Microsoft is betting big on its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which looks to bridge the gap between smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday called the operating system a “rebirth” of the Windows brand and described it as the “deepest, broadest and most impactful” Windows software ever created, Agence France-Presse reported. “It’s really, in some senses, a dawning of the rebirth of MS Windows… It’s certainly the most important piece of work we’ve done,” he said at a forum in Seoul, South Korea, adding that an estimated 500 million users will have Windows 8 on next year. The CEO went on to promise the “best economic opportunity” for device makers and app developers who adopt the company’s newest operating system. Microsoft’s Windows 8 is rumored to launch in October, and BGR reviewed Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview earlier this year.

UPDATE: A Microsoft spokesperson reached out to BGR and informed us that Ballmer’s comments were based on data that was announced in December regarding the number of Windows 7 devices that could potentially upgrade to Windows 8. The CEO said, “We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers.”

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Dan joins the BGR team as the Android Editor, covering all things relating to Google’s premiere operating system. His work has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn’t testing the latest devices or apps, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.