(Bloomberg News) -- Microsoft Corp. is preparing Windows 10 for release on July 29, in time for the back-to-school personal-computer season, as the company tries to boost an ailing PC market and revive its own fortunes in mobile devices.

The operating system will be available for PCs and tablets as a free upgrade to people using Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, or on new Windows 10 devices, Microsoft said in a statement Monday. Windows 10 for other devices will be available later this year.

Microsoft said in April it expects a billion people to be using its Windows 10 operating system in the software’s first two to three years on the market, signaling optimism in its push to revive Windows and make it more useful on smaller devices. Still, market research firm IDC is predicting that PC shipments will drop 6.2 percent this year as a corporate PC purchasing cycle runs out of steam.

Windows 10 has a design that blends some aspects of Windows 8 with the older, more popular Windows 7’s appearance. It adds a new browser called Microsoft Edge, to succeed Internet Explorer. The update to Windows will also bring the Cortana voice-controlled assistant to PC desktops, and will have touch-enabled Office applications such as Word and Excel built in for smartphones and tablets.

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