Windows 8

Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Windows Division, announced during the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Global Exchange Conference in Atlanta, that Friday, October 26 is the date when the company will start selling Windows 8, a little over 3 months from now. Last week, the company had announced that Windows 8  will be released in late October, but hadn’t confirmed the date.

The operating system will be available pre-loaded on new PCs/laptops, and people can also upgrade their older versions for $40. This upgrade is much cheaper than any other Windows upgrades. A user who upgrades the OS will receive Windows 8 Pro, which is the more advanced of the two available editions. Windows 8 will have an app store for tablet-friendly programs, and the Start screen suitable for touch screens.

Windows 8 will reach RTM (released to manufacturing) stage in the first week of August. In RTM stage, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)certifies the operating system as ready to send to the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), where they start installing it in new PCs/laptops. The company officials said that Visual Studio 2012 and Windows Server 2012 will also be released to manufacturing during the same time.

Good news for business users with volume licensing contracts is that they can get Windows 8 as early as the last week of August, shortly after it is sent to OEMs. Microsoft is also expected to launch its highly anticipated Windows RT-based tablet, “Surface”, around the same time with Windows 8.

However, some facts still remain unclear. The company has announced the cost of upgrading the older operating systems to Windows 8, but hasn’t uttered anything about the price of full, non-upgrade edition, or the price of Surface tablets.