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Microsoft VP: We're Not Giving Up on Windows RT

By - Source: CNET | B 38 comments

Not to quote Madonna, but DigiTimes on Thursday "caused a commotion" in an article about Microsoft merging Windows RT into Windows Blue. The wording came across as if the company planned to discontinue Windows RT products and merge the ARM-based code into the "next-generation Windows". We know that's not the case, but that didn't stop Microsoft from having to pause in its daily activities and defend the less-loved Windows 8 step-child.

What has fueled the report is Microsoft's obvious reluctance to provide actual sales numbers of Windows RT and Windows 8-based products. Sales have reportedly been lackluster since the retail debut of Windows 8 and Windows RT in September 2012, partially due to a new interface and a lack of supporting touch screens.

But Windows RT and Surface RT products in particular have reportedly failed due to a lack of support for x86-based software and customer confusion. "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," said IDC tablet research director Tom Mainelli.

Many OEMs like Samsung and HP have decided not to ship Windows RT solutions while others like Acer are still committed to shipping something this year. Meanwhile, Microsoft said that Windows 8 tablet standards will be lowered to 1024 x 768 pixel-based devices, thus allowing for cheaper Windows 8 x86-based tablets. That surely will eat into Windows RT sales.

So yeah, to some degree, it looks like Widows RT is doomed based on sales, based on features and based on Microsoft's own move to provide cheaper Windows 8 Pro tablets. But Microsoft has dumped a lot of time and money into bringing Windows 8 onto ARM-based chips. There's simply no way in hell Microsoft is going to take the HP route and give up after months on the market.

"It 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," said Michael Angiulo, corporate vice president, Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem. "Looking at things now like power performance and standby time and passive [fanless] form factors. When we launched windows 8, it was really competitive with a full-sized iPad. A lot of that was made possible by the ARM [chip] architecture."

As for running legacy software on the ARM-based Windows RT, he suggests that consumers need to rethink about their software library in the long run. As on a smartphone, the user experience stays consistent over time because Windows RT tablet owners can re-download their apps time and time again without having to re-purchase. With legacy software, consumers are typically locked with one license to one device.

"Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]," he said. "That's the kind of model people are used to with a phone or tablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] store and reset with a single switch."

There's no indication that Windows RT is dead. If anything, it will be aligned with Windows 8 Pro and other software and services within the Windows Blue update blanket. We actually expect to see Windows RT return from BUILD 2013 this June with a vengeance, so get ready.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    jhansonxi , March 30, 2013 2:09 PM
    The Black Knight in Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail comes to mind.
    Quote:
    "Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]," he said. "That's the kind of model people are used to with a phone or tablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] store and reset with a single switch."
    So make it look like Windows on x86 but have it behave like Windows Phone. Why not just use Windows Phone on an ARM tablet?
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    jhansonxi , March 30, 2013 2:09 PM
    The Black Knight in Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail comes to mind.
    Quote:
    "Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]," he said. "That's the kind of model people are used to with a phone or tablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] store and reset with a single switch."
    So make it look like Windows on x86 but have it behave like Windows Phone. Why not just use Windows Phone on an ARM tablet?
  • 2 Hide
    chiefbox , March 30, 2013 2:12 PM
    Mr. MS VP, If you want to right this win 8 debacle and mess you put your self in, take a page out of Apples's book. Win RT for Phone and Tablets.
  • Display all 38 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    chiefbox , March 30, 2013 2:13 PM
    ... and Win 8 Pro with a proper Desktop for the PC segment.
  • 3 Hide
    Maxx_Power , March 30, 2013 3:21 PM
    Time to give up on Microsoft then.
  • 9 Hide
    TheMadFapper , March 30, 2013 3:43 PM
    They don't need to give up on RT, they need to give up on Metro as a viable desktop interface. Hovering my mouse in corners to access more options is by far the most annoying thing in the world that Ill never get used to. Ignorant.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , March 30, 2013 3:49 PM
    I take it no one here has actually owned or used an RT tablet

    Id much rather a fully functional RT tablet then an Ipad or Android toy, i can actually use an RT tablet for proper work
  • 3 Hide
    JackFrost860 , March 30, 2013 4:16 PM
    What does RT stand for? I asked Bing but it came up with Ripe Turd?
  • 2 Hide
    ddpruitt , March 30, 2013 4:23 PM
    Quote:
    With legacy software, consumers are typically locked with one license to one device.


    Like Office right? These is the only piece of non-OEM software I know of that had this type of arcane license.

    Quote:
    But Microsoft has dumped a lot of time and money into bringing Windows 8 onto ARM-based chips. There's simply no way in hell Microsoft is going to take the HP route and give up after months on the market.


    Wouldn't be the first or last time Microsoft dumped an expensive product after heavily investing in it, which I don't think they spent as much as they're saying, they just ported the HAL and drivers. Think Flight, Bob, Windows Mobile, etc.
  • 4 Hide
    BringMeAnother , March 30, 2013 4:28 PM
    I think it's fine if that MS is trying to compete in the ARM market, but when there are already two well established product echosystems and you are introducing a third, you better make that new product amazing or cheap. RT is neither.
  • 1 Hide
    lradunovic77 , March 30, 2013 5:04 PM
    Microsoft needs to send Metro interface to trash of Computing History because it is one terrible interface.
  • 7 Hide
    killerclick , March 30, 2013 5:08 PM
    Who cares, Windows RT and Metro are irrelevant. 97% of users have not upgraded to Windows 8 even after five months, Xmas shopping and huge upgrade discounts. All Windows tablets are commercial flops, as is Windows Phone.

    Microsoft needs to listen to their customers - 97% of them are rejecting their new paradigm, and those that actually like Metro are an extreme minority, and they should be aware of that.
  • 7 Hide
    killerclick , March 30, 2013 5:09 PM
    apache_livesI take it no one here has actually owned or used an RT tabletId much rather a fully functional RT tablet then an Ipad or Android toy, i can actually use an RT tablet for proper work


    Good for you, but you are in the minority. Enjoy your niche device.
  • -4 Hide
    TheMadFapper , March 30, 2013 5:32 PM
    killerclickGood for you, but you are in the minority. Enjoy your niche device.


    Agreed, I hate Apple but I'm typing this on an iPad because it WORKS >.
  • 7 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , March 30, 2013 5:58 PM
    I remember seeing that Start button for the first time and thinking how clean an interface the new Windows 95 was in comparison to the old Windows 3.1. Now, I'm looking at how messy Windows RT/8 is and I can't help but to think it's a "polished" looking version of Windows 3.1 Having that Start button there was nice, because you didn't immediately see everything installed. Windows 3.1/Windows RT/8 basically look like your computer barfed up everything that's in it when you boot it up. No one likes the look of barf.
  • 2 Hide
    ron baker , March 30, 2013 7:34 PM
    barf ...??
  • 1 Hide
    koldkalamity , March 30, 2013 8:22 PM
    *SIGH*
    Dear, Microsoft

    I. FUCKING. HATE. WINDOWS. RT.
    Stop. Give me the real thing and just fucking fix it.
  • -1 Hide
    dimar , March 30, 2013 10:10 PM
    Microsoft is in need of some serious restructuring! Firing the responsible people for Windows ME, Vista, and Win8 should be the first step.
  • 9 Hide
    glitch20 , March 31, 2013 1:57 AM
    I'll give up MS if ubuntu or mac play crysis dota2 etc
  • 3 Hide
    belardo , March 31, 2013 3:41 AM
    I have 4 xp keys and of course several current win7 lic. For which to get in8 for $40. Hell, even t preview version = $40 legit "upgrade". I installed win 8 preview on my notebook, it now only runs LinuxMint. I did not waste $40 to buy something I wouldnt install for free on computers.
    Since the release of win8, I've built only win7 64 bit on everything.

    There really isn't much an RT can do over an iPad or android device. My phone is android 4.2x and i Typed this whoe response from my iPad.
  • -1 Hide
    nikolajj , March 31, 2013 6:03 AM
    apache_livesI take it no one here has actually owned or used an RT tabletId much rather a fully functional RT tablet then an Ipad or Android toy, i can actually use an RT tablet for proper work

    killerclickGood for you, but you are in the minority. Enjoy your niche device.


    Well, that IS the only problem with Windows RT (and pro). Its new, so people dont understand it and they dont wanna try to. Like people are with most changes (Facebook knows thes). All the new Windows products are great, but they just lack the user base, nothing more.
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