(KCBS) – Microsoft plans to release a beta version of its Windows 8 operating system early next year.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid said the new version will also run on tablets, a sign that the tech giant may be trying to grab a portion of the market.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid :

“Not only are they gunning for Apple, but they’re taking a big cue from Apple. They are redoing their operating system so it’s going to look a lot more like the iPad looks,” said Magid. “To Microsoft’s credit, they are not cloning the iPad. They’ve got their unique interface. It’s a different look and feel, but conceptually, it’s going in the same direction with a touch screen interface and to make it much friendlier and less Windowy.”

A beta release for the product is expected in February.

Magid said that to further the competitive nature of the market, Microsoft is also launching a “Windows Store,” its own online app marketplace.

“It will be very similar to the Apple store,” he said. “In Microsoft’s case, if a developer sells more than $25,000 worth of software, they’re going to get 80 percent of the revenue where Apple has a straight 70 percent split.”

Magid said that the new operating system will also allow users to make it look like the old Windows and run programs like Excel or Office.

You can hear Larry Magid’s Tech Report Monday through Friday at 3:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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