Steve Sinofsky, President of the Windows and Windows Live Division, has revealed 26 October as the launch day for Windows 8 at the company's annual sales meeting.
With Apple and Google making major in-roads in the operating system market via popular mobile and tablet devices, the company has described the update as the most important redesign of its interface in more than a decade.
The new operating system is intended to unify the interface between desktops, smartphones, tablets and other devices with its Metro user interface, which also provides touchscreen input and will form the basis of the user interface across all devices.
The launch of Windows 8 will therefore coincide with the official launch of Windows Phone 8 and multiple different devices, including the Surface Microsoft tablet, ultrabooks from vendors such as Acer, and Windows Phone 8 smartphones from Nokia.
Sinofsky was promoted to president of Windows in 2009 and is widely regarded as the most likely successor to Steve Ballmer as chief executive of Microsoft - provided the Windows 8 launch proves successful.
The announcement comes one day before the company reveals its financial results for the year to the end of June, which are expected to include a loss for the fourth quarter due to a write-down in the value of its 2007 acquisition of online advertising service Aquantive. As a result, its earnings will be dented by a massive $6.2bn (£3.96bn) charge representing all but $100m (£63.9m) of the $6.3bn (£4bn) purchase price of the company.
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