Top Five Stories of 2012 – #2 – Windows 8 and the Surface RT

To round out the rest of 2012, Windows Phone Daily is continuing our annual special edition of Top Five. Every day until the new year, we will be going back in time to recap a momentous 2012 for Microsoft and Windows Phone. Read Story #5, #4, and #3.

Despite the seismic activity surrounding Windows Phone 8 throughout the year, it should not come as a surprise that Microsoft prioritized the latest version of Windows proper this year. What should have come as a surprise was just how deftly Microsoft was able to renew their disparate services into a cohesive new ecosystem, completely reinvent their flagship operating system, and challenge the more affordable tablet market in a matter of months.

Looking back, we’re surprised that Windows 8 was first shown off in mid-2011 during the D9 conference. Make no mistake though, because 2012 was the year of Windows 8 for Microsoft. After revealing that CES 2012 would be its last appearance at the show, Microsoft went on to host a series of hush-hush events that kept the media on their toes. Not only did the company unveil a reimagined version of their long-standing Windows logo, but a few weeks later the Consumer Preview was released for download online also accompanied by the soft-launch of the Windows Store.

In late May, Microsoft released its final pre-release build of Windows 8 to the public. That milestone release would lead to a huge June for the company. Microsoft of course attended E3 2012, and during its keynote unveiled Xbox SmartGlass — an app which would unite mobile devices and Windows 8 devices alike to connect to the Xbox 360. The event was also where Microsoft announced Xbox Music, though details would not arrive for several months after. Shortly after their impressive event in Los Angeles, Microsoft quietly announced a surprise event for June 18th. Scheduled just days before a key Windows Phone event, there was much speculation about what this new event could be. in the end, Microsoft revealed the Surface RT and Surface Pro — the first computers the company had built in its entire existence.

After releasing Windows 8′s enticing upgrade price, the focus finally shifted towards launch day for Windows 8 and the Surface RT. Microsoft helped build up some attention through viral street art promoting the Surface, and eventually graduated to television commercials. Finally, October 26th came along and Microsoft held a number of massive events around the globe in celebration of the launch. None were as big as in New York City, where Microsoft crafted a ‘Microtropolis’ city composed of nearly all Windows 8 powered tablets and PCs to be released. In its first month on sale, Windows 8 sold 40 million licenses.

Come back every day until New Year’s Day for the rest of our Top Five Stories of 2012!

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