The latest version of Microsoft's ubiquitous operating system has been christened Windows 8 and will hit the shelves next year.
The software giant's chief executive Steve Ballmer (pictured) let the cat out of the bag at the Microsoft Developer Forum in Tokyo yesterday.
"We are obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows," he told attendees.
"As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there is a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8: Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs – a variety of different form factors."
Channel partners will doubtless be hoping the new operating system enjoys the same level of success as Windows 7, which Ballmer claimed will be installed on 350 million PCs sold this year. Less welcome would be a product that gets as lukewarm a reception as Vista.
In the months after its release in 2007, a number of hardware channel players – including Northamber and Dixons – claimed slow sales of the software had eroded their revenue.
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