Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Is Windows RT dead? Microsoft's partners pull out but Surface RT 2 is inbound

Chris Martin | Aug. 16, 2013
Was Windows RT flawed from the beginning? We find out.

Microsoft Surface RT

Is Windows RT dead? We investigate the past, present and future of Microsoft's cut-down mobile Windows 8 operating system.

With a surge in mobile computing devices over the past few years including tablets, it's no wonder Microsoft decided it had better do something to keep up and embrace this trend.

So, with the launch of Windows 8 came a cut-down, essentially mobile version named Windows RT designed to run on devices with ARM processors rather than Microsoft's long term partner Intel. It was originally called 'Windows on ARM' if you can believe it.

Windows RT has introduced confusion for consumers because it's not really Windows. Of course, Windows 8 was a dramatic change in the life of the world's most used operating system but the RT version gave users a desktop that had almost no use.

The cut-down functionality (the inability to install proper Windows desktop programs) and sparse selection of apps in the Windows Store has led to consumers simply opting for full Windows 8 alternatives or better tablets such as the iPad and Android tablets.

Instead of letting its manufacturing partners take Windows RT and make suitable devices, Microsoft decided to lead the way with its own Surface tablets. With all eyes on the powerful Surface Pro with an Intel chip and full Windows 8, it was no surprise that Microsoft gave the Surface RT a head start to try and get sales going.

However, it didn't work. With a price tag matching the cheapest full-size iPad but less functionality and fewer apps no one bought it, almost literally. Microsoft announced that it took a whopping $900 million hit in its latest financial earnings report. This was put down to Surface RT "inventory adjustments".

During July and August, both the Surface RT and Surface Pro got price cuts to boost sales. The former received a large 30 percent cut down to £279.

Windows RT dropped by manufacturersWall Street Journal in an interview that "It's not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful".

Shen said that Asus took a writedown on its Windows RT tablets during the second quarter and will now focus only on Windows 8 devices with Intel chips, rather than ARM processors.

Similar things have been happening across the board with Lenovo discontinuing its Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, HTC has cancelled its plans for an RT tablet and Samsung is rumoured to be stopping its production.

Furthermore, Toshiba and HP are both making only x86 Windows devices with the former saying: "For the time being, Toshiba will focus on bringing Windows 8 products to market. We will continue to look into the possibility of Windows RT products in the future while monitoring market conditions."


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.