First Windows 8 PCs go on sale online, sell out

A major retailer has thrown its own Windows 8 launch party well ahead of Microsoft’s plans – and the Windows giant is none too pleased.

The Home Shopping Network launched a website over the weekend detailing five new machines from Gateway and Acer all featuring the brand new operating system, which is as yet unavailable at retail.

Windows 8 is a radical rethinking of the software powering the PC, which adds a colorful, touch-sensitive interface. Microsoft’s official launch party for the new operating system is October 26. A spokesman told the company has asked HSN to remove the web pages.

“HSN made this offer without the support or authorization of Microsoft. Once Microsoft learned of the HSN promotion, we contacted them and asked that HSN discontinue the on-air and online offer,” he said.


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HSN has clearly refused.

The webpage lists both all-in-one desktop models, laptops, and even a touchscreen model at prices ranging from $699 to $1,199. They have all sold out, according to ZDNet’s Ed Bott, who first noted the page over the weekend. The systems are clearly designed specifically for Windows 8; some feature the new Windows logo, or even dedicated Windows keys with the new logo.

Bott also complained that the devices were littered with trial versions of software, a long-running issue in PC industry deemed "bloatware" or even "crapware."

"It’s a shame to see all of that junk show up alongside Windows 8," Bott said, zeroing in on a trial version of Office 2010 installed on several models. Microsoft had earlier promised that most new PCs will skip that software.

"I guess no one at Gateway or Acer got the memo," he said.

Acer’s vice president Scott Ledterman voiced support for the new operating system – and the official, Oct. 26 launch date.

“We are excited to support Windows 8 with great Acer and Gateway offerings starting on October 26, but this HSN offer came prematurely and we’ve requested its immediate removal,” he said in a statement.

Microsoft vice president Peter Han reiterated that the launch date had not yet arrived.

“We are looking forward to Windows 8 General Availability on October 26, when customers can take delivery of Windows 8 PCs at retail for the first time,” he said.