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Microsoft Windows 8 beta version gets mostly positive reviews

Initial reactions to Microsoft’s Consumer Preview (also known as the beta test version) of the next iteration of Windows operating system, Windows 8, range from pure praises to expressly negative. Generally, consumer reactions were positive. This generally positive response is just what Microsoft needs considering that it is betting a lot on Windows 8 to compensate for past missteps it made in the mobile market. It will need Windows 8 to be widely adopted for it to keep its dominant position in both the laptop and desktop markets.

Windows 8 marks a major overhaul of Microsoft’s Windows operation system. It is probably the biggest change for the OS since Microsoft launched Windows 95. The new OS is intended to work just equally well on touch devices like smartphones as on laptops and desktops. It has a very different user interface layout than previous OS iterations.

Although Microsoft just unveiled the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 at Barcelona, Spain’s Mobile World Congress, the unveiling didn’t pack too many surprises. Microsoft previously disclosed the new OS’ direction and general design back in June of last year. The company then followed up with the Developer Preview of the OS which is tailored to applications developers looking to write programs for the new OS.

Compared to the Developer Preview, the Consumer preview appears more mature and seems much smoother. Consumers can download the Consumer Preview version for free at

Between the Developer and Consumer Preview versions, Microsoft said that it made in excess of 100,000 changes. Microsoft has not yet given a final release date for Windows 8. However, industry observers expect the launch date to sometime in the fall.

Generally, the reviews of the Consumer Preview have been good. New York Times’ technology columnist called the OS’ interface “beautiful, logical, and simple.” He also agrees with the general philosophy Microsoft is espousing regarding mobile and traditional computing devices-use a unified OS instead of Apple’s separate operating systems.

Tech blog Engadget doesn’t appear too sold on the idea of a unified OS among multiple devices. It notes that jumping back from the tiled mobile interface of Windows 8 to its desktop view is “hugely disorienting.” Engadget says that Windows 8 feels like two different OS trying to unify. A competing tech blog, Gizmodo, begs to differ. It hails the departure from previous Windows OS. Gizmodo reduces the reaction to Windows 8 as an either or proposition. It declares that it loves the new operating system.