It’s been a long time coming, but we finally know the release date of Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 8. By sending out press invites this morning, Microsoft confirmed that Redmond is storming Manhattan to celebrate one of Microsoft’s most anticipated – and feared – launches in the history of the company.
Although it seems forever ago, now, it was just under two years ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called Windows 8 the company’s “riskiest bet” yet. At the time, it seemed a curious statement for Mr. Ballmer to make, considering the fact that Windows 7 was widely considered to be one of the most successful pieces of software of all time, smashing all sorts of sales and install records.
Of course, now we know a lot more about the new OS, and it’s clear that Microsoft has gone in a direction that few seriously contemplated. In the search for a unified Microsoft look across all of their brands – Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox – the company has forced a revolutionary change in the way that people use their computers.
Not all revolutions are viewed favorably by history, of course, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can really pull off this wildly drastic shift in desktop user interface paradigms.
On the plus side, small developers have the opportunity to reach a lot of eyeballs, thanks to the built-in app store. On the down side, more than one manufacturer is promising to disable the default behavior, which is to boot to the Start Screen, instead of the desktop.
Regardless, we’ll be on hand to check out the latest and greatest from Microsoft. Be sure to stay tuned to our ongoing The Wait for 8 series for the newest Windows 8 coverage.