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Dell Warned Ballmer Not To Use Windows RT Branding

By - Source: The Financial Review | B 49 comments

Using the Windows branding on the ARM-based OS will only lead to confusion, Dell said.

At the Dell World conference in Austin, Texas, Dell’s vice chairman and president of its PC business, Jeffrey Clarke, told analysts that he warned Steve Ballmer against using the Windows brand on ARM-based hardware.

According to Clarke, he told Ballmer that the "Windows" brand was meant to signify that a Microsoft x86-based operating system was compatible with current and previous Windows applications. Because Windows RT isn't based on x86 and can't run Windows applications, then the OS should be renamed. Even more, the Windows RT label will only lead to confusion.

Ballmer's response? The Windows brand was too important a franchise to not be used with the ARM-based version of Microsoft's new OS.

Now two months out, customer confusion has already begun. Critics point out that Windows RT looks so much like its x86-based counterpart that it's hard to distinguish the difference. Because of this confusion, Microsoft has reportedly relaxed its return policies for its Surface RT tablet because customers purchased the device thinking they could run their Windows-based software.

For those just tuning in, Windows RT runs on System-on-Chips (SoC) based on ARM's architecture. These mobile chips are manufactured by Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments and typically used in tablets and smartphones. The Windows we've come to know and love over the years runs on x86-based processors supplied by AMD and Intel. Almost all Windows apps are written for the latter x86-based processors.

However both Windows 8 Pro (x86) and Windows RT (ARM) can run Windows 8 "Modern UI" apps. The catch is that these apps must ported to the Windows RT platform if they're not already designed for the platform separately. Unfortunately, not all Windows 8 apps are crossing over into the Windows RT realm, reportedly causing even more compatibility issues.

Still, according to Neil Hand, the vice president in charge of Dell’s tablet business, whether Microsoft has called its ARM-based OS Windows RT or something else, Dell would still have been required to educate customers on the difference between the two versions.

"Making sure we educate the market place on the differences was going to be a necessary action no matter what. Just calling it something different is not going to solve the problem," Hand told The Australian Financial Review.

He said that looking ahead, consumers will see lighter, thinner, smaller Windows RT devices than what they'll see in a full Intel architecture. Maybe eventually this is where consumers will notice a difference: in the hardware itself. They'll know that a small, lightweight device isn't made to run their heavy Windows applications.

"Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Windows 8 is very important. In the business world (Intel compatibility) makes a big difference," Hand said. "But as you cross into consumer land, the trade-off of size, weight, performance and price [allow you to] get a little bit more aggressive with ARM-based solutions. I think there’s a future for RT."

 

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    halcyon , December 26, 2012 3:01 PM
    I keep hoping to read that Balmer has been removed from his position.
  • 20 Hide
    chumly , December 26, 2012 3:01 PM
    Metro is garbage. If we wanted to be force fed DRM we would be using Apple computers.
  • 20 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , December 26, 2012 3:06 PM
    chumlyMetro is garbage. If we wanted to be force fed DRM we would be using Apple computers.

    they should just patch metro as sub feature like windows media center......
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , December 26, 2012 2:33 PM
    Just say no to Windows RT (or Windows 8).
  • 16 Hide
    davewolfgang , December 26, 2012 2:35 PM
    Sorry, but all I can say to MS is - Bwahhahahhahahahahahaahahahhaa!!!!

    (All of us Alpha and Beta testers told you this YEARS ago too - along with the MetroUI crap)
  • 20 Hide
    chumly , December 26, 2012 3:01 PM
    Metro is garbage. If we wanted to be force fed DRM we would be using Apple computers.
  • 27 Hide
    halcyon , December 26, 2012 3:01 PM
    I keep hoping to read that Balmer has been removed from his position.
  • 20 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , December 26, 2012 3:06 PM
    chumlyMetro is garbage. If we wanted to be force fed DRM we would be using Apple computers.

    they should just patch metro as sub feature like windows media center......
  • 7 Hide
    Cas_77 , December 26, 2012 3:11 PM
    I wont buy anything with metro in it unless it is optional, w7 user.
  • 9 Hide
    rebel1280 , December 26, 2012 3:23 PM
    sonofliberty08they should just patch metro as sub feature like windows media center......

    yes yes yes yes yes, ive been saying this all along!
  • -3 Hide
    Maxor127 , December 26, 2012 3:25 PM
    I'll get crappy Windows 8 if I can find a retail copy for under $45. That way, if I can mod it, then I'll have a cheap Windows 7 substitute, and if I hate it, I'm not out a lot of money.
  • 0 Hide
    w8gaming , December 26, 2012 3:28 PM
    I have been trying to run older PC games in Windows 8 desktop mode. There is this alternative "on-screen keyboard" that Microsoft has included, that actually runs better than the iPad-like on screen keyboard as far as gaming is concerned. This keyboard seems to work even in full screen mode when gaming. It also has numeric keypad which some games require as input. Still, I hope it has been better, like able to dock the keyboard to left or right instead of just top and bottom, or other annoyances. Hopefully somebody can make a better mod or Microsoft can see how this is being used and improve upon it.

    The "on-screen keyboard" is part of user accessibility feature which can be launched by searching "osk" using the search option. Or launch it from user accessibility.
  • 8 Hide
    chumly , December 26, 2012 3:34 PM
    sonofliberty08they should just patch metro as sub feature like windows media center......


    agree completely.
  • 3 Hide
    mt2e , December 26, 2012 3:42 PM
    Microsoft is full of smart people but only the idiots let Metro fly
  • 8 Hide
    JamesSneed , December 26, 2012 3:56 PM
    Quote:
    they should just patch metro as sub feature like windows media center......



    Couldn't agree more. Just let us tweak how it behaves to fit how we use our PC. For me I would prefer if Metro came up as a window on the desktop since I'm on the desktop 99% of the time. That would allow me to use Metro when I wanted which in some cases to launch a program it can be useful I just hate jumping out and back in so to speak. Im sure others feel different just let us tweak how it works to fit how we use or computer not the other way around.
  • -6 Hide
    mstngs351 , December 26, 2012 3:56 PM
    So to summarize, people are lazy and can't be bothered to spend 5 minutes learning about a $400-500 device before throwing their money at someone. Fools and their money are soon parted.
  • 5 Hide
    Blessedman , December 26, 2012 4:11 PM
    This is one aspect of MS that has alwasy drivin me nuts! It's almost like they want a closed system but are to afraid to shut out their vendors. This Hybrid closed system is going to ruin MS and will leave us with Apple or Linux... Linux here I come!
  • 4 Hide
    twelve25 , December 26, 2012 4:11 PM
    You didn't have to be an Executive at a major computer company to see this problem coming.

  • 5 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , December 26, 2012 4:19 PM
    davewolfgangSorry, but all I can say to MS is - Bwahhahahhahahahahahaahahahhaa!!!!(All of us Alpha and Beta testers told you this YEARS ago too - along with the MetroUI crap)


    It's not the Metro UI that Clarke was raising concerns with Microsoft over. Nor is it the Metro UI that customers are returning their surface RT. it's the fragmentation of windows 8 devices between ARM and x86/64 that is the problem.

    I agree Metro is not compelling for a regular desktop or laptop user to upgrade their OS.

    It makes perfect sense on touch based devices. The RT and PRO is a complete debacle and this most people knowing markets and computers could predict would fail.

    Surface RT failed on 2 levels pricing and different version from x86/64 not Metro
  • 3 Hide
    bystander , December 26, 2012 4:30 PM
    I have to agree with both Dell and Microsoft on this. Yes it is confusing, but yes, they had to do it. The OS behaves exactly like Windows and is a huge marketing icon. Dell is right that it is confusing, and also right that even if it had been named Microsoft Doors, people would still think it'll work, as when they look at it, it still looks like Windows.
  • -4 Hide
    dgingeri , December 26, 2012 5:18 PM
    It's just confusing to the stupid people. Those of us with average intelligence and above don't have a problem with it. Microsoft is better off without those types of people being customers.
  • 5 Hide
    insider3 , December 26, 2012 5:30 PM
    hakestermanIt's just confusing to the stupid people. Those of us with average intelligence and above don't have a problem with it. Microsoft is better off without those types of people being customers.Your a %^&%* Moron.


    For a company trying to be "hip" like Apple, they should expect these types of customers and cater to them. This whole Metro GUI Windows 8 campaign is marketed towards Apple type users anyways. No one with brains will switch from Win7 to 8. There's no reason, unless you really do find Metro + touchscreen appealing.
  • 3 Hide
    madooo12 , December 26, 2012 5:36 PM
    so dell agrees that the windows branding would be used on phones, but not tablets

    I don't see any consumers buying windows phones thinking they would run x86 windows programs
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