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Windows 8 Available Friday: What Do You Think of the 'Re-Imagined' Product?

The new Microsoft software will be available to download online starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The tech world has been buzzing this week as Microsoft prepares to begin selling the new Windows 8 software and Surface tablet this Friday.

A launch event held by the company in New York City Thursday morning was widely covered by media across the country, including by local outlets GeekWire and The Seattle Times

What do you think of the new Windows 8? Will you be downloading it to your PC or lining up to get a Surface tablet?

Microsoft has touted the new software as a "re-imagined" approach to Windows that bridges the gap between PC and tablet users. Windows 8 is largely devoted to touch-screen devices, with a tile-based start screen instead of the traditional Windows start menu. But the company says it is just as compatible with a mouse and keyboard.

“We have re-imagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a news released the company issued Thursday. “Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet. It works perfect for work and play and it is alive with your world. Every one of our customers will find a PC that they will absolutely love.”

Friday will mark the first day most people will be able to get their hands on the new software and Surface tablet. Also on Friday, the company will launch the online Windows Store, where Windows 8 users will be able to download popular third-party apps like Evernote, LivingSocial and Hulu.

Windows 8 will be available as a download to PCs with older versions of the software on the Windows website beginning at 12:01 a.m. local time on Friday. Online upgrades will be available to PC customers currently using Windows 7, XP or Vista for $39.99 through the end of January.

Two versions of the software, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, will also be sold at retail locations, including Best Buy, Staples and Microsoft stores, beginning Friday. 

The new surface Tablet, which starts at $499, will be available for sale online as well as at Microsoft stores in Bellevue and Seattle. The Bellevue Square Microsoft Store will be holding hourly "Getting to Know Your Windows Device" workshops between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday.

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