Windows 8: A new dawn for Microsoft in its battle with Apple

Microsoft will be feeling the pressure today.

Formerly the world's biggest technology company, this afternoon sees the official launch of Windows 8 - and it is touting it as its biggest since it released Windows 95 over 17 years ago.

Microsoft's new Windows 8 Surface tablet
Microsoft's new Windows 8 Surface tablet Credit: Reuters

Tami Reller, Windows Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, told ITV News that despite the pressure she's confident the product will succeed:

Windows 8 really does give customers so much of what they're looking for.

A cool new device with all the capabilities they need.

There's a lot of interest in tablets and convertibles but also touch laptops.

With this one release customers get all that choice.

And it is the choice that Microsoft is hoping to capitalise on.

While Apple's software is limited to its own devices, Windows 8 can run on multiple devices made by multiple manufacturers.

The coming weeks will see a slew of new products running Windows 8 hit the shelves in the run up to Christmas from the likes of Samsung, Sony, HP, Lenovo and ASUS.

Jamie Harvey, Commercial Director for ASUS UK, told ITV News why his company is releasing several new products that run Windows 8:

It's the next generation.

It's very intuitive and in terms of the adoption there are in excess of a billion PCs running Windows worldwide and so its very familiar to people.

He added why he's hoping the launch will contribute to ASUS sales:

There's been a lot of anticipation in the market about the new operating system and I think in some cases the consumer who has needed to buy a new computer hasn't done so because they are waiting for the Windows 8 launch.

Analysts say this launch is crucial for Microsoft
Analysts say this launch is crucial for Microsoft Credit: Reuters

Microsoft also hope to regain market share by launching its first ever tablet - the Microsoft Surface - designed especially to take on the likes of the iPad.

But where Windows will struggle to compete with Apple's offering, at least at first, is in the apps it runs.

Tami Reller insists that Microsoft is working hard to add to its offering:

Every day you'll see new applications being onboarded into the Windows store.

She insists that Microsoft will ensure seamless integration between devices too:

One thing that's really special is that you can take your apps from device to device - so the software you have on your Windows Phone is also available to you on your Microsoft Surface but also on your all-in-one home PC.

The company has fallen behind in the last few years as Apple took the lead with the iPad. In 2010, Apple overtook Microsoft's revenues for the first time.

Analysts say it is crucial that Microsoft does well with this launch. Without success, it will leave it trailing behind its rivals.

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates
Microsoft founder, Bill Gates Credit: Reuters

Even Microsoft patriarch Bill Gates knows how important it is for the company:

This is an absolutely critical product... It takes Windows into the world of touch, low-power devices - really giving people the best of what you think of as a tablet-type experience and the PC experience.

Windows 8 goes on sale in the UK at midnight on Friday.