MS to Finish Windows 8 in Summer, Debut in Oct

Microsoft will finish work on Windows 8 this summer, setting the stage for personal computers and tablets with the operating system to go on sale around October, according to people with knowledge of the schedule. The initial rollout will include devices running Intel and ARM Holdings chips, making good on Microsoft’s promise to support both standards, said the people. In embracing ARM technology, Microsoft is using the same kind of processors as Apple Inc.’s iPad. Still, there will be fewer than five ARM devices in the debut, compared with more than 40 Intel machines. The timing would let Microsoft target Christmas shoppers with the new software, which works with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs. The Redmond, Washington based company, which hasn’t announced timing for the Windows 8 release, aims to take back sales lost to the iPad and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Apple released the third version of the iPad this month, posing an even stiffer challenge to Microsoft. Microsoft will host an event for its industry partners in early April. The company will spell out its release strategy for Windows 8, giving more details on timing and marketing. There will be fewer ARM-based devices in the rollout because Microsoft has tightly controlled the number and set rigorous quality-control standards. The new version of Windows will be the first to use ARM processors, which are most commonly found in smartphones. Windows 7, the current version, only works with Intel’s technology. Three of the Windows 8 ARM devices will be tablets.

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