— June 26: Microsoft releases a preview version on Windows 8.1 as it kicks off Build, a three-day conference in San Francisco for partners and other developers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledges that the company pushed hard to get people to embrace a radical change. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to reach and use the older desktop interface.
— July 10: Gartner and IDC say that worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 11 percent in the April-June period, continuing a decline.
— July 18: Microsoft books a $900 million inventory write-down after it slashes the price of its Surface RT tablet following lackluster sales. The company's revenue and earnings come short of Wall Street forecasts in the April-June quarter.
— Aug. 23: Microsoft says Ballmer will retire in the next 12 months after 33 years with the company.
— Oct. 9: IDC and Gartner say that worldwide shipments of personal computers fell in the third quarter of the year, the sixth straight quarter of decline.
— Thursday: Microsoft releases Windows 8.1 at 7 a.m. EDT, which corresponds to the start of Friday in New Zealand.
— Friday: Devices with 8.1 already installed to go on sale.
— Oct. 22: Microsoft to begin shipping second-generation Surface tablets.
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