Microsoft has officially cut the red ribbon on Windows 8, with 1,000 certified pieces of Windows 8 hardware going on sale at midnight.

The Windows 8 OS will be available on computers ranging from traditional desktop PCs to laptops and tablets.

As well as officially launching the OS, Windows head Steven Sinofsky took to the stage in New York to confirm the opening of the Windows Store, complete with "a wide range of apps."

Numbers game

"We know some might start to count apps – but we see today as a grand opening and developers are adding 100s of new apps every day," he explained, neatly side-stepping telling us exactly how many the app store has.

In a statement that sounds a bit like spin, Sinofsky would only say, "Today we have more apps than any competing app store had at its opening."

Also available at midnight tonight (local time) will be the Windows 8 upgrade for existing Windows 7 computers, which Microsoft promises will bring better battery life, faster boot times and smaller memory footprints to the older machines.

Employing a spot of Apple-style hyperbole, Sinofsky described Windows 8 as the "best release of Windows ever" before calling the new hardware some of "the best PCs ever."