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Microsoft Introduces Windows 8

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What's turned out to be a big premiere week for consumer technology continues today.

On the heels of Apple's iPad mini launch Tuesday, Microsoft has a coming out party for its new Windows 8 operating system.

Consumers may not have broken up with the personal computer, but they're definitely seeing other technologies, mainly smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft hopes Windows 8 can stem that tide.   

It will be pre-loaded on new Windows PCs and bring eye catching and touch friendly elements that have proven popular in smartphones and tablets.

"This is the biggest change, I think, in Windows ever," says senior editor Dan Ackerman.  "It's really taking it from that traditional desktop and making it much more like an iPad."

Not only does the Windows 8 system work on PCs, it's also designed to work on tablets, including Microsoft's new Surface tablet, which also launches this week.  

Other companies are also getting in on the Windows 8 action.

Dell is releasing a convertible laptop, that becomes a tablet when the screen flips around and closes.

Smart phones are also getting the Windows 8 treatment.

Nokia unveiled a new line of devices using the system last month.

Microsoft is trying to sell Windows 8 as a device-flexible operating system, much like Apple's IOS.

"Microsoft really wants to get into a market like Apple is in with the iPad, where they have an App Store, and you have to get the apps through there, whether they're paid apps or free apps. And they sort of control that transaction," Ackerman explains.    

Microsoft's current operating system, Windows 7, is not going to suddenly vanish with the arrival of Windows 8.

The company will provide technical support for it until 2020.

You'll likely be able to find it as a pre-installed option on computers for another year or two.