Some misinformation in this thread....
You can make win32 applications that respond to touch and that run on windows 8.
x86-based tablets can run win32 applications, only arm-based windows 8 tablets can't.
The win32 wm_gesture messages work on windows 7 and windows 8.
You can make win32 applications that respond to gesture messages using any compiler/IDE that works with the windows 7 platform sdk or later.