27 Oct 2012

Microsoft launches Windows 8

7:49 am on 27 October 2012

Microsoft has launched its new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet in a bid to revive interest in its flagship product and regain ground lost to Apple and Google in mobile computing.

Windows 8 has a new touch design and is the biggest change in Microsoft's user interface since Windows 95 came out 17 years ago.

The operating system introduces a touchscreen-controlled interface featuring tiles, the BBC reports.

As well as acting as buttons to launch individual apps, the tiles allow installed software to provide status updates on a computer's home screen.

These can include details about the latest emails received, news headlines or social network posts created by friends.

Meanwhile, early reviews of the Surface tablet have been mixed, with praise for its slick hardware, but concerns about battery life and limited software and application options.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer told the BBC the company plans to release more devices.

Until now Microsoft had mostly focused on software and relied on third parties to make hardware.