and Ballmer expects around 400 million to come out with Windows 8 out of box.

The Windows 8/RT store was also a big part of the event. Currently there are close to 8000 apps available, which isn’t as good as Apple’s numbers but Steven Sinofsky pointed out that the Windows Store has the most number of apps for an app store on its launch day.

A big part of the Windows 8/RT release was the emphasis on touch – the fact it can support a mouse and hardware keyboard but that it was ultimately designed to work as a touch-only OS. pre-Win8 ultrabooks as well as post-Win8 tablets and notebooks were used to demonstrate that.

Finally Windows 8 is much faster than its predecessor in every way, has the new Modern UI but still retains the familiar but slightly refreshed Windows 7 look.

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