Microsoft goes live with Windows 8.1

Microsoft will be hoping Windows 8.1 wins back the support of its fans.
Microsoft will be hoping Windows 8.1 wins back the support of its fans.

Microsoft has officially released the revamped version of its latest Windows operating system.

Windows 8.1 is now available as a free update for owners of a Windows 8 device in more than 230 markets.

It comes after last year's release of Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt to create an operating system which worked just as well on smartphones and tablets as on laptops and desktops.

Windows 8 has failed to take off though, with many users expressing frustration at the new look system, which includes a touch-screen, tiled interface.

Microsoft has since struggled with sales of Windows 8 devices and some in the industry have even blamed the company for falling global PC shipments.

The US firm has tried to iron out the problems by making Windows 8.1 simpler to use and more attractive to customers.

Changes in 8.1 include bringing back the start button and allowing users to completely avoid the new tiled interface.

"Windows 8.1 brings a variety of new features and improvements to Windows 8 that we think people will really enjoy. We listened to your feedback and are delivering many of the improvements you asked for," Microsoft said in a blog post.

Microsoft has had poor sales of its Surface tablet, which runs on Windows 8, and has had to lower the price. It unveiled a new version of the tablet last month.

Meanwhile, the company is looking for a new chief executive after Steve Ballmer - who has been at the helm since 2000 - announced in August that he would retire within 12 months.

- NZ HERALD ONLINE

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