Windows 8's release set for October 26

Over the past few weeks, we've seen Microsoft progressively narrow its release time frame for Windows 8. First it was this fall, and then it became late October. Now, we finally have a final release date set in stone: October 26, 2012.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky delivered the news at Microsoft's annual sales meeting today, and the information popped up on the Blogging Windows blog soon thereafter. According to Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc, who wrote the blog post, the October 26 date applies to both retail Windows 8 PCs and upgrades to the new operating system.

Speaking of Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft said last month that the ARM-powered version of its Surface tablet will come out simultaneously with Windows 8. I guess we can expect it on October 26, then. The same probably goes for most of those touch-enabled ultrabooks and x86 tablets Intel talked about yesterday.

In the end, Windows 8 will make it into stores almost exactly three years after Windows 7, which rolled out commercially on October 22, 2009. It'll be interesting to see how sales numbers for the two OSes compare—and, of course, whether Windows 8 can carve itself a substantial slice of the tablet market.

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