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MicroBite 34 Steve Ballmer’s company has released a consumer preview of Windows 8, something Microsoft’s chief executive has called his company’s riskiest bet.

After some rowdy Apple-style rah-rah fanboidom, it has quickly become apparent that the focus on tablets makes Microsoft’s Windows 8 difficult and frustrating to use for those running a Windows 7 or even a Window XP machine.

And just as Apple released its latest iPad we still haven’t had a sniff of Windows on ARM (WOA), which is supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to Apple.

Judging by what Microsoft has said about WOA so far, and looking at rumours circulating about the next Office, it is looking increasingly like WOA is losing its edge over the iPad.

Meanwhile, with price cuts on Windows Azure and Office 365, the race to the bottom of the cloud pricing is underway. Just why is Microsoft cutting its price, especially on the hitherto successful Office 365, and can Microsoft it catch up to Amazon?

Join Reg software editor Gavin Clarke and All-about-Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley on this edition of Microbite as they look at the great unknowns of Windows 8, why Microsoft’s cloud needs a rain-maker, and whether Microsoft’s big bets have got what it really takes to take on Apple and Amazon.

You can listen via our player below, or download the MP3 here or the Ogg here

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