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Windows 8 Officially Bows to Cautious but Positive Reviews

Windows’ long-overdue answer to Apple’s sleek operating systems is here: After a splashy launch in New York, Windows 8 will officially become available for consumers tomorrow.

Microsoft’s new vision is touted as a radical break from the classic interface associated with the PCs of the 1990s, bringing together the desktop experience and the modern tablet touch design. The traditional Start menu, for example, has been replaced with an app-heavy Start screen.

The new software has stoked unusual excitement for Microsoft, and reviews have come in cautious but generally positive. “A Big, Beautiful, Slightly Shaky Step Forward,” a Wired headline read, while the Guardian wrote that “Microsoft’s refreshed the way to think about computing.”

Nearly everyone noted that Microsoft’s sharp break from the past risked alienating longtime users. But as PC World put it, it’s “a risk Microsoft has to take.”