Get Ready to Party Like It’s Windows 95

Published on September 17, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Microsoft has finally announced an official launch date for its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system: Thursday, Oct. 25.

On that day, the company will hold an event in New York City, according to invitations distributed to the media today. But just what it has planned isn’t clear. The invite provides no details beyond the event’s date, location and a simple tag line: “You’re invited to celebrate. Windows 8.” But presumably we’ll see quite a bit of fanfare there. After all, with the simultaneous release of its new Surface tablet, this is one of the most important launches in Microsoft’s history, as CEO Steve Ballmer noted in a recent interview with the Seattle Times.

“You know, Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now,” Ballmer told the paper. “I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it. It’s a little hard to compare things like the founding (of the company) and the introduction of the first popular PC and the system that popularized it, but it’s at that scale.”

And that may well prove to be the case — particularly if Microsoft prices the Surface competitively. But competitive to the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD? Or competitive to the iPad? If Ballmer’s recent comments are any indication, it may be the latter.

“I think we have a very competitive product from the features perspective,” Ballmer said. “If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot.”

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