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Windows 8 set for October launch: report

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(Read caption) Windows 8 may launch as soon as October, according to one new report. Here, a Microsoft store in San Diego.

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Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a consumer preview of Windows 8, the latest iteration of its popular operating system, and the first to be designed for cross-platform use. Now, according to Bloomberg News – which cites "people with knowledge of the schedule" – we have a (possible) release date: October of 2012. Is the timing propitious? It is. 

"The timing," notes Dina Bass of Bloomberg, "would let Microsoft target Christmas shoppers with the new software, which works with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs."

Unlike past versions of Windows, Windows 8 has a tiled interface called Metro, which allows users to access and control the OS via a flick of the finger. (Old-schoolers shouldn't fret: Windows 8 will still work just fine with a mouse.) And early reviews of the OS have been largely positive. 

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"It looks like Windows 8 is certainly going to take some getting used to," writes the team at PC Advisor. "But underneath that daunting new interface are a wealth of smart decisions that go a long way towards dragging the behemoth that is Windows into the future." 

In related news, Microsoft has doled out a kind of beta version of Office 15, a new software suite that should launch in conjunction with Windows 8. Paul Thurrott, who runs Supersite For Windows, a popular tech site, got his hands on Office 15, and he reports that the suite sits "visually, between the new Metro style and the traditional desktop." More on that here

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut. And don’t forget to sign up for the weekly BizTech newsletter.

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