Windows president Steven Sinofsky making the announcement in Japan. (Microsoft photo.)

Microsoft will distribute a “release preview” of Windows 8 during the first week of June, getting closer to finishing one of the biggest overhauls in the history of the company’s PC operating system.

Steven Sinofsky, the Windows president, announced the plan during a Windows developer event in Japan tonight, and Microsoft spread the news via Twitter.

The company hasn’t given a final release date yet.

Windows 8 comes with a new tile-based Start screen and interface designed to work across tablets and traditional PCs. Microsoft is counting on Windows 8, in part, to help the company rebound in the tablet computer market against Apple’s iPad and Android tablets.

Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would come in three primary editions: Windows 8 for consumers; Windows 8 Pro for enthusiasts and business professionals, and a version called Windows RT for machines running ARM processors common in mobile devices — part of the company’s effort to challenge the iPad. A fourth edition of Windows 8 will also be available for large companies.

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  • Guest

    MS really needs to rethink its development process. Apple has now had several years to know when W8 is going to drop (approximately) and to plan a spoiler, like an entry priced 7″ iPad, which you know is coming.

    • Guest

      Apples to oranges. Who would forestall purchasing a Windows 8 PC in favour of a 7″ iPod Touch?

      • Guest

        Similar people to those who have forestalled purchasing a W8 PC in favor of a 10″ iPod touch. Had a chance to review relative growth figures for both lately?

        Regardless, the main thrust of W8 is tablets, not traditional PCs. That’s where major growth is and MS is being disrupted most seriously. A 7″ iPad, announced preemptively, will lower the entry level to that family. As a result, it could steal sales from likely higher priced W8 powered tablets before they can gain any momentum. If W8 tablets fail to sell in decent volume initially, they will be written off as DOA by the media and marginalized, making it that much harder for MS to get a foot hold. And given how late to market and far behind they are already, the road to success in tablets is difficult enough as it is.

        • Guest

          W8 should have been W7.

        • Guest

          I don’t know a single man who considers iPad a replacement for a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. iPad is a fun toy to use to surf the web whilst sitting on the couch, but it does but a tiny fraction of that for which we use a PC.

          Of course growth rates for iPad are high, Henry. Nobody owned iPad three years ago. With more than 90% of households owning a PC, selling another PC is a lot more difficult than is selling a brand-new device.

          Honestly, Henry. The late Steve Jobs forbade iPad to be 7″, and we’re all about to find out why.

          • Guest

            Gary, you need to get out more. Even Cook admitted that iPad affected Mac sales this quarter in addition to PC sales. The tablet market is disrupting the PC market, particularly at the low end, and will ultimately be a much larger market overall. Gates himself predicted that a long time ago. He was just too early and of course thought MS would lead it, not Apple. A 7″ iPad will sell millions of units. Steve forbade a phone at one point too. He eventually came around. And of course he’s not running the show anymore.

          • Guest

            Tim wouldn’t know about non-Mac PC sales, Len. He only knows that Apple is selling fewer Macs and that’s his intention. Fine by him.

            More than 500 million PCs will be sold this year, and almost all of them will be running Windows. Almost all of them will cost less than a competing iPad and all of them will be capable of doing more things because their creators will not arbitrarily limit user capabilities based on a dead CEO’s whims.

            I’m not trying to stop you from buying iPad mini. I’m sure you’ll pick one up. I do know that you won’t give up your PC because of it.

          • Guest

            I recall mainframe supporters making the same argument when mini-computers emerged as a threat, and then the latter making it when PCs threatened them. Tablets will outsell traditional PCs within five years. You can stick you head in the sand and pretend it isn’t going to happen, but MS had better find a way to turn around their fortunes in this segment. Otherwise, they’re in the role of Digital Equipment or IBM before them.

  • rocky john

    Good to know about the Windows 8 ‘release preview’ coming first week in June

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