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Windows 8 arrives late October, Microsoft confirms

Windows 8 hits computers in late October, Microsoft has confirmed, following a launch for businesses in early August.

Windows 8 hits computers in late October, Microsoft has confirmed. The next generation of Windows for PCs and tablets will be available to computer-builders in the first week of August before a public launch in October -- and the Microsoft Surface tablets could well land at the same time.

October has been the rumoured release date for a while, but today Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Windows, narrowed down the date at a conferece for Microsoft's partners.

Manufacturers are set to start putting Windows 8 in their new laptops, desktops and tablets from the start of August. There are a couple of different versions of the new operating system, including Windows RT, which is designed specifically for tablets.

Microsoft is getting into hardware in a big way with the Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Surface Pro. It seems almost certain they'll go on sale at the same time as Windows 8 in October, a date that may also see Windows Phone make the controversial leap to Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft also revealed at the conference in Toronto that it has has sold 630 million Windows 7 licences. That's an awful lot of Windows users, who Microsoft is hoping will carry on to Windows 8. The only hurdle is that Windows 8 has a radical new look, based on the colourful square live tiles of Windows Phone. It's conducive to phones, tablets and touchscreen interfaces, but is yet to be proven on laptops, desktops and computers where you don't interact so much by touching the screen.

To steer existing Windows users towards Windows 8, Microsoft will offer a discount on upgrades.  

Will you switch to Windows 8? In the meantime, check out our history of 25 years of Windows. Will Windows 8 be a worthy Window? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.