Microsoft Corp. held its long-anticipated event in New York today to launch Windows 8, and its little brother Windows RT as the Redmond-based software giant announced a major overhaul to its flagship operating system product.
There are three versions of the new operating system available: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise for business customers. Enterprise will include features like drive-encrypting BitLocker and AppLocker. A more light-weight version of the OS, Windows RT, is only available on devices where it has been pre-installed by the manufacturer. It looks and feels like Windows 8, but can’t run full desktop apps.
Windows 8 means small businesses can take a more simple approach to computers, according to Max Long, president of Microsoft Canada.
“I don’t have to compromise anymore. I no longer have to buy a PC for work and another one for home, I can have one device that can do it all for me because of Windows 8,” he says. It “gives you this kind of flexibility in a no compromise experience.”
Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be available starting at 12:01 AM Oct. 26. You’ll be able to upgrade online using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant for a price of $39.99. Pre-orders of the Windows 8 Pro DVD have already begun and are available for $69.99. If you’ve purchased Windows 7 after June 2, you get a discount and can upgrade for $14.99.
In Canada, Windows 8 will be available in Microsoft’s Holiday Retail Stores and at retail partners such as Best Buy, Future Shop, and Staples. A Microsoft Retail Store will also sell the new OS, and is opening Nov. 16 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall.
IT World Canada’s Paolo Del Nibletto was in New York for the event and reported live about the launch. Click through to read his coverage.