Microsoft's upcoming update to its signature software, Windows 8, will go on sale on October 26, Windows President Steven Sinofsky announced late Wednesday. The software will come in four versions: three for consumers and one for enterprises. Existing Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP users will be able to upgrade for the discounted price of $39.99, but the full price for new users has yet to be released.
Windows 8 is Microsoft's most radical retooling of the software in decades, with a completely redesigned user interface that forgoes the familiar taskbar and files and folders method of navigating in favor of a series of interlocking multicolored square tiles representing different programs, an interface Microsoft calls "Metro style."
The software is designed to provide the same experience on tablets and touchscreen devices as standard point-and-click PCs. The move is widely viewed as a huge gamble on Microsoft's part to better compete with Apple and Google, which lead the mobile device market.