Microsoft embarked on a new era Friday as its two long-anticipated projects finally went on sale: a major overhaul of its operating system and a foray into hardware with a tablet computer.
It took years to get both on the shelves, and now Microsoft is waiting to see whether customers will bite. The firm set up temporary stores to get its products in front of more shoppers. There was even a “pop-up” store in Times Square for a major midnight launch Friday morning.
The products mark Microsoft’s first steps at shifting its focus from the software that made it a technology giant to the hardware and services that it believes will carry it into the post-PC era.
With its tablet, the Surface, Microsoft is battling for a share of a market dominated by Apple’s iPad. The iPad has about 60 percent of the world’s tablet market, but that is down from 80 percent two years ago. Competing tablets running Google’s Android system appear nearly every month.