back to article Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

Industry doomsayers were circling Windows 8 like buzzards before it even launched, but they picked the wrong carcass. Microsoft's real 2012 roadkill was Win8's ARM-powered cousin, Windows RT. The chattering class's comparisons of Windows 8 and Windows Vista are premature – it will take several more quarters before we can gauge …

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Surface Pro will also fail

There's no reason at all to buy it over buying an Ultrabook which it costs about the same, performs about the same, and weighs about the same as Surface Pro including the keyboard cover. The only difference is Ultrabooks will have a better keyboard and be available with better CPUs, neither of which is in favor of Surface Pro.

On their fourth attempt to enter the tablet market since the mid 90s, Microsoft still doesn't understand it, even after Apple showed them what people want! They still try to make something that does everything a PC does, when the Apple and Android tablet sales demonstrate people aren't asking for that. If they were, the iPad would have flopped and there would still be no tablet market.

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Microsoft can't win

When vendors release tablets that run full desktop Windows, then people complain (as you do) that tablets aren't PCs (they're not), that desktop Windows doesn't work with a touch-oriented device (it doesn't), and therefore the tablets are useless. But when Microsoft releases a tablet that runs a slimmed-down, touch-oriented version of Windows, people complain that it doesn't run full desktop Windows and therefore it's useless.

I have no idea how Microsoft can get itself out of this trap. Apparently, neither does Microsoft...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft can't win

I think if it had outlook and AD integration it could have at least had a role in business...

As it is, it can't survive in the low cost market where The Rest Of Android dominates, and it can't survive in the high cost market occupied by Samsung and Apple.

I expect the full fat 8 tablets will have a similar issue except they'll be more use for work, but then people will wonder "but this tablet doesn't have that much more battery then that laptop and the laptop has an okay keyboard and is a single unit... also it has windows 7 which is what all the other PCs I use have on them"

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@NullReference Exception

It was Microsoft that chose to create confusion over the relationship between Win8 RT and Win8 and it's Microsoft that continues to do nothing to remedy the situation. Can't blame users for not knowing what to expect.

The bigger issue is this policy leaves buyers wondering why they should spend so much on what is apparently just a low end laptop/netbook. I'm not claiming being much more explicit about RTs nature and tablet focus would do them much good though, the supposed Windows compatibility is so shallow (only new Metro style apps) jumping OS to IOS or Android would be no harder and that's the only sales point in its favour.

I agree with you, there seems no way out for Microsoft. They foolishly thought they could ship premium price devices based on a 'it runs Windows' slogan instead of competing on what and how well it works as a tablet. There's no reality where the name "Windows" is worth $200 on the price tag unless it really runs full blown Windows and runs it bloody well.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Open source, Open O/S, Open HW it's all BS

Why is everyone buying Apple? Because it is the best overall device, HW/SW/Apps/accessories

Integration value trumpts best of breed component and that is the future.

This is also why linux on x86 is the next downward spiral for Intel. HP was the first to fall, Intel is next then Microsoft.

e99

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Meh

SO IT'S OFFICIAL

The Surface RT is the new KIN.

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WTF?

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Yeah, I can't see spending a thousand bucks for a tablet when you can get a great laptop for that price. It might find a nice niche in places like hospitals and warehouses where high-power in a portable config is a big winner and pockets are deep, but I can't see a single consumer buying one. You can get a kindle fire for every room at that price, or nearly two ipads.

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Happy

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Loving the downvoters here!

Once again El Reg's commentards prove themselves completely divorced from the real world.

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Sil

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

First Intel is a big Linux supporter and do you remember that Linux was originally developed for x86?

Second we have heard of Linux overtaking the desktop and killing Wintel for more than 10 years and what is the reality year after year?

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Stop

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

RT does nothing that and android or is device can't. As has been commented on the office is gimped so polarised office does a decent enough job to mimmick it. At half the price you can get a tab2 or an older ipad. An AC commented above, if it had AD integration with domain toys then it would be useful to businesses. As it is it is a very standalone toy. Waste of money.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Silly swipe (damn keyboard less tablet :)) I meant android or iOS device

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Happy

Re: @NullReference Exception

Windows RT ambiguity is a millstone around Windows Surface Pro's neck. People will only remember that Windows RT 'Sleeps with the Fishes' and think Windows tablets have already died and been buried at sea. Another triumph of Microsoft's old boys in PR.

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Happy

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Intel's CEO sits on Google's Board. Lenovo has introduced a Chrome Book with lower power Intel chips. The Chrome Operating System is based on Linnx. Which of these data plots on a line forecasting future dominance of Wintel?

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

It's not the openness that is selling Android, 99% of buyers don't know it's open, or what "open" means.

What is selling Android is Samsung, and Apple actually making their latest phones less appealing.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

It's obvious you are not aware that the Mac OS and therefore all mac os software is also based on open source code called Darwin.

So Mac OS is BS??

PS: Everyone isn't buying Apple.

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Linux

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

It's the openness that is attracting the manufacturers who then attract customers. So, although you are probably right, the customers probably aren't buying because of Android's [relative] openness, they are getting fed devices with software built on Linux and FOSS.

For me, it's a shame Google don't mention Linux more often. In the same wat Apple wouldn't have been able to build OS X without BSD, Google couldn't build Android without Linux.

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Windows

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

It doesn't really matter if Surface RT or Surface Pro fail, what matters is if the OS fails. If they'd have knocked out their reference designs later on after the OS's release then perhaps it wouldn't have been a problem, as Google did (one well after launch then after that one reference design with each major revision of the OS released in small numbers). As it is they just annoyed their OEMs from the start which is generally not a very good thing to do if they want their OS to succeed. They tried to be Apple yet carry on with their old OEM relationships at the same time and oddly enough, managed to fail completely.

They also tried to carry on with Windows x86 and launch a touch OS at the same time and also failed. They should have done something like let Windows x86 run TIFKAM apps but not have a TIFKAM mode unless specifically requested by the user or the hardware profile allows it (it detects it's running on a fondleslap or on a combined device in fondleslab mode), called Windows RT something completely different (probably Microsoft Touch given how much their like their original names) which only runs TIFKAM apps and only has TIFKAM mode.

Finally make it obvious like the shop bridges both platforms with a name that doesn't link it to one platform or the other (i.e. Microsoft Store instead of Windows Store or Touch Store), encourage their developers to make desktop and TIFKAM versions of their apps, and if you buy one you get the other free if you sign in from a device which allows it (see SteamPlay).

In short, when faced with a decision they should have taken the other choice. But then again hindsight is always 20/20...

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Dell marketed and sold linux

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Everyone isn't buying Apple. Those days have long gone...

Apple's tablet marketshare is at best 50% (more likely 40% when you add in the uncounted stuff that's not Google Play certified), and Android has already killed the iPhone, in both sales, and desirability. (pick up a Nexus 4 and tell me it's not a better phone than a iPhone5 is every respect, and half to 2/3rds the price - depending where you get it from).

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Mushroom

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

RT does loads that Android cant. Full multi-tasking - running one app on the tablet and a different one on an external monitor for a start.

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Mushroom

Re: Surface Pro will also fail - it already HAS failed.

Actually Microsoft Surface is at 0.4% after 2 months. So that would mean a >2.4% market share after a year - pretty good for a new product that is one amongst many other RT tablets. And Microsoft also just widened their sales channels to other retail stores, so actual sales are likely to be higher.

http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/chitika-ipad-tablet-web-traffic-share-plummets-over-holidays/2013-01-03

And the correct figure for Surface market share of browsing would be 1/197th of the iPad usage - or 25 times more than you claimed!

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Mushroom

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

I have a Surface tablet and it's great to use and a league ahead of anything from Apple or Android as yet. (Full USB support, proper App multitasking - run one app on the tablet and another on an external screen, best screen display of any tablet for the resolution, better bettery life than any similar Android tablet, best keyboard solution of any tablet etc, etc).

RT App store sucks atm is about the only thing I can agree with from this article, but that will come over time.

Big journalistic error in the article too - Nokia's sales of the Lumia actually far exceeded market expectations - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20978136

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@Eadon

However - this situation may not last much longer - Android will appear on the desktop in some form, and at that point, MS will rapidly lose market share.

----

Android will never appear on the desktop. It isn't suited for it. However, a more desktop oriented GUI (i.e. Chrome desktop) will be installed on Android phones at some point and it will run instead of Android as a desktop when plugged into a monitor. I guess you could consider this "some form" of Android since it would be running the Android kernel, but it won't look anything like the Android GUI, which is designed for touch and is as useless on a desktop as a desktop OS would be on a smartphone. But there will be no PCs or laptops sold that run the Android version of the Linux kernel. With a bluetooth keyboard/mouse this "docked" smartphone will be a true replacement for the desktop for the large number of consumers who don't need Windows compatibility, once they leave Windows desktops they'll never return.

Apple will do this too, using the OS X GUI it will be almost indistinguishable from running on a Mac, aside from reduced performance. It will hurt OS X sales, but better they eat their own market share rather than having someone else do it for them. Apple will want to wait until they have a 64 bit CPU in iPhone (which could possibly be ready this year, but would be more likely for next year) to do this so they only need to worry about supporting 64 bit ARM apps under this new OS X flavor.

Android might introduce this feature this year, though Google probably realizes the Chrome desktop needs a lot of polishing before they want to throw this out in front of people - if it flops, it would be hard to get people to give it a second look and might send people Apple's way when they release their more polished solution using the mature OS X GUI.

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@Eadon - openness selling Android

Bullshit. As you say, geeks like Android because it is open, but that has had little or nothing to do with its success among the masses. If geek recommendations and openness could sell stuff, Linux would have more than 1% of the desktop market (and before you blame Microsoft, since the consent decree there have been Linux products available from Dell, for instance, but they never sell much)

When someone buys a phone because of what their friends have, they are generally buying the same phone or same brand. They see their friend's GS3, think it's cool, and get one for themselves. People recommend models or brands, they don't recommend "get an Android", unless they're talking to someone else who would understand what that means - and if you think even half of Android owners know they have an Android phone, you're hanging out with too many propeller heads and not enough ordinary people.

If Android was not open source, if it had instead been based on a BSD kernel and rather than being freely available to OEMs cost them say $1 to license, it would be just as successful as it was today. The OEMs would still license it, people buying based on what their friends have would still do so, and it would still dominate the market just as much.

BTW, your idea that Microsoft gets bad karma via the patent lawsuits is ridiculous. The average person may have heard about Apple's lawsuits in passing but very few will have heard about Microsoft's. Even if they have heard of Apple or Microsoft's lawsuits they have no idea what they're about, and certainly don't think "oh noes, a closed vendor is attacking an open vendor, I have to support openness by buying Android". Go find a dozen average non-tech people and ask them about the Microsoft/Android lawsuits and see if a single one knows what the hell you're talking about. Some won't even know what Android is, despite having an Android phone in their pocket! They don't know their phone runs Android, they know it as a Samsung.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

And that is, in my opinion, a problem for Android. The fact that the one company who has taken it to the masses has shown that it is ready, willing and able to switch it's focus to a different platform with minimal notice. This is a problem (IMO) for Android as the general public seem to be going for Samsung phones rather than Android phones. If Samsung should abandon Android, and those users stay with Samsung, Android could be in trouble.

In fact, if Samsung go for Microsoft big time, it could help Microsoft.

Don't believe Samsung are willing and able to switch platforms with a speed that would make even Apple jealous? Look at their history. They've only been making smartphones for a few years, yet already they've used various custom OSes, various Symbian OSes, various versions of the Microsoft Phone OSes (Windows Mobile and Windows Phone) as well as various versions of Android. Even now, they offer both phones and tablets running Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Jog on technone - no-one's biting at your crass troll bait.

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Devil

Re: Microsoft can't win

Bought some more NET BOOKS.....

10 minutes into a 30 minute boot up, set up and registering process - Xubuntu 12.04, UNetBootin - Linux installer on a USB drive, FULL install = wiping out Microsoft Windows, and their half baked trial version crapware....

Muuuuuuuuch Happier.

I just think back to all the days, weeks, months and perhaps even years, that this company and it's shitware have cost me, and the enormous amounts of my money and misspent opportunities as well...

"Harrrr Harrrrr - Walk the Plank Ye scurvy dogs!" - loosely translated that means, "Microsoft is having another Epic Fail - Ha Ha Ha..."

Satan - "I welcome them"

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Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

You missed the other point completely here, people get Android phones generally because they are cheaper than the iPhone on the same contract. When they look at what is on offer for their upgrade, they see a brand name they know, Samsung, at a contract price that is 1/2 to 2/3 the price of an apple contracted phone.

They then know that a lot of their friends have a Samsung and it seems to be good enough. You are however right, most of them will have no clue about Android really (other than the little green man), its a Samsung, a decent brand at a good price.

Geeks here who think that they understand openness, or that they buy a phone based on some geek recommendation are kidding themselves. I have recommended Android tablets and phones to family, largely based on a cost vs usage basis. If I was looking to get something simple for my parents to use I would go for the iPad, as I know it would be easier for me to support out of the box. However on a cost basis I couldn't justify the extra money, so have told them to get an android device, as I know it will be fine, ad may just end up with me being asked more questions.

Always follow the money, and this is why few consumers are going to buy RT or Surface Pro devices.

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Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

Yeah, I'm pretty sure people know more about Apple's patent warfare than MS's trolling.

But on the openness selling, it is pretty possible that it does have an impact in mobile. On desktop, most people have some dependencies tying them to Windows, especially MS Office. So you can't tell Average Joe to just switch to Linux; even the most radical Linux dudes have eventually returned to the MS Borgship after a couple of years, mostly because Open/LibreOffice will b0rk the documents sent by clients, and the resulting doc looks bad. I took a third option and went OSX instead (and I'm not quite happy with Apple's philosophy either!)

On the mobile platform? Only those who have invested huge wads of $$$ on iOS apps will be tied ... and that would be to iOS, not MS. Anyone else is fair target, which is why the mobile market has been able to shift so suddenly in a 10 year span. 2005? The mobile OS du jour was PalmOS. 2007? Symbian and/or BlackberryOS. 2010? Symbian and iOS. Then Android and iOS. By now, someone might bring out a radically new mobile OS and it might take over the entire market if it is better than the current ones...

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Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

"even the most radical Linux dudes have eventually returned to the MS Borgship after a couple of years"

Nonsense - in a big organisation maybe, before I retired I had 2 workstations - a Windows PC for (corporate) e-mail and attached Word documents and a big, powerful Linux system for the real work of data analysis, protein modeling & 3D displaying.The company insisted on the Windows machine.

Since 'retiring' - I'm a scientist we never really retire - I've use exclusively Linux - nobody has complained that documents that I've processed with Libre Office are a problem, people send me spreadsheet data as CSV in any case as that's the format that a lot of science uses as it can be processed more readily by all sorts of means.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

They still do.

Though admittedly it can be hard to find Dell's Linux offerings, even when you know about them -- and when you do manage to track them down, most of them are (deliberately?) unattractive (poorer hardware and/or higher prices, and fewer options) compared to the similar Windows models, . (When I looked, the model I liked didn't come with the option for the larger battery, but did have the option for Norton 360). It's hard to avoid ascribing this to monopoly-abuse pressures from Microsoft

Most Linux users end up opting to buy the Windows version of a known Linux-compatible model, and install Linux themselves -- there's much better choice of hardware, and it's usually actually cheaper, (The downside is that this gets counted as a Windows sale -- and feeds the persistent mythology that almost no-one uses Linux.

-- but on the other hand, there's also this in the high end developer niche

https://www.dell.com/us/enterprise/p/xps-13-linux/pd

which has received substantial positive attention in Linux/developer circles.

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Headmaster

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Before Android arriving as a desktop OS, there will be Valve's SteamBox which is a Linux OS dedicated to gaming.

SteamBox will be targeted at the PC gaming crowd, who are an important constituent of the Windows audience, and if Valve's gaming focused open OS succeeds -- they've got OEM lining up apparently -- it could be a significant step in destroying the hegemony of Windows on the desktop.

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Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

Non-Geeks do not care about Android, Samsung know this. Regular people buy "Samsungs", not "Androids".

Which is why Samsung will be safe when they dump Android for their own Tizen OS, which is clearly their plan.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

Hmm, shill alert, this post sounds suspiciously like other posts, ignoring the critical errors with Surface (like the inability of Word to keep up with even slow typing speeds), and shouting about some lame background app screen "feature" that nobody cares about...

PS. Android does proper multitasking just fine, I think you are confusing Android and iOS (which doesn't do multitasking, unless Apple allow it).

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FAIL

Re: Once again El Reg's commentards prove themselves completely divorced from the real world.

I'm guessing you havn't seen the dire Suface sales figures then....

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

I suppose I'll just note that Apple used a lot of open source material when building Mac OX . The underlying OS (Darwin) is constructed from a Mach kernel with BSD userland software on top. It is only on top of that Apple has placed its Cocoa frameworks.

The combination has worked very well.

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Thumb Down

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

The reality is that Windows is now a niche operating system for the decreasing proportion of computers which sit on desktops (or laptops) and have displays, while Linux owns the rest of the market from supercomputers to domestic routers and is rapidly gobbling up the information appliance market as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surface Pro will also fail

I think as you only joined the other day and as RICHTO stopped posting a day or two before that you are he, esp. as you seem spout the same sort of drivel

You really should be TCFKAR

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Linux

Re: Microsoft can't win

Microsoft's bread and butter is people that think they "need to be DOS compatible".

Without that, Microsoft is nothing and Windows is nothing. Microsoft has no competitive advantage in non-PC devices and everyone else has already established "ecosystems".

People were saying this about Windows-on-ARM before these devices came out and people are still saying this about Windows-on-ARM now. There's nothing mysterious or magical or hard to grasp here.

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Re: Surface Pro will also fail

To be honest there is no reason at all to buy either of them.

I have an iPad, a MacBook Pro (and a Galaxy Note, Windows 7 desktop, Windows server and SuSE Linux server). I use the correct tool for the job I want to do, and what Microsoft still don't get is that laptops and fondleslabs are used for different things, and therefore require different user interfaces.

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