The launch of Windows 8 a year ago was heralded as the biggest change to
the industry's dominant operating system in at least 17 years. It
attempts to bridge the gap between personal computers and fast-growing
tablets with its touch-enabled interface. But consumer reaction has been
lackluster. An update addressing some of the feedback is due out on
Here's a look at events surrounding Microsoft Corp.'s new system
Oct. 25, 2012: Microsoft holds a launch event in New York for Windows
8, a major overhaul of its ubiquitous computer operating system. Not
much new is revealed, as many of the details had been announced before,
and the software had been available for testing.
day of sales for desktops, laptops and tablets with Windows 8, including
Microsoft's Surface RT tablet running a lightweight version of Windows
8. Upgrades from older versions of Windows become available.
Microsoft launches phone version of new operating system, Windows Phone 8. Windows 8 phones begin shipping that week.
In a management shake-up, Microsoft says Steven Sinofsky, the
president of its Windows and Windows Live operations, is leaving the
company. The company does not give a reason. Company veteran Julie
Larson-Green is promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware
engineering. Tami Reller takes over responsibility for the Windows
Microsoft releases its redesigned browser,
Internet Explorer 10, for computers running the older Windows 7 system.
Although Microsoft designed Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 8's touch
interface in mind, the Redmond, Wash., company wants people to see the
browser's potential on their Windows 7 machines.
Microsoft says about 40 million licenses to Windows 8 were sold in its
first month on the market, though that number includes licenses bought
by PC manufacturers for machines built but not yet sold. Microsoft
didn't provide further details beyond saying that Windows 8 is being
embraced by a list of companies that include Johnson & Johnson,
British Telecom and Bank of America Corp.
says sales of personal computers in the U.S. didn't get any boost from
the launch of Windows 8. There's no sign that Windows 8 made things
worse for PC makers. Rather, NPD says the weak sales are a continuation
of a trend seen throughout this year.
Jan. 8, 2013
Microsoft says it has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses to date.
Microsoft begins selling Office 2013, its first overhaul of
the popular software suite in three years. This time, it is pushing
sales through $100-a-year subscriptions, although it continues to offer
the product as a single purchase. Despite Microsoft's efforts to get
consumers to embrace a tablet-style interface in Windows 8, most of
Office 2013 requires the older, desktop mode.
Microsoft begins selling Surface Pro, with a full version of Windows 8.
Reports from research firms IDC and Gartner document
double-digit sales decreases in PCs during the first three months of the
year - the worst drop ever in the PC industry. IDC says Windows 8 seems
to have hurt rather than helped PC sales.
it will retool Windows 8 to address complaints and confusion, though it
offers few details. Microsoft also discloses that it has sold more than
100 million Windows 8 licenses.
Microsoft says its Windows update, previously codenamed Blue, will be called 8.1 and will be free to Windows 8 users.
Microsoft details some of the changes. Users will be able to
set their machines to start automatically in the older, desktop mode. A
Start button is restored in look, though clicking on it will lead to
Window 8's full-screen startup page rather than the Start menu found in
Microsoft releases a preview version on
Windows 8.1 as it kicks off Build, a three-day conference in San
Francisco for partners and other developers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
acknowledges that the company pushed hard to get people to embrace a
radical change. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to
reach and use the older desktop interface.
IDC say that worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 11 percent
in the April-June period, continuing a decline.
Microsoft books a $900 million inventory write-down after it slashes the
price of its Surface RT tablet following lackluster sales. The
company's revenue and earnings come short of Wall Street forecasts in
the April-June quarter.
Microsoft says Ballmer will retire in the next 12 months after 33 years with the company.
IDC and Gartner say that worldwide shipments of personal
computers fell in the third quarter of the year, the sixth straight
quarter of decline.
Microsoft to release Windows 8.1.
Devices with 8.1 already installed to go on sale.
Microsoft to begin shipping second-generation Surface tablets.