When Microsoft announced that it would ship the Windows 8 operating system in two flavors, Windows 8 and Windows RT, it was clear that this would cause confusion. The main reason for this being that Windows RT devices cannot run x86 applications so that they are limited to ports that Microsoft made, like the Office port, the application ecosystem that Windows 8 users get to use as well, and net applications.
It did not help that the price of Microsoft's Windows RT device, the Surface RT, was not enticing initially and that its availability was limited to a handful of countries.
While Microsoft never did release sales figures, it is generally suggested that they are not what the company has expected them to be in first place.
Many computer manufacturers either decided not to create RT devices at all while others killed projects along the way so that there is not much choice either in this regard.
Microsoft recently made the announcement that it made the decision to slash the price of the Surface RT by $150 so that the 32 Gigabyte storage version is now available for $349 and the 64 Gigabyte version for $449. A touch cover adds another $100 to the price though and while it is theoretically possible to use the RT without physical keyboard that you can attach to it, it is probably not something that most users may want to do.
No official statement has been made as to why the price has been reduced. The most plausible explanations are to move stock and make room for the next generation of Surface RT devices expected to hit stores later this year, or to increase the attractiveness of the platform by moving the price into a region where it should have been in first place.
It is clear that the Surface RT is not as successful as Microsoft hoped it would be, and there are several reasons for that:
If you compare Windows RT to iOS or Android, it does not really look that bad anymore. While it still needs to catch up on things application-wise, it has the Office ace up its sleeve. Plus, it is not entirely fair to compare a first generation device with fourth generation devices. It certainly will take time to get where iOS or Android are right now, but Microsoft has enough resources to get there eventually.
It is clear that this is just the first generation of Surface, and that Microsoft has big plans for the system. It already announced that it will create a unified platform for phones and tablets which will certainly be a big step for the company and users of that platform.
It is unlikely that Windows 8.1 will change the public perception a lot, but a major Surface upgrade and new hardware could turn the tide, provided that it is competitively priced.
Surface RT is far from done even though it did not produce the results that Microsoft was hoping for. But the company is in for the long haul merging some of its platforms into one.
The company would do good however to make it clearer that Surface is going against iOS and Android tablets, and not the company's own Windows 8 operating system.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.