SAN FRANCISCO – Computers running on the next version of Microsofts Windows operating system will go on sale in October.
Microsoft Corp. last week announced the time frame for Windows 8s mass-market release. A specific sales date in October wasnt provided.
Most industry analysts expected Windows 8 to go on sale in the fall to ensure that machines running on the operating system would be available for the holiday shopping season.
New versions of Windows typically come out every three years, but this update is the most widely anticipated overhaul of the software since 1995.
Applications will appear in a mosaic of tiles on Windows 8. Microsoft also designed the operating system so it can run on personal computers or touch-based tablet computers.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., plans to make its own tablet running on Windows 8 to compete against Apples hot-selling iPad. The company hasnt yet announced a price for its tablet, which will be called Surface.
It also will be competing against a variety of other tablets, including the Kindle Fire from Amazon.com and the Nexus 7, which is being released later this month by Google.
As part of its efforts to develop more touch-based software, Microsoft also announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel.
The deal, the terms of which werent disclosed, gives Microsoft access to technology used in large multi-touch displays for TV broadcasters, as well as government, defense, engineering and educational markets, Microsoft said.
Windows 8 is being counted on to help revive demand for laptops and other personal computers.
The operating systems versatility is expected to encourage leading PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. to release hybrid machines that are part laptop, part tablet computer.
Both HP and Dell have also indicated they plan to release tablet computers powered by Windows 8, thrusting them into competition with Microsofts Surface.
High hopes riding on Windows 8 are the main reason that Microsofts stock has climbed by about 15 percent so far this year.