New Delhi: Taking on competition from Apple and Google's Android, Microsoft Thursday launched the latest version of its flagship operating system Windows 8, which is designed to work across PCs, tablets as well as smartphones.
Windows 8 can be controlled using touch (with tablets) and with mouse and keyboard (desktops).
The new operating system comes with a new start screen and adds more colours. The old start menu is replaced by tiles which showcases users' content that can be updated in real time.
"This is one of the biggest launches for us. This is the beginning of new era of computing. Windows 8 is designed to work across form factors and platforms (such as tablets)," Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramanik told reporters here.
Microsoft has partnered with 14 manufacturers, including Dell, Lenovo, HP, HCL, Acer, Asus, who together would put on sale 250 devices running on the latest Windows OS. These decives would be available in across 2500 store in over 100 cities in India.
According to experts, while Microsoft still has the majority share in the desktop segment, its share in personal devices segment has shrunk in the recent past mainly due to increased usage of devices like smartphones and tablets, where Google's Android and Apple take the lead.
Gartner Principal Research Anaylst Vishal Tripathi said Windows 8 will emerge as good alternative but owing to application compatibility it would take some time for Windows 8 to challenge other OS on smaller form factors. ... It might not see a lot of traction in enterprise as organisations which have recently migrated to Windows 7 will give it a miss.
"It typically takes around 18 months. However, people who have recently moved to Windows 7, we don't expect them to migrate to Windows 8 as it takes at least one year for organisations to be ready for the rollout. Also there is work which needs to be done with the interface for enterprises, he said.
Windows 8 will be available in two versions, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.
Consumers running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, are qualified to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs 1,999.
Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 can download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs 699 with the Windows Upgrade Offer, the company said.
Microsoft is also working with its enterprise clients to help them shift to the latest version of the software.
Further, the company said with this launch, the Windows Store is now open and a plethora of global and local apps will be available for download.
In India, a range of immersive, free and paid apps can be downloaded including Bharat Matrimony, BookMyShow, Burrp, Goibibo, Hindustan Times, ICICI Bank iMobile, ICICIDirect, JustEat, MakeMyTrip Explore, MapmyIndia, Yahoo Cricket, and Zovi.
Recently, Microsoft also underwent a rebranding exercise, wherein it introduced a new logo for the first time in 25 years.
Also the company is expected to launch its first tablet Surface in India that will run on Windows 8 soon. Earlier this week, Apple made headline with the launch of the latest tablet iPad mini.