Microsoft showcase “Windows 8” operating system

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Facing growing threat from Apple and Google in the Tablet market, Microsoft Corp on wednesday at the All Things Digital technology conference showed off a version of its next operating system, highlighting touchscreen features optimized for tablet computers.

Code-named Windows 8, it races to catch up with the success of Apple Inc’s iPad and Google Tablets, which went on sale over a year ago. Experts say the launch date for the next Windows could be between October 2011 and October 2012.

In a demonstration at the D9 conference in Palos Verdes, California, a Microsoft executive showed a starting page that resembles Microsoft’s latest phone software, with live ’tiles’ manipulated by pressing and swiping the screen.

The head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, Steven Sinofsky, said Microsoft was “not out of the game” in tablets and promised more details at a developers’ conference in September. With the recent agreement to purchase Skype, Microsoft is working to integrate Internet telephone service Skype into the new system.

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