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Microsoft May Finally Put Windows RT Out To Pasture 293

Posted by Soulskill
from the we've-reached-peak-donotwant dept.
onyxruby writes "Microsoft may finally be ready to put Windows RT out to pasture. After ignoring pundits, the public, and a staggering $900 writedown, the subsequent lack of sales for the second edition of the RT have finally gotten the message through. Speaking at a UBS seminar, Microsoft VP Julie Larson-Green said, 'It just didn't do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there's been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows (.DOCX). How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you'll see us continue to differentiate it more. We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three.'"
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Microsoft May Finally Put Windows RT Out To Pasture

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  • 900 bucks (Score:5, Funny)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:24PM (#45544037)

    wow, only $900 to write that stuff off? I would have cut them a check years ago to enable that

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:58PM (#45544321) Homepage Journal

      wow, only $900 to write that stuff off?

      The $900 was computed in Excel RT, so it must be correct.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:26PM (#45544055)

    That's pretty much what happened to every consumer that bought a Windows RT device.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All 3 of them?

  • Seems trhey are giving up on that too.

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:30PM (#45544103) Homepage

    Microsoft has developed a habit of killing every new product the second it runs into a little difficulty, and now wonders why consumers don't want to risk their money on new Microsoft products that will probably be dead in a year.

    • by snookerdoodle (123851) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:52PM (#45544271)

      I don't think this has anything to do with consumers risking money on new products. This is a case of Really Bad Branding. Many consumers are not even aware that their new Windows tablet won't run Windows applications (if it's Windows RT). Not only so, but deciphering whether a tablet had "Real" Windows or Windows RT isn't always clear when looking at products even if you do know the difference.

      I also don't think there's room for a "me too" tablet OS that has nothing compelling over iOS or Android.

      OTOH, I really think Microsoft should be tooting their horns a little louder about tablets running real Windows 8.1 that can run any Windows application.

      • by Algae_94 (2017070) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:24PM (#45544589) Journal

        OTOH, I really think Microsoft should be tooting their horns a little louder about tablets running real Windows 8.1 that can run any Windows application.

        I agree with you. Microsoft probably shouldn't have set their new OS up to be primarily about the metro interface. It's clear that they want to replace as many Windows applications as they can with modern UI applications. Any use case that isn't 100% modern, or 100% desktop has a bad interface for people to switch between.

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:28PM (#45544649)

          And Metro sucks on anything other than a phone.

          As far as I can see, the whole push for Metro was to try to convince people to develop apps for Windows phones, becuase there was no point in developing for a tiny market like that. Now, they've screwed their desktop users to try to get into the tablet and phone market, and they're dumping tablets.

          • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @11:05PM (#45545717)

            the whole push for Metro was to try to convince people to develop apps for...

            ...the Microsoft store, so that Microsoft could get the same kind of 30% cut that Apple and Google get.

          • by lgw (121541)

            And Metro sucks on anything other than a phone.

            It's fine with any touch interface, not just a phone. I hear it works well with the Xbone gesture interface too. I hope so, as Julie Larson-Green used to be in charge of Windows (I blame her for the horror of Metro on a real PC), but seems to be over X-Box after the re-org. Maybe her ideas will make some sense on a console - at least she'll be better that the previous guy, Mr "you'll eat your DRM, and you'll like it!"

            I'm hopeful once more for Windows 9 - seems like odd numbered Windows, like even-numbered

      • They have such a bad wrap now from screwing up win 8 that just mentioning win 8 is installed is enough to send most people screaming from the stores. Botched RT, write off on surface, terrible reviews, no apps, screwing over desktop users and the list goes on. 8.1 isn't much better and only served to mock users that wanted a proper start menu back in the OS. The horn they'd be tooting would be more like a badly tuned kazoo.
      • by symbolset (646467) *
        You may find this related article amusing. Also, the relevant part of the YouTube video: http://blogs.computerworld.com/windows/23205/tech-guy-explains-windows-tablets [computerworld.com]
      • Windows RT implies it runs Windows which is a clear feature. The fact it doesn't wouldn't have lost them sales.

        What killed both the Surface and Surface Pro were the prices. With Microsoft's $60bn cash reserves, it should have been selling the Surface at a loss and the Surface Pro at cost. It was happy to do this with Windows Phone.

        Microsoft's backwards step with Windows 8 obviously didn't help either.

    • by Junta (36770) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:36PM (#45544755)

      RT couldn't find a value proposition that created a market just like windows phone is struggling. Windows without legacy compatibility is just not attractive (live by the sword, die by the sword: windows on x86 has gobs of compatible software, windows on arm has next to nothing compared to google and apple devices).

      The initial hard *need* for RT would be that Intel couldn't/wouldn't release an architecture that would even get in the same ballpark as ARM manufacturers in terms of cost and power. Now that need is greatly reduced with Intel's Bay Trail platform. Windows 8 x86 tablets are in the same ballpark as the Nexus 7. There are certainly cheaper android devices more and more, but Intel and MS could elect to participate at those price points if they want to at this point and still turn a profit.

      • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:19PM (#45545101)
        Except they won't and you only get one chance to make a first impression. They had their chance and screwed it up, on just about every conceivable level. They can't compete with Apple for the high end / status symbol market or with Androids for the techy geek / cheap tablet market and windows 8 is a joke MS sold their primary market out for to try and get into the "me too" market.
      • by berashith (222128) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:33PM (#45545191)

        I think they did it on purpose. Coke released a clear product, not to compete with a successful pepsi clear product, but to dilute the market, then fail, and cause the playing field to go back to the original status quo. Microsoft is highly interested in all consumers staying in the x86 market. When ARM started looking interesting to normal people, MS had to do something to protect its turf. Competing fairly would be hard and expensive, and kill off the current cash cows. Burying the new trend by placing a bad taste in the mouth of people who dont know which part of a technology stack to blame can get years of bad publicity for the up and comers.

      • Windows Phone is not really struggling anymore. It has a small market share but it seems to be growing very quickly and is already around 10% in Europe. With the purchase of the Nokia division they will most likely merge Phone and RT and let the ex-Nokia people make a range of devices at all screen sizes sharing a single OS with appropriate features enabled depending on the device. Much like iOS on iPhone and iPad.
    • by jon3k (691256)
      A $1B writedown is a "little difficulty"? I'd hate to see what a big problem would look like.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:36PM (#45544157)

    What microsoft SHOULD have done is what Google and Apple did and basically made "Windows Tablet" based on the Windows Phone OS. So they would have had x86 machines running Windows 8 with a normal desktop OS (possibly with a few enhancements to make it run better on x86 tablets) then ARM devices (phone and tablet) running the Windows Phone codebase and supporting the Windows Phone interface and apps.

    • If they hadn't locked it down, Windows RT could have just been another target to which developers could recompiled their software and that would have kick-started the application ecosystem somewhat. It would have been with desktop applications, though, which Microsoft considers deprecated. Desktop applications also don't work with touch control very well and more importantly don't make Microsoft any money.

      It seems as well that Microsoft wanted the locked-down environment to prevent Windows RT from having

      • by dakohli (1442929) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @10:37PM (#45545599)

        It seems as well that Microsoft wanted the locked-down environment to prevent Windows RT from having viruses,

        I don't think so.

        Microsoft, ultimately wanted to duplicate Apple's App Store Environment. They were hoping the lower price point would bring in the users, which would spur development of the Applications for it, which would of course induce more to join the ecosystem. Once Microsoft realized the value of the entire system, they were willing to try and duplicate it.

        Of course, the hardware was there, but the Apps and the OS itself fell short, and they were not able to complete the task at hand. In order for them to have a chance at success here, they need more time. Time that just may not be available.

      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @11:13PM (#45545757)

        It seems as well that Microsoft wanted the locked-down environment to prevent Windows RT from having viruses

        Absolute BS. Microsoft wanted the locked-down environment in order to force users to their app store, so that they'd get a 30% cut like Apple and Google do.

    • ...of using their desktop monopoly to strongarm their way into the mobile market.
    • Windows Phone OS had been released in the hopes of getting to rough parity in the market with Android and Apple. MS had to start from scratch due to both form factor driving UI redesign and also because no x86 vendor was remotely ready to enable such a thing. After having a late start and nothing really to distinguish themselves from apple and google apart from having a smaller application library, things look dire.

      The whole point of Metro was essentially to 'throw the desktop users under the bus' so to s

    • by OhPlz (168413) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:49PM (#45544883)

      The whole "tablet" thing is confusing. I have a Fujitsu tablet that runs Windows 7, has a keyboard but also operates as a slate with a stylus and active digitizer. Tablets used to be laptops with an active or passive digitizer and possibly a keyboard, then the iPad came along and now tablets are two different things, with a variety of operating systems and capabilities. It's one thing for techies to sort through it, but quite another for the average consumer.

      So you have a device that's not a phone, and not a laptop. Some customers are going to want it to function more like the laptop, with a full operating system and similar capabilities. Others may want it to work more like a phone, with a mobile, small-device oriented, simplified operating system. Who is to say which is best, or that either is best? Isn't that the failure of RT? It's neither, but tries to offer a middle-ground?

      • by JanneM (7445)

        Who is to say which is best, or that either is best? Isn't that the failure of RT? It's neither, but tries to offer a middle-ground?

        As you say, it tries to offer both a phone/tablet and a laptop/tablet experience and fails with both.

        With that said, I would guess we already know what a successful tablet is. We've had keyboardless touch-screen devices for many years before iPad and Android devices. They were always designed as keyboardless laptops, and they always, without exception failed in the general mark

        • by OhPlz (168413)

          With that said, I would guess we already know what a successful tablet is. We've had keyboardless touch-screen devices for many years before iPad and Android devices. They were always designed as keyboardless laptops, and they always, without exception failed in the general marketplace.

          Sadly so. Popular in some niche markets, but never a major player.

          Now, you might have guessed that iPad is an aberration; it succeeded not becuase the phone/tablet gestalt is superior but because a guy in a turtleneck sprinkled magic design dust on it. But then the iPad would remain the only successful tablet, and that's simply not the case.

          Possibly. PDAs had a considerable market presence for a time, even Apple had the Newton. It could still be the shiny complex at work, even if it crosses brands. I wouldn't bet the farm just yet.

          I'm sure RT could do well as a niche device, but it's clear that's not something MS would be content with, and also seems clear the tablet-as-laptop concept doesn't have enough mass-market appeal.

          I wouldn't say it's that clear. Laplets (tabtops?) generate a lot of interest out in the wild. I think they're held back by price and the chicken and egg problem. The ones worth having are still up in the $2000 range, last I looked. Not many co

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by 0123456 (636235)

        No, the problem with RT is that it's a tablet with no apps.

        If someone wants a tablet, they can buy an iPad or Android. There's no reason to buy one that runs Windows but won't run Windows apps.

        Only a ReTard could ever have imagined it would be a good idea. Microsoft just seem to think that people buy Windows PCs because they love Windows, and not because they've got some crusty old Windows programs they want to run.

        • In addition, the customers that all tablet vendors really would like to sell to, is enterprise.

          Enterprise isn't buying the current tablets because the management offerings totally suck. Microsoft could have done themselves a huge favor if they would have just made RT talk to their own management platform (Active Directory) but they didn't.

          So, you have people buying iPad / Android tablets, and then attempting to manage them through the same MDM service they use with smartphones, and it doesn't work very wel

    • by fermion (181285)
      The whole point of the "branding" was that it was MS WIndows, it ran MS Office, and was fully compatible with the MS stack. This is why you bought the Surface, so you could remain locked in the MS ecosystem. It was not just a tablet, it was a MS product that allowed you to do everything you did at work. Of course, as many pundits have pointed out, you don't buy a tablet to work, you buy a tablet to play, and pretend to do work.

      But the fact remains is what differentiated MS Surface from all the other ta

    • No they shouldn't. That would have meant there was a third me-too tablet OS, one with no advantages over Android or iOS.

      What Microsoft did was right in principle. What they got wrong (and, to be honest, this bit is hard) was putting together APIs that would make it easier for desktop users and "tablet" users to work in the most optimal way for their interaction system. So instead Windows 8 is, to an end user, two operating systems sharing little but a file system, with entirely different applications wor

  • Windows RT was a failure because no geek (the ones that would be the early adopters that, then, would pull another users to the platform) would spend money on something that doesn't allow dual boot!

    Common, by the price you could get a ARM Notebook totally (and relentlessly) locked down to Windows RT, you could get instead a x86 netbook where you can install, also, Linux and its plethora of applications - that aren't the best thing in the World sometimes, but are far better than the Windows RT alternatives (

    • by bloodhawk (813939) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:42PM (#45544199)
      BS, dual boot is a minor feature that very few would use and would be a blip on the radar as far as sales go. The killer was the lack of apps, the locked down nature of the installed OS combined with general confusion.
      • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:53PM (#45544287) Homepage

        What is a surface?
        Is it a tablet?
        A laptop?
        Is it highly mobile (well sort of, but not like iPad)
        Really lightweight and fast (well sort of, but not like iPad)
        Powerful for stationary work (well sort of, but not like a laptop)
        Easy to carry (well sort of, but not like an iPad)
        Heavy, substantial, and durable (well sort of, but not like a laptop)

        People do two things:

        (1) Use technology for work or play at their desk
        (2) Use technology for work or play not at their desk

        Two basic use cases. Just two, at the very bottom of things. In case (1) you go all-out on hardware and power; don't make them sit longer than they have to, let them get their work DONE! (Power, power, power, some ease of use, no compromises.) (2) you go all-out on not making them feel like they need to return to their desk; give them what they need to do what they need to do without feeling tethered (Mobility, mobility, mobility, touch-friendliness, battery, no compromises).

        Two basic use cases and Microsoft managed to not hit either one of them well.

    • by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:49PM (#45544255) Homepage
      Pretty much this. I am still telling my friends when they ask about tablets if they want something that can run full apps like they are used to, get the surface pro if money is no object but OTOH for the budget minded im referring them to mainly the nexus line of tablets for trivial use (entertainment)

      I love the surface pro system, my buddy picked one of the first ones up from a 3rd party its got an I5 in it and it was awesome, he can even play full framerate games on his going and he has a dual boot with a full out linix distro (he changes it every other week it seems) but if the cost were a little bit lower on the surface pro lines, even the 3rd party ones from the likes of dell and others they would have a killer tablet i mean just the spec sheet should be selling a shit ton of them

      can run pretty much any windows app ever made in the past 20 years, light weight good bat life and yes, expansion via SD cards and USB. Me? Im still using a kindle fire running cyanogenmod but im going to upgrade in the next month or 2 (i really want a 10 inch tablet)
    • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:53PM (#45544285) Homepage Journal

      Nonsense.

      The problem was simple and obvious. It was called "Windows", but when Joe Schmoe tried to install a windows application on it, it wouldn't run.

      The "geek" market isn't even a statistical blip on the radar of market share nowadays.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @07:46PM (#45544229) Homepage

    project management.

    The product is called "Windows." Windows are static things. They are embedded into walls. They provide an unmoving portal into another space.

    A monitor on your desktop behaves like a window in some sense. It is always in the same place. You sit and you look at it.

    Windows Phone and Windows RT just don't make sense for mobile devices, and provide a kind of complacency to project vision and the wrong idea (unpalatable) to consumers looking for mobile devices.

    MS should call the mobile product something mobile:

    MS Pathways
    MS Journeys
    MS Passages
    MS Ways
    MS Compass
    MS Latitude

    Then they should focus relentlessly on small-screen/long-battery/mobile UX for the mobile system; design toward the lightweight, mobile ethos of the new name, and market it relentlessly not as "the same as windows" but in fact as exactly different from it.

    MS Windows in your office
    MS Compass for going places
    "Because you're not always sitting still.
    "Busy people do more than sit by Windows."

    I'm not saying that the marketing is the product; we all know that's ridiculous and leads exactly to a product fail (mismatched expectations vs. reality). I'm saying that if MS was as marketing-led as they ought to have been, they'd do the field research to know what mobile users need (field research they clearly haven't done well) and target the product to those needs, as well as the marketing campaign.

    Who needs Windows in their pocket on the street? Nobody. Windows belong inside walls.

    Same thing goes for the hardware product. "Surface?" Sounds static and architectural. The opposite of mobility. You can see that they themselves imagined the product this way based on what was shipped out the door. Come up with something lightweight and mobile.

    The Microsoft Dispatch.
    The Microsoft Portfolio.
    The Microsoft Movement (tablet) and Microsoft Velocity (phone).

    These are not great ideas yet, but they're light years ahead of "Windows" and "Surface" for a mobile device that ends up acting just like a "Window" or a "Surface."

  • Microsoft has a disruptive model of work, and this just shows it. They have no interest whatsoever in giving continuity in the long run to their APIs/products, to sell new ones and new training too. And then there are the failed market of bad products. Newsflash, there isnt a tablet market, it is an iPad market. And then there is a market of subpar, less than 100 euros tablets for iPads wannabes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Algae_94 (2017070)

      Newsflash, there isnt a tablet market, it is an iPad market. And then there is a market of subpar, less than 100 euros tablets for iPads wannabes.

      Get out of here with this nonsense. Maybe once upon a time this was true, but there are tons of tablets out there that are selling quite well.

  • also buy out ModernMix and build it in to the base OS with the full start menu back.

  • by Bugler412 (2610815) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:02PM (#45544355)
    I think the real reason for RT was to spur Intel to get better power consumption on their chipsets for the real version of Windows, seems to have met that goal if you view it that way
  • RT isn't for phones, it's for tablets and above. Might as well use a real CPU in devices like that. Now I am going to run away from all the angry ARM guys who think custom configured OS software for each specific device is a good idea. People who think that being able to install a driver by hitting next next next is not important. People who believe that device companies should control what version OS you use and when it can be updated. That's ARM.
  • "It just didn't do everything that you expected Windows to do"
    It's almost as if it was written on a completely different processor architecture even! Oh wait...
  • Julie Larson-Green enhanced productivity? Through the bloody, accursed, and pretty much universally despised Ribbon. Yes, she certainly defined productivity. Millions of office workers totally lost with one of the most convoluted UIs imagined. We're supposed to consider her opinion sacrosanct?

  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Horshu (2754893) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:17PM (#45544501)
    This is the first site I've come across that has interprested Larson-Green's presentation to indicate MS is ditching RT. Every other one has assumed that they're just going to merge the WinPhone shell into RT and make Modern UI more scaleable across screen sizes.
  • No big news here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Algae_94 (2017070) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:19PM (#45544525) Journal
    This isn't shocking. They had branding problems by calling it Windows. It's near impossible to explain the difference to a non-technical user. The end result is that Microsoft will no longer have any ARM tablets. This will mean, for a little while at least, their tablet hardware will be more expensive and drain batteries faster. Not exactly traits that will have them dominate the tablet market. They might be able to get users that want or need to run Windows applications on a tablet, but that's not a large percentage of the tablet market.
  • They should have called it ZuneOS.

  • Thinking about it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @08:52PM (#45544923)

    The HP WebOS tablet lasted longer then the Surface 2.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:20PM (#45545113) Homepage

    Seriously. If you want to get any kind of traction in a new market, ASK SLASHDOT. I'm not kidding at all. Sure there will be trolls and there will be some really stupid ideas. But if any group of people out there will be able to predict the success of a product offering and be able to voice the opinions of the market, it's this group right here.

    We all knew Windows RT wasn't going to make it. But then again, we knew it based on Windows 8. You still haven't listened to you customers and support people (AKA Slashdot) in any of this.

    And this is something you simply haven't tried yet. You keep doing the same crap, living on your bloated Win16, Win32, Win64 model which is now a security nightmare and what's it gotten you? Negative public opinion for one. Public doubt for another. If the public says anything it's that Windows isn't wanted when "something other than Windows" is available. You never should have made a Tablet version of Windows. It should have been a tablet version of anything else! And frankly, since Android is making more money for you than many other things, it seems to me you should just embrace it and run! But why not? Oh, because you don't control it... forgot about that little obsession. Well, you're controlling the market less than you did before anyway and it's just going to get worse. Embrace the change or be left behind.

    And ASK people who know!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:36PM (#45545213)

      Slashdot also knew the iPod, iPhone, and iPad were all going to be flops. I don't trust any tech predictions that originate from here.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Flying cars excepted, of course.

    • by xlsior (524145)
      But if any group of people out there will be able to predict the success of a product offering and be able to voice the opinions of the market, it's this group right here.

      No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
  • Why didn't they just call it Windows Tablet, instead of the obscure "Windows RT" that doesn't give consumers a hint that it's a reduced functionality operating system.

    The iPad can't run every OSX application, and consumers can understand that Windows Tablet can't run every Windows application.

    What does "RT" mean, anyway!?

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