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HP Pulling Out of Windows RT Race... Over Surface?

By - Source: SemiAccurate | B 38 comments

HP has supposedly bailed out of the Windows RT race while other Microsoft partners are considering the same, thanks to Surface.

If rumors are true, then Microsoft may have just created a few enemies with the introduction of the Surface tablet last week. Sources have told SemiAccurate that a "whole flock" of formerly close Microsoft partners are looking at Google's Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" as their new best friend. Most are currently debating on whether it will be worth their time to develop Windows RT tablets while Hewlett Packard, Microsoft's biggest OEM, is bailing out altogether.

SemiAccurate paints a dark strategy implemented by Microsoft which paves the way for the supposed OEM rebellion. "Microsoft handcuffed both ARM chipmakers and OEMs with their brilliant two device per chipmaker strategy," the report describes. "Then, they ‘worked closely’ with all the OEMs, ‘helping’ them with their designs. As soon as those designs were essentially finalized, Microsoft did their own device that paid homage to their OEMs most innovative features. It is also a direct competitor to those OEMs, and was designed knowing exactly where their weaknesses were."

The article points out that Microsoft isn't bound by the same restrictions it imposes on OEMs, squashing any possible competition posed by Windows RT partners. The company also increased the price of Windows RT licenses with a "questionably legal monopolistic bundle" to around 3 times that it requires OEMs to pay for the x86 version of Windows 8. Because of these two factors, OEMs can't seemingly compete in the Windows RT arena.

As previously stated, HP and its Qualcomm-based Windows RT machines are supposedly the first to bail. Other industry rumors claim that Windows RT partners are canning one or more designs in light of the Surface reveal last week, and are scraping up every bit of resource they can to renew their Android efforts. This move is likely fueled by Android 4.1's big reveal this week at Google I/O which sports features like the Chrome browser (HTML5 apps?) and Google Now, Siri's new competitor.

"Microsoft’s incompetent management and Apple envy earned the enmity of their largest partner, and others are following closely," SemiAccurate writes. "Like we said, game over for Windows RT."

Is that as bit harsh, or dead on the money? The fact that Microsoft kept Surface a secret until the very last moment should speak volumes about the company's current relationship with OEMs. As for HP bailing out of Windows RT, given the company's rocky status, the gadget may never have been at the forefront of its plans to begin with.

UPDATE: HP confirmed that it has put its Windows RT plans on hold. "The decision to go with x86 was influenced by input from our customers,” HP spokesperson Marlene Somsak wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.”

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  • 21 Hide
    Pinhedd , June 29, 2012 7:29 PM
    cscott_itI think it was because of the shortcomings in their OEM offerings. Not because of their "weaknesses".It may mean more or less the same thing, but when you read it, you get the difference. Google is a good example, sometimes if you want it done right - you have to do it yourself. Hopefully they can offer something intuitive and groundbreaking compared to their partners, something that adds another player so that all of the tablet makers have to redouble their efforts and push things farther.


    Couldn't agree more. Apple's success in the phone and tablet market isn't due to Apple doing anything particularly new or daunting, it's due to the competition not doing anything right at all.
  • 20 Hide
    IAmVortigaunt , June 29, 2012 8:35 PM
    Let's be honest. Did anyone really expect anything great out of HP on this front anyway?
  • 11 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 29, 2012 7:12 PM
    In all honesty we've seen what the oems can offer and they can be damn, DAMN lazy! Leave Windows RT to Microsoft and announce the new 2770p along with a nice new x86 wacom tablet.

    Also, HP, please, DO NOT simply drop an Atom based WIndows 8 tablet like the HP Slate 500 and Slate 2 as they were both tragically underpowered devices.

    Personally I'd like a nice new 2170p with a screen that's a tablet so I can use all the fantastic docking stations, peripherals and BB09/CC09 extended batteries. 32+ hours of battery life anyone? But... HP probably won't do that as it makes too much sense.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    cscott_it , June 29, 2012 7:03 PM
    I think it was because of the shortcomings in their OEM offerings. Not because of their "weaknesses".

    It may mean more or less the same thing, but when you read it, you get the difference. Google is a good example, sometimes if you want it done right - you have to do it yourself. Hopefully they can offer something intuitive and groundbreaking compared to their partners, something that adds another player so that all of the tablet makers have to redouble their efforts and push things farther.

  • 11 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 29, 2012 7:12 PM
    In all honesty we've seen what the oems can offer and they can be damn, DAMN lazy! Leave Windows RT to Microsoft and announce the new 2770p along with a nice new x86 wacom tablet.

    Also, HP, please, DO NOT simply drop an Atom based WIndows 8 tablet like the HP Slate 500 and Slate 2 as they were both tragically underpowered devices.

    Personally I'd like a nice new 2170p with a screen that's a tablet so I can use all the fantastic docking stations, peripherals and BB09/CC09 extended batteries. 32+ hours of battery life anyone? But... HP probably won't do that as it makes too much sense.
  • 5 Hide
    erunion , June 29, 2012 7:12 PM
    I'd rather see OEMs do a two tier X86 lineup anyways. One Atom, one Core.
  • 7 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 29, 2012 7:13 PM
    P.S. If Windows RT takes off they'll soon come running and I hope that they get ignored! Tut.
  • 21 Hide
    Pinhedd , June 29, 2012 7:29 PM
    cscott_itI think it was because of the shortcomings in their OEM offerings. Not because of their "weaknesses".It may mean more or less the same thing, but when you read it, you get the difference. Google is a good example, sometimes if you want it done right - you have to do it yourself. Hopefully they can offer something intuitive and groundbreaking compared to their partners, something that adds another player so that all of the tablet makers have to redouble their efforts and push things farther.


    Couldn't agree more. Apple's success in the phone and tablet market isn't due to Apple doing anything particularly new or daunting, it's due to the competition not doing anything right at all.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 29, 2012 8:24 PM
    Dropping Windows RT for Android? That doesn't sound like a good decision at all. Just look at the Android tablet numbers - the first generation iPad probably outsold them combined.
  • 20 Hide
    IAmVortigaunt , June 29, 2012 8:35 PM
    Let's be honest. Did anyone really expect anything great out of HP on this front anyway?
  • 3 Hide
    cscott_it , June 29, 2012 9:00 PM
    "Microsoft’s incompetent management and Apple envy earned the enmity of their largest partner, and others are following closely," SemiAccurate writes. "Like we said, game over for Windows RT."

    This does not surprise me in the least. It won't be the first time they have said this about something and it won't be the last.

    An aside-
    Kevin - why are you sourcing SemiAccurate? Wouldn't that be like sourcing AnandTech or XbitLabs?
    I mean, it just seems like you could do better, like the opinion piece you wrote.
    I enjoyed that and overall I enjoy your journalism, maybe I'm just being an overcritical douche.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 29, 2012 9:07 PM
    Who cares about HP anyway. They are the worst offenders of putting bloatware onto their PC's. WinRt restricts this completely, so no wonder. They will do the same with Jelly Bean and their tablets will suck. Good luck HP. I advise everyone I know to stay away from your junk bloatware infested computers, and will do the same with your tablets.
  • -6 Hide
    zcpro , June 29, 2012 9:21 PM
    This marks the day where OEM's will collaborate with Google to create/expand support for an alternate X86 client OS (Chrome OS) for PC. I say within five (5) years a Google X86 client OS will be supported by the above mentioned OEM'S for Business and End User units.
  • 0 Hide
    duncanmoo , June 29, 2012 9:23 PM
    I have never loved an HP computer that I have used, (nor do I love my Mac I am typing this on). But lets face it MS's distribution partners have been partners for a long time, Why should they bendo over backward for a product where they are being royally messed around.

    Apple screwing distribution partners in Europe and going into direct competition with them!

    Google Nexus model, Google works with one partner to raise the bar, it does not sink competition, and the partner varies.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , June 29, 2012 9:25 PM
    PinheddCouldn't agree more. Apple's success in the phone and tablet market isn't due to Apple doing anything particularly new or daunting, it's due to the competition not doing anything right at all.


    the first 2 gens of iphone, yes, that was the case, the everything after is partially they did it right first, and apple sheep.

    eddieroolzDropping Windows RT for Android? That doesn't sound like a good decision at all. Just look at the Android tablet numbers - the first generation iPad probably outsold them combined.


    windows rt is basically a brand new os without any apps, and there is already a giant making a damn near impossible to beat version of it. its smart to drop the rt line, because all they would do is make the ms one look better.

  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , June 29, 2012 11:10 PM
    so... MS makes their own tablet, HP gets miffed and jumps ship, and from what I am reading in the comments HPs consumers simply say 'dont let the door hit you on the way out!'

    It seems to me HP, a company that was going to axe every single end-user product line just a few months ago, simply cannot make a good device, or sell it for a profit. They are the ones that need to wake up and change.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , June 29, 2012 11:12 PM
    zcproThis marks the day where OEM's will collaborate with Google to create/expand support for an alternate X86 client OS (Chrome OS) for PC. I say within five (5) years a Google X86 client OS will be supported by the above mentioned OEM'S for Business and End User units.

    Google dosn't need an x86 OS. All the programs they have live in ARM space, so why bother moving to a new platform?
  • 1 Hide
    tslot05qsljgo9ed , June 29, 2012 11:13 PM
    Char-lie is just being an a*s*s as usual. Because the Surface RT uses Nvidia he has to hate it. And because of the usual anti-nvidia bias he loves to create pure fictional stories about how it will fail or how it will be the downfall for the company who carries it. For some reason other sites (like this one) pick up. I have no idea why they do.

    Char-LIES articles are mostly-inaccurate. And if Nvidia is involved very-inaccurate.
  • -1 Hide
    bigdragon , June 29, 2012 11:40 PM
    No big deal. I don't really get how Windows RT is supposed to compete against Android and iOS anyway. With all the handicaps and business features removed it seems like it's a flop waiting to happen. Of course a company like HP can't come out and say that without angering Microsoft. Blaming their pull out on the Surface RT tablet hardware doesn't have the same negative consequences as trashing the OS as a whole. What this story tells me is that HP did the market research that Microsoft has not and discovered their customers don't want to switch away from Android or iOS on a tablet. I applaud HP for doing their homework.

    Now for the x86 tablets, the Surface Pro is something I've been waiting for for quite some time. We've had attempts that come close in the Asus EP121 and Samsung Series 7 Slate. Both attempts failed on that successful removable keyboard transformation ability, and both machines failed on the power front with their aggressive CPU throttling. The Fujitsu Q550 and HP Slate were both garbage given their poorly performing Atom CPUs. If HP wants to cry and complain about the Surface Pro then they need to step up to the plate and start competing. The stuff coming from them has been terrible lately. I hope they intend to put some serious resources to their x86 projects and not make the same mistakes made in the past. PC offerings in the work/design/graphics tablet space have been bad enough to make me consider an Apple modbook.
  • -2 Hide
    math1337 , June 30, 2012 12:46 AM
    bigdragonNo big deal. I don't really get how Windows RT is supposed to compete against Android and iOS anyway. With all the handicaps and business features removed it seems like it's a flop waiting to happen. Of course a company like HP can't come out and say that without angering Microsoft. Blaming their pull out on the Surface RT tablet hardware doesn't have the same negative consequences as trashing the OS as a whole. What this story tells me is that HP did the market research that Microsoft has not and discovered their customers don't want to switch away from Android or iOS on a tablet. I applaud HP for doing their homework.


    Agreed. Considering that Windows RT has essentially no advantage over ios/android, and many disadvantages, I'm surprised any OEM was stupid enough to even consider it.
  • -5 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 30, 2012 1:10 AM
    Blame Windows 8.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2012 1:39 AM
    Windows RT, with its $85 OEM license fee, virtually non-existing app eco-system, no compeling features, essentially has zero reason for the customers to buy. Everyone knows that, including Microsoft itself. Microsoft is gambling on the strength of its x86 OS will draw people into buying x86 tablets and from there, hopefully, the developers will cross-compile Metro app for RT and build up the eco-system from there. I think they could have done more for their x86 Windows 8 though, such as including a onscreen touchpad for mouse movement, and a fully customizable keyboard layout that can specify which keys to appear at which portion of the screen anywhere on the tablet. Both features will become immensely useful in the desktop mode. And desktop mode is the only reason most people will be buying x86 tablets at the beginning.
  • 2 Hide
    xerroz , June 30, 2012 2:02 AM
    Not surprised. I don't think any OEM has the drive to make something as good as the Surface. If they would've half assed it it's best to just pull out so good move on HP and consumers I'd say
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