Invitations to Windows 8 launch: 21 days and counting

Invitations to Windows 8 launch: 21 days and counting

Summary: The invitations to the ball have arrived. October 25 is going to be a busy one for Microsoft watchers, fans, and foes.


Drip, drip, drip.

The Redmondians are continuing to torture us Microsoft watchers with a slow flow of information about its bet-its-business launch.

We already knew Microsoft planned to launch Windows 8 and its ARM-based Surface RT devices in New York City on October 25, thanks to a save-the-date invitation we got a while back. We found out this week that Microsoft will be opening 30-plus holiday pop-up stores in the U.S. and Canada on October 26.

As of October 4, we now know that the launch is going to be a lengthy affair -- from 10 am to 3 pm ET.

Here's what I just got in my inbox:


Will there also be some kind of "midnight madness" event here in New York to coincide with Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs, tablets -- and Microsoft's own Surface RTs -- going on sale as of October 26? No word on that yet. (I asked.) But I'd be surprised if there wasn't. Microsoft officials have said its Surface devices will be sold only through its own brick-and-mortar stores, as well as "select" Microsoft online stores. Those without a Microsoft Store nearby will only be able to purchase online, unless Microsoft modifies its previously stated plan.

Microsoft still has not released pricing or a full and complete spec list for its Surface RT tablets/PCs. It has not yet made them available for preorder. The Intel-based Surface Pro versions are not due out until three months, give or take, after the Windows RT launch.

If you'll be in/around New York City on October 25 and 26, stay tuned for information about a meetup/tweetup that a few of us Microsoft bloggers, including my Windows Weekly cohost and Windows SuperSite Editor Paul Thurrott are planning. More details on that to come soon via Twitter. Hope you can join us.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I'd love to know too...

    If you, Paul, and others are gonna do a get-together of sorts, I'd definitely consider another trip over!
  • WOW

    If Paul can get Leo to show for that I'm there...
  • I would not be surprised if...

    ...There is another retail partner quietly hiding in the wings somewhere (BestBuy, Walmart, Target, Kroger, whatever). I really wouldn't be surprised if on the Tuesday of that week, there was an announcement of midnight madness at the MS Stores and at least one other brick-and-mortar chain. That would be a buzz-worthy intro. I'm guessing the goal is to have something like Leno, Letterman or Stephan Colbert commenting on the launch. The glory days of Win9x where like that. Now only iPhone N+1 launches get that treatment.
    • No they just need a few queues

      They need the media to show queues in New York and Los Angeles. The best way to get those queues is through jsut a few select stores. just like Apple.
  • Windows 8

    I can guess that the moment the sheeple get any of these new OS pc's home, they will return them in droves. I have already advised a few of my closest friends to dump MS stock as it will drop 10-15% in value within a day or two of launch due to the utter failure to grasp what the end - user can use UBER LOLS here
    Tim Dill

      Sorry, but anyone who uses "UBER LOLS" cannot be taken seriously. And I'm sure your friends appreciated the unsolicited advice.
    • Thats plain stupid post

      The people queing up to But Windows 8 Tablets, Including Surface RTs, will be those who have been using Windows 8 Previews over the last 8 months. Thet already know that Windows 8 smokes all others.
      • Gui that does not work PERIOD

        I guess you forgot to read what one of the ZD net reviewers had said

        5. Enterprise reaction
        I already know what many enterprise customers think about Windows 8. They look at that that new user interface, and all that touch stuff and see having to throw a lot of dollars at training employees to make sense of it all. And this at a time when dollars are tight.

        I still have people who cant grasp the concept of windows 7.... Under the hood a better product, user interface that is about technologically advanced as MS BOB circa 1995
        Tim Dill
        • Optional...

          You do realize that the new interface you're describing (and all associated touch features) are completely optional, right? You may have people who struggle with Windows 7, but that doesn't change the fact that it was a huge success for Microsoft.
        • Right

          In the field (where the real action is of course) I have already supplied our whole department with Windows 8 (including the less tech savy manager). All of them were able to find their way amazingly quickly and none of them reverted to installing stuff like Start8 or classic shell. Apparently the GUI does work in the enterprise, but of course some people would believe some blogger over people with actual experience in the enterprise and actual experience with the os. The new UI as replacement of the multi layered start menu IS a big improvment, coupled with a visually quicker operating system, with less resource usage, it is a no brainer to upgrade from Win7 to Win8.
        • Not!

          If you are refering to the replacement of the Start Button/Menu with a Start Screen then consider the following:

          1. You can press the WinKey to toggle between the Start Menu, Desktop, and foremost Metro App. This is the same thing as toggling the WinKey in Windows 7 except that you cycle through the foremost Metro App.

          2. WinKey + D takes you to the Desktop.

          3. There is still an invisible button in the lower left corner to bring up the Windows Start Screen. The start screen that is customizable to your needs.

          4. Want more WinKey shortcuts:

        • Actually, you and the blog you mentioned, would be completely wrong about

          the enterprise having to train their workers on using the new UI, since....

          Most of what those workers will need to "learn" they will have learned from their own personal experiences as concerns the UI. The UI is intended to have the same look, from the lowest platform (smartphones) to the largest (enterprise servers). So, training will be minimal, it any at all is required. Most of what workers will need to learn, is the procedures which are specific to the company which employs them.

          But, good try.

          Perhaps you can save your trolling points for the next release of Windows, when Windows 9 is ready to implement. All you'll have to do is just, copy and paste.
    • agree with you

      it's true
    • Agreed

      I do like most of MS's products, I even did like Vista bugging me about running programs and other applications. But I just can't see spending a minimum of 300 dollars for a touchscreen monitor for a new operating system that can't even come close to pushing the boundaries of current computing technologies. It's like computers are becoming dumber, like the people who use them. Nothing is currently pushing hardware, there are still only a handful of programs that even address multi-core technologies. First time I've skipped a beta in decades, and first time I'll skip a new OS. Same for Office, I don't need to jump through hoops like I'm playing an Ubisoft game, to get it "Certified" as being genuine.
      • Computers for "dumb people" is what Apple strives for, and MS might be

        doing the same with Windows 8.

        Dumb is better, and easier. People don't like to think if they don't have to. They don't want to work harder if they don't have to.

        Apple decided to make their computers and devices so simple to use that, even a monkey can use them for a lot of tasks. If Microsoft wants their OS and devices to be as simple, who's going to argue with them? If something doesn't have to be complicated, then, why make it that way? If people find some devices and OSes too simple for their complicated minds, then, it's still possible to work from the command line option. ;)
  • Optional...

    You do realize that the new interface you're describing (and all associated touch features) are completely optional, right? You may have people who struggle with Windows 7, but that doesn't change the fact that it was a huge success for Microsoft.
  • What a great logo!

    It's very 1988...

    Maybe they will get another Rolling Stones' song, this time... But now it should be "(Can't get no) Satisfaction"...
  • Looking forward to it

    Win8 is the best thing since 95 to happen to the OS-verse.
  • Can't make it!

    Got to clean the litterbox! ;-)
    Max Peck
  • Darn

    I just imaged my nth XP install on a new PC. I can only hope my decision to focus on getting things done won't come back to haunt me (not including that stupid, hard to fix activation loop that Microsoft apparently deliberately created to obstruct people replacing old PCs running XP with new PC's running XP.)