Print 47 comment(s) - last by Fritzr.. on Oct 16 at 5:21 AM

Microsoft is dropping the "RT" name for a simple "Surface 2" in the new generation

Of Microsoft's Surface family, Surface RT seems to be that uncle you try to avoid at Christmas. Now, Microsoft is saying that using "Surface RT" as a branding name was a mistake for the product. 

Jack Cowett, Microsoft's product marketing manager for Surface, said that the branding name "Surface RT" was a mistake because it was confusing for customers who didn't know the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro. 

"We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro," said Cowett. "We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people."

The latest generation of the Surface RT tablet is simply called "Surface 2," dropping the RT name entirely. The pro version is called "Surface Pro 2." 

Many may not have realized that the RT version meant using a completely different operating system from the Surface Pro. Surface RT is equipped with the Windows RT variant of Windows 8, which is a stripped-down version that is incapable of running legacy apps. The Pro, on the other hand, runs the full Windows 8 OS.

The new Surface 2 Pro will run the full version of Windows 8.1 while Surface 2 will continue running the RT version.

Surface 2 also sports a 10.6-inch 1080p display and is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip. 

Microsoft hasn't had a whole lot of luck with the Windows RT-based model of its Surface since its October 2012 release. Many have criticized it for being half the experience of the Pro version, and Microsoft was practically giving them away earlier this year (in June, Microsoft announced that it was giving away 10,000 Surface RT tablets to teachers at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). A week later, it introduced an offer that gave schools Surface RTs for only $199 through August). 

To further cement Surface trouble, Microsoft took a $900 million charge on the Surface flop back in July. Later that month, it was discovered that Microsoft had only sold a total of $853 million in Surface tablets combined from launch (October 26, 2012) to June 30, 2013. 

Microsoft likely hopes that the new Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro will fare better in the tablet market -- and may also hope that customers don't treat Surface 2 the same way they did Surface RT. 


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By sprockkets on 10/14/2013 12:33:17 PM , Rating: 5
So by dropping the RT moniker you show that you haven't learned a damned thing.

Good going Microsoft.

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 12:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Exactly what I was going to say.

Yes, the real problem here was the R and the T. ugh... 900 million dollar loss and they still dont get it.

RE: wonderful
By SAN-Man on 10/14/2013 1:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
So that's the only thing they changed?

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
They have better h/w now 1 year later, of course. But the issue is that not alot of people want or need such a device. It's a pretty well spec'd thing and designed well too... It's just that there isn't much of a market for it.

RE: wonderful
By othercents on 10/14/2013 2:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
But the issue is that not alot of people want or need such a device.

No the issue is that most people expect a Windows device to run the legacy applications. Windows RT can't do that, so instead of renaming the Surface into something that tells people "this won't run your legacy applications" they decide to make them more similar which will add to more confusion.

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 3:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
That would be saying that if they named it or explained it right, it would have sold well, and I dont think that is the case. It's a good product, just not one that many people want. That goes for both versions.

I would love a Pro, but no way in hell would I spend that much on it. I wouldnt even spend my companies money on it unless the Pro were $500 (the new Haswell Pro)

RE: wonderful
By tayb on 10/14/2013 6:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
The Surface 2 is infinitely more useful than any Android or iOS tablet could ever pretend to be. I can play crap games, surf the web, and watch Netflix on my Nexus 7 but I can't do anything actually productive. The Surface line of tablets are the ONLY tablets on the market that allow people to do actual work.

Below I have a list of tablets that allow me to run Microsoft office, plug in USB peripherals, and remote connect to my full-featured PC:

Yeah. The list is empty. The reason the Surface RT and Surface 2 will flop is because Microsoft is pricing itself out of the market, consumers are confused about Windows RT, and consumers don't have a lot of faith in Microsoft labeled tablets. That's it.

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 6:44:15 PM , Rating: 1
"The Surface 2 is infinitely more useful than any Android or iOS tablet"

True, for some users.

"Below I have a list of tablets that allow me to run Microsoft office, plug in USB peripherals, and remote connect to my full-featured PC: Yeah. The list is empty. "

Agreed, but again, that is not what most people want to do with their tablets. To me, itws a great 1/2 way device between tablet and full cuntional PC... Portable and powerful... I dont disagree at all its a great product, it's just that most people dont want/need something like it.

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: wonderful
By sprockkets on 10/14/2013 9:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
You can't use an office suite in Android? A VNC client?

I've plugged in USB thumb drives, included an external drive with an Asus Transformer. What else would I need to plug into it?

RE: wonderful
By Scannall on 10/15/2013 6:16:34 AM , Rating: 2
The Surface Pro may be more useful for *your* needs. And that's great. For my needs however, an iPad works perfectly. The apps I use simply aren't available for Windows at any price. Office is no longer a deal breaker these days, as quite frankly if you are a heavy Office user then something like a MBA would be a better bet for the same money.

RE: wonderful
By robinthakur on 10/15/2013 6:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but people have been managing without MS Office in the enterprise on mobile ever since the first iPad and iPhone came out, making it a lot less important than it has been historically. Alternatives were found in the App Store which work well enough to make minor edits and comments and don't cost anything like what Office costs. It's not like keyboards don't exist for the iPad, though I do like MS's solution, so content creation has actually been possible for a while, and I'm always surprised by how people in the organisation put them to use.

iPhone and iPad have also driven the adoption of other Apple kit such as Macbook Pros, iMacs and Apple TV's in every meeting room to be able to wirelessly present from your iPad/Mac and that looks like a big step forward.

The iDevices still consume data from MS back-ends like SharePoint, Exchange, CRM etc, but most users are happier doing this through an iPad. We trialled a couple of Surface RT's and Surface Pros but users gave them back and requested iPads instead. Whilst the techy in me would like to play with a Surface Pro, I wouldn't buy one myself, I'd rather buy an iPad due to the developer focus being still on iOS for multiple reasons.

I don't doubt that had MS moved sooner into this area with a product that looks more business oriented and with more compatibility at the Surface RT's price point, they would be in use today instead of iPads, but that's not how it turned out. The only Surfaces I've seen to date was in the hands of some MS gold partners who came to do some work, and they didn't have to pay full price for them.

RE: wonderful
By mike66 on 10/14/2013 12:42:24 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they should keep the "R" and add an "S".

RE: wonderful
By Motoman on 10/14/2013 1:20:16 PM , Rating: 2

MS is so lost it's not even funny.

RE: wonderful
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/14/2013 5:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
These are the same people who named their word processor Word. Microsoft sucks at branding. The only decent product name they've come up with over the years is Outlook.

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 5:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
I always thought "Windows" was a good brand and aptly named... OF course the new Start screen/Metro UI killed that one. It's not Windows anymore, just a fullscreen waste.

RE: wonderful
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/14/2013 6:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
The purpose of names is to identify things. Using generic terms as names never make much sense to me. Only software makers like to do this. You don't see General Mills "Cereal" or Ford "Sedan".

In the internet age, having distinctive name is even more important since you want consumers to be able to easily find information about your product through a search engine.

RE: wonderful
By Mpdt on 10/15/2013 12:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ford Coupé
Hyundai Coupé
Ferrari LaFerrari

RE: wonderful
By Mpdt on 10/15/2013 12:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
first one should be fiat

RE: wonderful
By Mpdt on 10/15/2013 12:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ford GT
Maserati Gran Turismo
Maserati Quattroporte
Alpha Spider
Opel GT
Smart Roadster

Edit button where are you?

RE: wonderful
By superstition on 10/15/2013 11:08:39 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, that was a brilliant move.

The plainness and universal nature of the name fits perfectly with its dominance.

It is a much better name than something complex.

English speakers have a preference for one syllable words, or for cutting the number of syllables when possible. For instance, homosexual became gay. That isn't the whole story, of course, but it definitely is part of the trend. Even though, objectively (in terms of morphology), homosexual is a more neutral and accurate term, gay is much more popular because it's just one syllable. (Yes, there are other reasons as well...) This is also why nicknames are always shorter or easier to say than the full name.

Therefore Word is more impressive than WordPerfect or AbiWord.

It's shorter and more universal. It carries more authority with office secretaries and the like as a result.

Consider also the popularity of Chrome now. Chrome is one syllable. Internet Explorer and Firefox are harder to say. Safari is three syllables. Chrome is rapidly gaining share. My university is pushing it on all the machines now as the default. It's not just because of the name, of course, but that does make a difference. The connotation of shiny invokes the meaning "new" and so people are also inclined to think it's good because it's the shiny new thing.

RE: wonderful
By superstition on 10/15/2013 11:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
The developers of Magic: The Gathering also made this observation. They said they try to save one word card names for rare cards, because of the "power" of a single word. (Garfield had to tack on "the gathering" for copyright purposes.)

RE: wonderful
By thorr2 on 10/14/2013 5:39:03 PM , Rating: 3
They should come up with a completely new name for Windows RT. Apple has iOS and iPAD/iPhone, etc. and nobody complains that it is not compatible with Mac applications. Google has Android. Microsoft has Windows and it is not compatible with Windows. Call it Microsoft Mobile OS or something. Then people won't expect Windows and may be happy with a third alternative to Android and iOS. Oh and by the way, they can run the same apps on their PC at home that has Windows 8 on it. Not true for iOS and Android as far as I know. It's all in how they spin it.

I should work for Microsoft and be in charge of marketing. ;-)

RE: wonderful
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 5:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
"Apple has iOS and iPAD/iPhone, etc. and nobody complains that it is not compatible with Mac applications. "

Exactly... 2 different product types with 2 totally different interfaces (touch screen vs KB/Mouse) require 2 different approaches. Even if eventually merged, the UI's will have top be different.

RE: wonderful
By xti on 10/15/2013 2:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
surface was such a great tablet name too and they over thought it. they should have never used windows at all and just gone with SurfaceOS or some crap.

they should
By Souka on 10/14/2013 1:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
just rename both.

Surface 2 SX - currently RT
Surface 2 DX - currently Pro

Those who are old enough will get the SX and DX joke....

RE: they should
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 1:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Then next year, MMX!

RE: they should
By MWink on 10/14/2013 2:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
I get it, but the difference between RT and Pro is FAR bigger than the difference between a SX and DX chip. I still remember running Windows 95 (which I think required a 386 DX) on my 386 SX-16. It was slow but it ran.

RE: they should
By retrospooty on 10/14/2013 2:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
"I get it, but the difference between RT and Pro is FAR bigger than the difference between a SX and DX chip."

This is true from a tech perspective, but from a consumer perspective, there are not alot of buyers for either.

RE: they should
By Souka on 10/14/2013 7:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
simple problem with the Surface RT, and Microsoft will likely never fix it, they're not selling well.

Just my $.02

RE: they should
By Fritzr on 10/16/2013 5:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
No, it is completely appropriate :)

For the younger folks
With the i386 CPU DX meant "with advanced capability", SX meant "crippled"
With the i486 CPU DX meant "with math coprocessor", SX meant "without math coprocessor"

Using the DX to mean Metro with Legacy Windows and SX to mean Metro without Legacy Windows fits the original theme perfectly.

RE: they should
By spamreader1 on 10/14/2013 2:59:47 PM , Rating: 2
Where's the turbo button?

Won't this make it MORE confusing?
By MWink on 10/14/2013 1:03:35 PM , Rating: 5
I just don't get it. How does this reduce confusion? If anything, I feel this move is going to increase confusion. I wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional, to try and trick people into buying Windows RT devices.

RE: Won't this make it MORE confusing?
By Khato on 10/14/2013 2:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. This sounds more like Microsoft executives realized that consumers weren't as uninformed as they expected them to be and hence didn't want to touch Windows RT with its lack of legacy compatibility. The solution? Hide the fact that it's running Windows RT. Bravo Microsoft.

Makes sense to me
By amanojaku on 10/14/2013 1:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
Surface runs apps.

Surface Pro runs apps AND applications.

I'm not even sure what "RT" stands for. ReTarded?

RE: Makes sense to me
By troysavary on 10/14/2013 2:21:55 PM , Rating: 3
It stood for 'run time". The new way of coding for Windows, both RT and 8, in the Windows run time, which is supposed to be a more secure operating environment. I think MS wants to get most devs switched over to developing in the new environment. Personally, I think they should just allow both the desktop and the new UI to utilize the new dev environment, as there are significant advantages to the new tools, but many people still want the classic desktop look and feel.

RE: Makes sense to me
By sprockkets on 10/14/2013 5:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
It still does.

But the RT in Windows RT stand for, well, nothing. And they decided against Windows on ARM.

I mean, we wouldn't have this stupid issue if Win8 ran on the desktop and did the desktop UI first and metro if you wanted it, and WinRT ran the tablet friendly UI ONLY and ran only on ARM.

Just like the somewhat old SBC stood for nothing officially, even though it kinda is obvious it was southwestern bell corporation.

By SYSTEMS ANALYST on 10/14/2013 4:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
As I could not find any sales figures for RT and PRO, I went to the local MS store and asked the salesman. He said that RT outsells the PRO by 3:1. He said that the RT is selling as a tablet, and the PRO is selling as a convertable.
The PRO 2 will cost over $1000 with keyboard and Office. The Surface 2 will cost $450 with five Office applications included. Source: MS brochure.
NVIDIA have announced that they are developing a 64-bit ARM chip. MS may plan to use this in a later version of device.

By fic2 on 10/15/2013 12:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
So, 3 people bought RTs and only 1 bought a Pro?

By Rukkian on 10/15/2013 4:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
Of course those are not counting for the returns on 80% of RT tablets when people figured out they couldn't do anything they really wanted.

By NesuD on 10/14/2013 2:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
Renaming it Surface 2 Kids Edition would go a lot further in clearing up the differences than simply dropping RT. What knuckleheads.

RE: \Facepalm
By fic2 on 10/15/2013 12:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Surface 1/2...

By cokbun on 10/15/2013 5:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
does anyone know what RT stands for ? ( without googling. )

RE: so...
By Fritzr on 10/16/2013 5:21:11 AM , Rating: 1
Yes. It stands for RT.

It is simply letters to put in the ad copy, there was no hidden meaning to the series designation.

By Operandi on 10/14/2013 12:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
Does this imply that it actually made sense to somebody else?

Ignoring the Real Problem
By foxalopex on 10/15/2013 2:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think Microsoft's missing the point here. The only real reason (including myself) that folks use Windows is it supports countless pieces of legacy software and a huge selection of productivity tools some free, open source and commercial.

With RT since it's essentially a completely *new* version of windows with no backwards compatibility means that the only real software available for it is all Microsoft stuff which is very limited. Sure it's a cheaper tablet, but I doubt many Windows users are willing to sacrifice the main reason why they've stayed with Windows all these years.

Both Android and IOs are already deeply entrenched in the Tablet marketspace with zillions of applications so for Microsoft it's a little too late.

Less confusion??
By Fritzr on 10/16/2013 5:07:15 AM , Rating: 2
Old version
Pro == real Windows
RT == Metro on Arm

New version
Surface Pro == real Windows
Surface == Metro on ARM

Yep by dropping anything that notifies the buyer that this is different, they will eliminate the confusion...

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