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Microsoft chief says Windows 8 is off to a "stunning" start

Steve Ballmer said there have been four million upgrades to Windows 8 in the past three days.

Image: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

MICROSOFT CHIEF EXECUTIVE Steve Ballmer has said the Windows 8 operating system is off to a “stunning” start with four million upgrades downloaded since its release on 26 October.

“In just the last three days, we have sold four million Windows 8 upgrades,” Ballmer said while kicking off a BUILD Conference for developers at the software giant’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

“The level of embrace from enthusiasts is very, very high.”

Analysts have depicted Windows 8 as a bold bet for Microsoft since it dramatically changed the long-familiar user interface to adapt to touch-screen mobile devices increasingly popular in modern lifestyles.

“The level of enthusiasm seen for the new products has really been stunning,” Ballmer told the thousands of developers at the sold-out event.

Globally popular one-to-many messaging service Twitter and online file sharing hit Dropbox are among applications being tailored to Windows 8, Ballmer told third-party software developers at the gathering.

Microsoft kicked off sales of its revamped Windows 8 system and Surface tablet as it ramped up efforts to compete in a market shifting rapidly from PCs to mobile devices.

Microsoft also launched its Windows 8 smartphone today in a bid to win over iPhone and Android gadget devotees.

The global rollout of Windows 8 phones, set to begin in Europe this weekend, is the final piece in a Microsoft operating system transformation aimed at harmonizing the technology titan’s software and hardware for mobile lifestyles.

The operating system has a user interfaced based on “tiles” that can be personalized with people’s pictures, applications, games, music and more.

Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore said that Microsoft was out to “re-invent” a smartphone experience that has for years basically consisted of a locked screen that opens to rows of icons.

“We decided not use that tired old metaphor and came up with our own way that puts people at the center of the experience,” Belfiore said with a slight jab at iPhone.

Read: Microsoft launches new tablet in bid to take on Apple’s iPad >

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AFP

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