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BLOG: Windows RT? More like Windows WTF

Robert X. Cringely | Aug. 16, 2013
How did Microsoft miss so badly with Windows RT? By putting its own needs ahead of its users' requirements

3. Worst of all—and stop me if you've heard this before — are the Windows 8 apps. Though Microsoft boasts of more than 100,000 apps in the Windows 8 Store, "crapps" is a better word for them. The ones I tried were largely abysmal and/or crippled.

The final straw was when I launched the Dropbox app, opened a document, edited it inside Word, and tried to save it back to the Dropbox cloud. I was shocked to discover there was no way to do that. When I went to the Windows 8 help site and searched on "How do I save files to Dropbox?" this was the first result:

If you store Office documents on Dropbox, then you should switch to SkyDrive instead.

My response to that cannot be published in a family-friendly website like the one you are now reading.

I actually have a SkyDrive account (it came with my Windows Phone). I use it occasionally to share documents with other people I know who have SkyDrive accounts. It is, in my opinion, far less seamless than Dropbox, so I don't use it very often. I am deeply disinclined to move all of my documents to SkyDrive, just because Microsoft would only allow an intentionally hobbled cloud app into its store.

ReTire it now
That's it for me. I'm done with RT. I'm going to take my old Vizio Ultrabook-wannabe to Berlin instead, despite its wonky keyboard and 2.7-hour battery life.

In just about every way, using Windows RT was harder than using a normal laptop, let alone an iPad. I had to learn a new nomenclature ("charms"?) and figure out exactly what would happen when I swiped from right to left, or left to right, or up and down, in every single app. As my old palSteve Bass might say, who needs this tsuris?

If this tablet truly made my mobile working life an unending series of pretty pink ponies wrapped in rainbows, I might be willing to switch my cloud app allegiance and learn a new way of working. But Windows RT doesn't make things better or easier — it just makes them different.

Here's the thing about Apple: You can hate its arrogance (I do). You can chafe at its iWay-or-the-highway attitude toward the closed Apple ecosystem (I do). You can rail against the lack of useful mobile productivity apps (ditto). But the iPad makes things simpler. It has its flaws, but being overly complicated is not one of them.

Apple's greatest strength has been that it puts consumers first. Microsoft, on the other hand, almost always puts Microsoft first. That's the real reason why RT is such a disaster.


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