Is Windows RT done? - gHacks Tech News

Is Windows RT done?

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.

surface rt price cut

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:

  • Surface RT looks like a crippled version of Windows 8. While it is not really fair to compare the RT to Windows 8, as you do not compare iOS to Mac OS X, it is what many users do nevertheless. Fact is Surface RT relies on store apps and the programs that the operating system shipped with. Windows Store is catching up slowly and it feels a lot like a town run be renegades in the Wild West right now with its "everything goes" mentality. But that is not really an argument for RT either, as Windows 8 also gets access to those same apps.
  • Price. At $479 without cover and almost $600 with cover, it is not really the bargain many users hoped it would be. You can purchase laptops for that price that run a full operating system, and while you may not get touch support, it is probably also not on the top of the list of many buyers.
  • Windows 8. With starter Windows 8 devices being in the same price range as Windows RT devices, there is no real need to pick the latter. Would you prefer a full blown Windows operating system or one that cannot run all your favorite applications?

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.

Closing Words

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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  1. ilev said on July 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

    It was done on launch day.
    Microsoft is late to the party with price cuts as many stores and OEMs has cut RT prices by 60% in the last months.
    Lenovo just stopped manufacturing and selling the Yoga 11 RT, replacing the tablet with Yoga 11s Windows 8.

  2. ilev said on July 18, 2013 at 3:30 am

    p.s Microsoft released an out-of-bound .NET 4 updates (7).

    Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems (KB2487367)
    2.17 MB
    Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems (KB2533523)
    37.53 MB
    Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems (KB2468871)
    27.54 MB
    Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 for x64 (KB2656351)
    9.03 MB
    Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 for x64 (KB2600217)
    32.18 MB
    Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 for x64 (KB2742595)
    12.86 MB
    Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 for x64 (KB2736428)
    2.38 MB
    Definition Update for Windows Defender – KB915597 (Definition
    3.89 MB

  3. Dan said on July 18, 2013 at 3:34 am

    It could’ve been a contender if the Surface RT was cheaper and more powerful. The Asus Transformer Prime (used to) cost less and it was snappy and fast. Android has a robust app ecosystem while Win RT was, and still is, an unproven system with few app developers.

    If only the Surface RT was a better, faster, snappier device which retails for $350 + $90 for the keyboard cover, it would’ve had a chance. App developers go where the (paying) users go, but the expensive, mediocre Surface RT ensured that there would be few early adopters.

    Plus, I hear it has crappy support for VPN, especially the CISCO AnyConnect VPN which is the most popular VPN for corporations. For a product that markets itself for businesses (it even has free MS Office RT), the weak support for VPNs is a major blunder.

  4. Lindsay said on July 18, 2013 at 3:51 am

    It’s done.

  5. Ficho said on July 18, 2013 at 5:17 am

    I already have all those updates for NET framework.
    They were installed 24.05.2013.
    Definition updates for WD were installed 2 days ago.

    1. ilev said on July 18, 2013 at 5:44 am

      I just got them today for Windows 7 64bit.
      Last week’s Tuesday updates were installed as usual.

      1. ilev said on July 18, 2013 at 5:49 am

        I think that the culprit was a driver for Intel Wi-Fi + Bluetooth update that contained a .NET 4 64bit “update” as well, which probably downgraded .NET 4.

  6. Ficho said on July 18, 2013 at 6:23 am

    If I remember correctly they were installed together with
    one of the previous Nvidia drivers update.

    1. ilev said on July 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      I don’t have Nvidia GPU.

  7. Gonzo said on July 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I see it 2 ways:

    1 – Since Kabini/Jaguar and Silvermont there’s no reason for RT to exist.

    2 – x86 still isn’t in phones and by maintaining RT it gives MS leverage when negotiating with Intel/AMD. I believe MS intends to kill off Win32 by 2020 (when Win 7 reaches EOL). So, despite lack of interest and low sales it still makes strategic sense to maintain an ARM branch.

    Being “just as good/price competitive” isn’t enough. They need to offer something the others don’t. iOS = simple, elegant, quality. Android is open and fun for enthusiasts. It offers a price/performance that Apple can’t touch. This leaves “easy integration for corps and professionals”. Something that Android or iOS are terrible at.

    1. Lindsay said on July 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm
      1. Gonzo said on July 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

        I’m aware that x86 chips marketed for phones exist but design wins is what I’m referring to. Having only a couple of models available in third world nations doesn’t qualify imo.

      2. Lindsay said on July 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        In that case you need to say what you mean.

  8. Asok Asus said on July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    It’s pretty obvious it’s done, since no one is making devices using it anymore, and everyone is unloading their leftover stock at fire sale prices. It’s not even clear if Microsoft will make a Surface RT 2, but if they do, it will be the ONLY Windows RT device made, which means Windows RT is dead. And with the demise of Windows RT, there’s little reason for anyone to develop Metro UI apps anymore since all other devices will be perfectly capable of running almost any WIn32 application made in the past or in the future. And with the demise of Metro UI apps, there goes Metro UI completely out the door. And with Metro UI dead, Microsoft’s entire mobile strategy is dead. Which means all that Microsoft accomplished with Windows was really pissing off their enterprise and SMB PC customers. Oh yeah. And precipitating a massive reorg at Microsoft in order to give Ballmer a few more months at the helm until everyone realized the reorg did nothing to cure Ballmer’s disasterous turn at the helm of the S.S. Microsoft Titanic.

  9. ilev said on July 19, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Microsoft just announced $900 Million loss on Windows RT in its Quarterly report.

    These financial results include a $900 million charge, or a $0.07 per share impact, related to Surface RT inventory adjustments.”

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 19, 2013 at 2:51 am

      Interesting, is that related to the price cut?

      1. ilev said on July 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

        It is related to poor sales, inventory and price cuts.

        Windows division revenue dropped 55% compared to June 30, 2012 ($1099M vs $2422M) . It’s Windows 8 downfall.

      2. anon said on July 19, 2013 at 5:48 am

        With 6 million unsold device soon to be obsolete (even more than when it was first released), most likely.

  10. pd said on July 19, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Yes it is.

  11. PGR said on July 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I downloaded and installed windows defender update, 311.0 and 565.0 and my pc just folded and I had to restore twice to get it working again. Can Microsoft check this upgrade please and if it conflicts with other anti virus software ? I have hidden it hopefully for good.

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