Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) newest version of its operating system, Windows 8, is ready for release to developers and testers, the company said on Thursday.
The company said it had met the `release to manufacturing' deadline, an important milestone which means that the software code can now be sent to original equipment manufacturers such as computer and hardware makers who can then start testing their devices and software on the new platform.
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"A short while ago we started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners," said Stephen Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows group, in a blog post Wednesday.
Last month it had announced that users will actually get the software from Oct 26 onwards. Those who are already running Windows will get to upgrade to the new operating system at a price of $39.99 while it also offering upgrades to Windows Pro 8 at a low price of $14.99 for those who purchased Windows 7, between June 2, 2012 and Jan 2013.
Incidentally on Oct 26, the company also plans to launch Surface, the first of its tablets, announced earlier.
For the world's largest software company, Windows 8 is an important launch coming nearly four years after the launch of Windows 7 in 2009. It is also banking quite a bit on launch of its tablets, which run on Windows RT.
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After the failure of the earlier hyped-up Vista which dented the company's image, it now has to prove that it can do it again and that it still has a lot of power left in the software world.
In a world of rapid technological innovation where companies are remembers for their latest product or gadget, Microsoft seems to have been left behind in the race as other companies such as Google Inc(NASDAQ:GOOG) are making huge in-roads in the mobile space.
Shares of MSFT closed lower by 0.75% to $29.19 on Thursday.