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  (Source: Focus Features)
"We didn't do the work [just to give up]" says Microsoft VP

A new report suggests that Windows RT, a struggling mobile-geared OS from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), may not be dead quite yet.

I. Critics Pile on Windows RT

The signs certainly seemed to point in recent months to Microsoft bailing on Windows on ARM (WOA), laying the poorly selling Windows RT to rest.  DigiTimes reported that Microsoft was scrapping the ARM processor OS to refocus on the x86 development path, looking ahead towards this fall's Windows Blue.

International Data Corp. (IDC) tablet research director Tom Mainelli hopped onboard the hate training earlier this month, suggesting that Microsoft should ditch Windows RT, which he predicts to only have a 1.9% share of shipments, or 3.6M devices out of total of 190.4M for 2013.

Windows RT
Sources have claimed Microsoft is close to abandoning Windows RT. [Image Source: Microsoft]

Mr. Mainelli suggests the lack of legacy software support was one key factor to blame for Windows RT's poor performance, remarking, "People may not love Windows 8, but it's compatible with the software they've always run.  RT may look like Windows, but in fact it's not."

II. Manufacturers Bail Too

In January Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) North American market PC and tablet SVP, Mike Abary attacked Microsoft's poor consumer education efforts, complaining to CNET:

There wasn't really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.

He said that his company would not be shipping the Windows RT-powered Ativ Tab tablet to U.S. shores anytime soon, concluding, "We want to see how the market develops for RT.  It's not something we're shelving permanently. It's still a viable option for us in the future, but now might not be the right time."

Instead Samsung is selling an alternate Ativ tablet design, priced at $799 USD and powered by Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Atom processor.

Acer Inc. (TPE:2357) has also dismissed Windows RT, saying that ARM 32-bit processors are too weak to power a serious tablet or PC.  As with Samsung, Acer is instead selling more expensive x86-based Windows 8 alternative products.

And most recently Microsoft Surface Division chief Panos Panay, seemingly talked down about the Surface RT calling it "a tablet first", suggesting it was not a true PC like the Surface Pro.  The $499 USD Surface RT has sold a modest 1.1M units.  By contrast, in its month-plus on the market thus far, the more-expensive x86 Surface Pro has sold at a brisker pace, moving over 400K units, according to the IDC.


Lastly, Microsoft just announced that it would be lowering the Windows 8 tablet standards to allow 1024x768 pixel devices, a move which will likely lead to cheaper Windows 8 x86 tablets, potentially cannibalizing the already scant Windows RT sales.

III. Clinging On

But Windows RT appears to be hanging in there.  An unnamed source close to Microsoft told CNET that the suggestion of killing the OS was silly, as Windows 8 and Windows RT already share the same app store and share almost identical source codes, merely compiler-optimized for the particular target architecture.

And others a Microsoft continue to defend the OS more publicly, as well.  Corporate VP Michael Angiulo is quoted as saying:

[Supporting ARM] was a ton of work for us, and we didn't do the work and endure the disruption for any reason other than the fact that there's a strategy there that just gets stronger over time.

He points to ARM Holdings Plc (LON:ARM) partner chips like the Snapdragon 600/800 from Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), which pack a 3G/4G wireless modem on their 28 nm die.  For cellular-equipped tablets, this grants them key power savings over Intel Corp.'s (INTC) current-generation 32 nm or 22 nm mobile chips, which lack an on-die modem.

Adreno inside
Microsoft says on-die modems give ARM tablets a key advantage [Image Source; Qualcomm]

So there you have it -- Windows RT is still alive -- for now -- although its sales look pretty dead in the water.

Sources: CNET [1], [2], DigiTimes, Microsoft



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RE: Yes you did.
By LordSojar on 3/29/2013 5:38:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The very fact that Microsoft even had to make this statement should be a huge wake up call to those few fans of Windows 8 and their claim that we're all just "haters"...


Oh yes, except for the one teensy fact you missed; this is about Windows RT, not Windows 8 as a whole.

Basically, a lot of people are haters who read 1 too many blogs on Windows 8 from people who can't handle change. Is Windows 8 flawless? Absolutely not. Is it abhorrently bad? Again, absolutely not. There is a lot right with Windows 8, and with some intelligent tweaks and refinements, it can be amazing.


RE: Yes you did.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2013 5:43:43 PM , Rating: 1
I didn't miss anything. What makes you think that? I know this is about RT. What was your point?

Microsoft needs to go back to the drawing board on a variety of fronts, and that's just kinda sad.


RE: Yes you did.
By Spuke on 3/29/2013 7:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I didn't miss anything. What makes you think that?
You did say Windows 8 in your post dude. Not RT.


RE: Yes you did.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2013 7:07:17 PM , Rating: 1
That's more Microsoft's fault for not having decent names for these things. Half the people call it Windows 8 RT, and the other half Windows RT. And NOBODY knows what RT even means lol


RE: Yes you did.
By MrBungle123 on 3/29/2013 7:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
RT stands for "Run Time"


RE: Yes you did.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2013 7:53:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I know but how does "Run Time" signify some type of tablet activity or mobile device to the average consumer? Which was my point!


RE: Yes you did.
By inighthawki on 3/29/2013 9:59:22 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it doesn't. Windows RT was the name of the Windows Runtime API used to develop apps, but Windows RT, referring to the version of the OS, does not.

I will give you that the naming is rather confusing, and for those that do not know better, there is plenty of room for confusion, especially around what RT can do versus the full version of Windows 8.


RE: Yes you did.
By Fritzr on 3/30/2013 1:13:23 AM , Rating: 3
Actually this was discussed in the tech news for quite a while.

The RT in WinRT is Runtime. WinRT is the Windows Run Time code that executes code compiled to use the WinRT execution libraries. WinRT has nothing to do with Windows 8 & Windows RT other than being the runtime library for programs compiled to WinRT bytecode.

The RT in Windows Surface RT stands for RT. That is it has no meaning other than being a type designator.

It is popular to try to find a hidden meaning, but Microsoft's official announcements were pretty clear ... RT means RT.


RE: Yes you did.
By FaaR on 3/30/2013 6:59:04 AM , Rating: 2
RT stands for RT, but it doesn't MEAN anything, which just confuses people because they expect it to mean something. It's an arbitrary designator without any underlying logic or message, which means people will go out of their way looking for something - anything - and sometimes make up their own.

It's simply a really really bad name. They should have called it Win8 portable edition (PE ;P), or something of that nature that would at least have made some sense.


RE: Yes you did.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2013 1:45:40 PM , Rating: 1
Wow are you guys just trying to miss the point?

RT doesn't mean ANYTHING to the consumer, and "Run Time" doesn't align itself to any product. It's shockingly bad that Microsoft went forward with an OS name that so poorly identifies with anything tangible.

Stop trying to impress people with your trivial knowledge of acronyms and understand the context here, please.

quote:
It is popular to try to find a hidden meaning, but Microsoft's official announcements were pretty clear ... RT means RT.


/facepalm....siiigh, wow!


RE: Yes you did.
By inighthawki on 3/30/2013 4:33:47 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, the amount of arrogance that spews from your posts is amazing.


RE: Yes you did.
By Totally on 3/30/2013 8:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
The whole argument is silly and entertaining might as well question all their previous nomenclature what does "XP" mean? Doesn't "Vista" already mean Windows? What does the 'i' in iProduct event meant who cares it's just a name of a product.


RE: Yes you did.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2013 10:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
God the IQ's are just flat-lining here...

Everyone KNEW what XP was. It was the Microsoft desktop OS. A better analogy would be if there was a Windows XP and a Windows XP RT on the market at the same time. One for desktop and one for tablets.

Just admit that "RT" is stupid and meaningless to the consumer and let's move on. What's the problem? You know I'm right, and it's not like I'm the only one who's saying this.


RE: Yes you did.
By Fritzr on 3/31/2013 1:43:17 AM , Rating: 2
XP actually did have a meaning it was the Windows eXPerience.
NT was the New Technology.
Vista has no deep meaning. It was simply a codename. Yes, in Latvian it is "hen", but that only means that in Latvia, Windows "hen" is the name of a Microsoft OS...nothing less, nothing more.

Each new generation of Windows is introduced with a new marketing campaign that includes whatever name Microsoft uses that year. There is no overall pattern to the naming of Windows OSes, though they tend to be (mostly) consistent within the families. Vista is an outlier in the WinX family as was ME in the 9x family.


RE: Yes you did.
By inighthawki on 3/31/2013 2:43:45 AM , Rating: 1
Who cares what RT stands for? Since when is it a requirement for letters in a product name to be an acronym?

Your posts are desperate at best, it's clear you're not speaking from knowledge. In one post you claim

quote:
Half the people call it Windows 8 RT, and the other half Windows RT. And NOBODY knows what RT even means lol


Then someone tells you it means runtime and you say

quote:
Yes I know but how does "Run Time" signify some type of tablet activity or mobile device to the average consumer? Which was my point!


but then when told it doesn't, you respond with

quote:
RT doesn't mean ANYTHING to the consumer, and "Run Time" doesn't align itself to any product. It's shockingly bad that Microsoft went forward with an OS name that so poorly identifies with anything tangible. Stop trying to impress people with your trivial knowledge of acronyms and understand the context here, please.


Which is it? Did you know that or not? Your posts are just blatantly full of sh*t, and it's clear you just have a strong stance against the OS, despite you probably never trying it.

In fact I strongly question your original post that it actually had to do anything to do with RT or just Windows 8. You can try to defend yourself all you want but it sounds far more like you backpedaled your way into a defense "That's what I meant" argument to not look like an idiot.


RE: Yes you did.
By 91TTZ on 4/1/2013 1:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Basically, a lot of people are haters who read 1 too many blogs on Windows 8 from people who can't handle change.


You're parroting an old and beaten argument, claiming that anyone who hates Metro UI just hates change altogether. This isn't true.

I like positive change. I love that feeling when I get something new and it looks modern, works great, and improves usability. I'm a bit of an Apple hater but I loved the iPhone. It was a really good execution on a really good design.

Unfortunately Windows 8 isn't positive change. Windows 8 is an example where designers went out of their way to be different without thinking it through properly. Change for the sake of change isn't improvement, it's usually regression. They made changes to things that didn't improve usability at all. You now have to go out of your way to perform common tasks. To make matters worse, you need to spend time to learn the new way to do common things, and the new way seems to be require more effort than the old way.


RE: Yes you did.
By Belard on 4/3/2013 4:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
You nailed it on the head. If win8 worked as it should have and their mobile OS was done right... Many people wouldn't be continuing to go with android and iOS.


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