Wow. What a year! 2012 is the year we completely reimagined Windows with Windows 8.
The build-up began at CES back in January with an awesome demo of Windows 8 by Tami Reller. We released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the end of February and then the Release Preview in late May. From the Developer Preview from Build 2011 to the Release Preview – these previews of Windows 8 were the most widely and deeply used test releases of any product we have ever done. 16 million PCs actively participated in the previews of Windows 8. Windows 8 was released to manufacturing (RTM) at the beginning of August where we then prepared for general availability on October 26th.
We celebrated the general availability of Windows 8 on October 26th with events all around the world. In New York, we held a special press event in the morning (you can watch the event on-demand here) and later that evening lit up 39 digital boards in the largest takeover of Times Square to date.
The launch of Windows 8 this year was a company-wide effort.
Windows 8 comes with Bing-powered apps such as Travel, Weather, Maps, News, Finance and Sports. There is also a Bing app specifically for web and image search. These apps will help you get all the information you need whether it’s the latest scores from your favorite NFL team or your local weather (the Weather app Live Tile on my Start screen shows rain more often than I would like…). You can read this blog post from Bing to get all the details on these apps. For those of you who already have Windows 8, hit up the Bing homepage today to checkout a 360° degree panorama that can be explored with touch – allowing you to zoom, pinch and swipe as you explore the image.
And check out the MSN for Windows 8. They’ve given MSN a reimagined look for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.
Speaking of Internet Explorer 10, Ryan Gavin from the IE Team has shared some great things about IE10 on Windows 8 – check it out. With IE10, websites are a first-class citizen. IE10 wins on performance on Windows 8. And this is what happens when you mix cutting edge HTML5, multi-touch and IE10.
Windows 8 also delivers some incredible entertainment experiences through four apps from Xbox: Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music (see my post here that talks about free music streaming with Xbox Music on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices) and Xbox SmartGlass. The first three are pre-loaded on a new Windows 8 PC while Xbox SmartGlass is available as a free download in the Windows Store.
If you have an Xbox, you’re definitely going to want to download Xbox SmartGlass! With the Xbox SmartGlass app, you can control your Xbox from your Windows 8 device. You can use it to launch and navigate a website, move music to your TV (connected to your Xbox 360) and get extra features on the movie you’re watching. Watch this video to see Xbox SmartGlass in action. For more on the awesome entertainment experiences from Xbox for Windows 8, check out Major Nelson’s blog post here. Major Nelson announced new SmartGlass experiences from ESPN and NBA Game Time this week too!
And with Xbox games for Windows from so many talented third party game developers such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Wordament, Rocket Riot 3D, and Fruit Ninja – you can earn Xbox achievements to improve your gamerscore.
The new Office is coming and it’s designed to work great with Windows 8. The new Office responds to touch on new Windows 8 devices as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. And the new Office is powered by the cloud too – keep all your documents in sync with SkyDrive. If you buy Office 2010 today, you can get the new Office for free when it’s released early next year. For Windows RT, Office Home and Student 2013 RT comes on all Windows RT devices and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Office has released OneNote and Lync Windows Store apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT – check out this blog post for more.
To stay connected with friends and family – I use Skype. And with Windows 8, Skype introduced a brand new experience for staying connected with all the people you care about. You can download Skype for Windows 8 now from the Windows Store.
And just one month after launch, we announced Windows 8 has sold 40 million licenses!
Also in 2012 – we launched a brand new email service (in preview form) called Outlook.com in July and by November had over 25 million active users. Check out my post here on how Outlook.com makes me love email again.
Of course you can still upgrade to Windows 8 Pro today for just $39.99 ERP* via Windows.com using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant! This upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro ends on January 31st, 2013.
And the Windows Upgrade Offer also ends on January 31st, 2013 so if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC between June 2nd and January 31st, 20013 – be sure to register for your $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. The last day to register for the Windows Upgrade offer is February 28th, 2013. If you get a Windows 7 PC over the holidays, be sure to check out the Windows Upgrade Offer to see about getting your Windows 8 upgrade for $14.99!
Whew – it’s been quite a year.
Check out 12 milestone Microsoft moments in 2012 here!