Here’s some good news for Windows 8 users

The planned update for Microsoft’s much maligned touch enhanced operating system will be offered free of charge for 2013, according to the Redmond, Wash-based software maker.

The update, which has widely been referred to as Windows Blue, was named Windows 8.1 by Microsoft today. It is a practice of the company not to charge for its “decimal point” OS updates.

Users can buy Windows 8 now and still update to Windows 8.1 for free later, according to Tami Reller, marketing chief for Microsoft’s Windows business.

Earlier, the company announced that an update was due this week but did not specify if it would be charging for the improvement.

Windows 8 was released by Microsoft last October to address the consumer shift from standard PC devices to smart phones, tablets and other touch-enabled computing devices.

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Since its release the operating systems has been struggling to win over users. Its sluggish adoption rate has been blamed by some technology industry analysts as partly to blame for the slump in PC sales this year.

Microsoft, however, says it has sold roughly 100 million Windows 8 licenses since the software was released. Most of the sales are to PC manufacturers such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett Packard which purchased the OS to ship in their new machines.

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