The news, views, rumors and gossip regarding Windows 8.1 and the next generation Surface tablets led to Microsoft shares to hitting a five-year high yesterday.

Redmond is currently preparing for a flood of new products, which includes a complete refresh of almost all its major offerings — some under the banner of Blue (the companywide initiative), others as planned yearly refresh of its hardware devices.

And this, according to MarketWatch, resulted in Microsoft stock reaching $34.14 on Thursday, which is the best it has been since January 2008.

In terms of percentage points, this is a 27 percent increase this year.

Microsoft is currently working on a number of important makeovers for its products and services, including its brand new operating system, Windows 8. A pubic preview of the upcoming refresh of the Windows platform, known as Widows 8.1, is set for release during the BUILD developer conference.

The stable build is expected to be unveiled later this year, probably late October.

As far as the company’s line up of Surface devices is concerned, a smaller, more affordable unit running Windows 8.1 is projected to arrive in the months to follow. Some are predicting a June unveil, while others expect the 7 or 8 inch tablet to be released alongside Windows 8.1.

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