Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer presents the new Surface tablet on June 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer presents the new Surface tablet on June 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. - 
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CORRECTION: The original article incorrectly spelled the name of BBC correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. The text has been corrected.

Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system is ready for launch along with its new Surface tablet. The stakes couldn't be higher  for the company which needs to prove it can stay competitive with Apple especially in the workplace.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sat down for an interview with our partners at the BBC. He spoke with technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Steve Ballmer: The launch of Windows 8 and the Windows phone is really an epic thing for Microsoft. It's right up there in the top two or three big moments -- including Windows 95 and the launch of the IBM PC. It really sort of starts us on this new era of computing.

Rory Cellan-Jones: Now all of this is about a changing way in which we use computers. You have been incredibly dominant, still make huge amounts of money from the old world of the desktop -- what's the evidence that you are going to be equally successful in this new mobile touchscreen world where so far, you've, frankly, been a bit left behind?

Ballmer: Nobody has a birthright to anything. Whether you're in the market or not in the market -- the real question the consumer is always asking is, 'what's new, what's the next innovation, what's the next opportunity?' We've done a really exciting job, I think when people walk in our shop and pick up a Windows phone or a Surface or one of our partners' Windows 8 computers, they are just going to be blown away. We have to prove it, we gotta get out there and tell the story. We welcome the opportunity to do that.