Microsoft's Windows operating system, which long ago won the war over desktop computers, didn't even show up in the fight to be the dominant tablet OS.
Windows 8, the software behemoth hopes, will change that.
At the company's Build conference on Tuesday in the US in Anaheim, California, Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows team, offered an in-depth look at the next version of the omnipresent software.
Microsoft Windows 8
Your personalised lock screen shows you unread emails and other app notifications. The image shown here is a photo of the road leading to Mt. Cook National Park in New Zealand. Photo: Microsoft
Windows 8 is important not only because Microsoft hopes to use it to extend Windows' desktop dominance over Apple's Mac OS X, but also because Windows 8 will be the company's weapon to finally get into the tablet fight and take on Apple's iPad.
The Build conference is about getting developers on board as much as a year early to get familiar with Windows 8 and to start writing apps for the new OS now. The idea is that when Windows 8 finally launches, its app store won't look empty, as was the case for tablet-app offerings from Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion. Even Google's Android Market, which has hundreds of tablet-optimised apps, pales in comparison to Apple's thousands of tablet apps.
In a closed-door presentation to reporters on Monday in the US, a day before Build officially opened, Sinofsky and other Microsoft executives detailed the elements of Windows 8.
The presentation, which this reporter attended, ended with Microsoft lending tablets running Windows 8 to each reporter for a few days.
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