Samer Abu Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf, demonstrates Windows 8 at the Gitex Technology Week. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is one of the six cities in the world to have the privilege of launching Microsoft’s new operating system — Windows 8 — on October 26.

The other five are Paris, Shanghai, New Delhi, New York and Hong Kong.

Within days of the global rollout, Samer Abu Ltaif, regional general manager of Microsoft Gulf, said: “This is an exciting year for us and all the retailers have geared up to launch their products.”

Here is an opportunity for end users to have the “same features for their desktops, laptops, Xbox, smartphones and media tablets. They have an option of touch user interface or keyboard and mouse option,” Ltaif said.

“Windows 8 is coming to address the change in the consumerisation of IT. Now they can have the same interface across all platforms. This will also help convergence of data among various devices,” he said.

The adoption of Windows 7 across enterprises in last quarter crossed 700 million globally. The migration to Windows 8 is easy and it is compatible. All Windows 8 devices will share a common look and feel, with “tiles” linked to apps filling the screen.

Additionally, Microsoft is also showcasing Windows 8 applications to launch in the Windows Store, including applications for Dubai International Airport, Sharaf DG, Shop and Ship, Jumeirah Restaurants, Aramex, Gulf News, Dubai Cinemas, Dewa and Time Out Dubai.

“We are targeting to have 80 corporate applications from the region for the launch,” he said.

Any machine running Windows 7 will be able to run the new operating system, eliminating the need for any hardware changes.

The new iteration of the web browser Internet Explorer 9 arrives with improved privacy settings in Windows 8.

Microsoft will be launching software for tablet and PCs each.

One of the biggest changes in Windows 8 is its user interface (UI). It is designed for use through a variety of interfaces — keys, mouse and touch.

The software also does not have the start button usually found on the bottom left of the Windows page.

“We’ll be sharing all our latest innovations across the Cloud portfolio and the Windows platform, all of which will positively impact our customers’ lives and change the way they work and play as they will enable greater choice, flexibility and seamless integration across various devices and form factors. We are committed to continually bringing to the UAE and Gulf the latest technology innovation that will improve peoples lives and empower businesses to improve productivity in order to support the vision of the regions leadership of enhanced connectivity.”

Microsoft is also expected to launch Windows Phone 8 in the UAE sometime between the end of this month and the start of next month.

Any customer who buys, or has already bought, a Windows 7 PC between June 2 and the end of January 2013 will be able to get an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Dh55.05) — a move designed to prevent a drop-off in PC sales before the launch of Windows 8.

According to independent web analytics firm StatCounter, Windows 7 had a market share of 52.2 per cent globally as of September, followed by Windows XP with 27.64 per cent, Windows Vista with 7.58 per cent and Mac OS X with 7.48 per cent.

In the UAE, Windows 7 had a market share of 59.28 per cent as of September, followed by Windows XP with 22.66 per cent, Windows Vista with 6.45 per cent and Mac OS X with 5.59 per cent.