Microsoft launches Windows 8 operating system

Microsoft has launched its long-awaited Windows 8 operating system at a series of global events, including an African-themed launch at Shine Studios in the Johannesburg suburb of Braamfontein, South Africa, that attracted the likes of Olympian swimmer Chad le Clos, celebrity chef Reuben Riffel and adventurer Kingsley Holgate.

Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati (image: Microsoft)

From Friday, October 26, South African consumers and businesses will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer: a new user interface (UI), a wide range of apps with the grand opening of the Windows Store, available on a broad range of Windows 8 certified PCs and tablets.

The system features an entirely new look and feel, which is designed to be used across an array of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and phones.

Windows 8 and more than 40 unique Windows 8 devices will be immediately available from major retail stores countrywide, with numerous launch offers on both the software and devices.

At the local launch in downtown Johannesburg, an array of celebrities – including Le Clos, Riffel, mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane, photographer Greg Marinovich, ceramic artist Fee Halstead, plastic surgeon Ridwan Mia and local band Dance You’re on Fire – shared their experiences of using the new Windows 8 in their work and personal lives over the past few weeks.

“With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world,” said Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati. “Whether you want a tablet or a PC, whether you want to consume or create content, whether you want to work or play – Windows 8 delivers a personalised experience that fits your unique style and needs.”

Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. For business customers, Windows 8 Enterprise offers new possibilities in mobile productivity with features like Windows To Go, DirectAccess, and BranchCache, as well as enhanced end-to-end security with features including BitLocker and AppLocker. Launching at the same time is a new member of the Windows family designed for ARM-based tablets, Windows RT, which will be available pre-installed on new devices.

Windows 8 features the new fast and fluid Start screen that gives people one-click access to the apps and content they care most about, the entirely new Internet Explorer 10 that is perfect for touch, and built-in cloud capabilities with SkyDrive that allow users to share images and documents quickly and easily.

In addition to the range of new devices available, eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 can download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of R130.00 (exchange rate dependent) with the Windows Upgrade Offer, available at

Staff writer