Microsoft bets big on Surface tablet, unveils Windows 8

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Microsoft bets big on Surface tablet, unveils Windows 8

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Microsoft’s latest operating system has gone on sale, along with its tablet computer.

With the launches, the company hopes to revive interest in its flagship product and regain ground lost to Apple and Google in mobile computing.

The new design of Windows, with its square tiles for applications is a big departure for Microsoft.

Chief Executive Steve Ballmer was nearly exploding with enthusiasm at the launch in front about 1,000 media and PC industry folk. He told them: “Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC now really is. We’ve truly re-imagined Windows and kicked off a new era for Microsoft and a new era for our customers.”

Electronics retailers report solid initial demand for Windows 8.

The Surface tablet, the software giant’s first venture into hardware is a big bet.

It will be available only through Microsoft’s own stores and website, challenging Apple’s iPad head on.

A good launch for the new products could help Microsoft’s shares, which has been stuck between $20 and $30 for much of the last decade.