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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  1. DougS Silver badge

    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.

    1. NullReference Exception
      FAIL

      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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"

        1. Faceless Man
          WTF?

          Re: Microsoft can't win

          Yeah, the lack of AD and Outlook is killing it. The one thing everyone, even the staunchest fanperson, has to give them is that they have, rightly or wrongly, got business and the enterprise sewn up, and a key part of that is AD. Not having AD integration is throwing away their key advantage, allowing iOS and Android to entrench themselves further in the market.

      2. Paul Shirley

        @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.

        1. jnffarrell1
          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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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"

      4. JEDIDIAH
        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.

    2. Allison Park

      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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        1. RubberJohnny

          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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            1. DougS Silver badge

              @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.

              1. Disintegrationnotallowed

                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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                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

                    http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html

                    Shows that Obj C isn't that far off from Java.

                2. JEDIDIAH
                  Linux

                  Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

                  > If I was looking to get something simple for my parents to use I would go for the iPad

                  That's a common fallacy: that it has to be crippled to be easy. The opposite is actually true.

                  Developers need to be completely free to innovate on the platform. THIS is what leads to a more usable product. A more open environment is what allows the same platform to address different use cases all at the same time. It prevents a system from being "for rubes only". The tyrant is not perfect. They have missed something. They may not be agile enough to adapt quickly.

                  It's like communism/fascism versus capitalism. Central management will always be less effectve. The thing that gets rejected in committe might end up being your killer app.

                  Assuming that "rubes need an Apple device" may end up actually being a disaster.

              2. Daniel B.

                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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                2. Chemist

                  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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                  2. GizmodoT

                    Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

                    I work with data warehouses and since microsoft isn't shipping power view without sharepoint it's a bit of a mess. Really would like to know about 3D modelling in Linux and if they are web based animated graphs?

                3. DougS Silver badge

                  @Daniel B 06:21

                  Oh I agree that the mobile landscape can shift rapidly, but this is a problem for Android far more so than it is for iOS. And yes, an opportunity for Microsoft, though they will probably continue to do nothing with it.

                  There are some people who are locked in to iOS due to apps spending, but that is massively overrated as a reason for people to stick with Apple. Is even $50 in sunk costs in apps going to change your mind if you have a reason to switch platforms? Only a tiny fraction have spent more than that. The reason people have own iPhones purchase another isn't because they're "locked into the ecosystem" due to sunk costs for apps, but because they're just happy with their iPhone. The surveys that show high satisfaction rates among iPhone owners and high "would you buy another iPhone" rates prove it. Most won't see a need to switch to something other than Apple unless they decide they REALLY want a much larger screen or REALLY want to spend a lot less on their next phone. For the average consumer, those are the only things that differentiate phones beyond the name on the back. They don't care if a phone has NFC or a SD slot or a quad core CPU or has a sassy assistant named Siri.

                  Now the same is true for a lot of Samsung customers who have been happy with their Galaxy phones, they will buy another Samsung, not because it is Android, but because they were satisfied with their last Samsung purchase and see no compelling reason to switch. That fact is a potential disaster for Google because Samsung has no allegiance to Android and in fact appears that they are planning to go their own way with Tizen to better monetize their customers rather than allowing Google to make all the post-sale money from them. Samsung could switch from Android to Tizen and take half the Android with them! Only those who specifically chose Android when they bought Samsung might abandon them if they switch to Tizen, but that's a very small percentage of all of Samsung's customers.

                  The other problem Android faces is on the very low end, like emerging market China and India, where a lot of the new Chinese companies most of us have never heard of replacing feature phones with "smartphones". Android's Microsoft tax means that a cheaper competitor like the Firefox OS could quickly steal that low end where even $5 per phone makes a difference. This really doesn't matter except for market share perception, since these people are not providing any after-sale value, but if the people see Android's market share drop by 75% over a year or two, the market perception would be devastating.

                  Google is so busy worrying about Apple, which due to its focus on the high end could at best win only a little bit more market share, that it seems to be ignoring the very real potential it could lose a large majority of the Android market in just a couple years.

                  Google thinks they can be like Microsoft, and Android can be like Windows. But Windows had lock in, while Android has none. People didn't choose Windows any more than they choose Android, they chose Dell or HP. Microsoft had enough power thanks to Office to force out all the competition aside from Apple, but Google does not have any killer app they can leverage into a monopoly (no, search isn't, because there is Yahoo/Bing) Microsoft could not have built their desktop monopoly if the web had existed back then, because being Windows compatible wouldn't have mattered if you could run web apps like Google Office.

                  1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: @Daniel B 06:21

                    > Microsoft could not have built their desktop monopoly if the web had existed back then, because being Windows compatible wouldn't have mattered if you could run web apps like Google Office

                    The web did exist 'back then', perhaps you missed it. When Windows 3.1 was grabbing market share due to AARD code and illegal 'per box pricing' Netscape was inventing web apps using Java and Javascript. MS had to buy in IE from SpyGlass (and forgot to pay them) in order to cut off Netscape's air supply and strangle 'the cloud' before it could establish itself. It has taken a couple of decades for the natural order to recover from MS's holding back the industry.

                    > go their own way with Tizen to better monetize

                    I am not sure how you think they will do this: their own app store to sell Tizen apps ? their own search/maps/earth/docs/etc which they advertise on or charge for ? renting their customers out to Bing ?

                    It seems that to be successful Tizen should be able to run existing web apps and Android apps like BB10 will do. It would also be useful if Tizen could run GTK+ and Qt so that it can run Gnumeric, Abiword and even OpenOffice like Nokia's N800/N900 can.

                    1. DougS Silver badge

                      @Richard

                      Yes, I know the web existed back then, but you're on crack if you think it would have been useful for running remote apps in 1993. What existed back then was about as useless as WAP was (even Apple haters should thank Apple for driving a stake in WAP's heart) with simple menus that worked like operating a mainframe decades ago. It wasn't until IE6 (yeah, as much I hate to admit that) that the proper interfaces existed for making anything like a real web app. Previously all attempts were based on Java, and well, we know how well that worked. It is only 5 or 6 years ago with "Web 2.0" hype that it became something web developers could expect cross platform browsers to handle.

                      As for Tizen, why wouldn't Samsung set up their own app store? Amazon did. They can make it compatible with Android apps, at least at first, and with them owning half the Android market every major Android app would be sold on Samsung's store within a year. That's immediate revenue going to Samsung rather than Google. Then they can enhance Tizen in ways that aren't compatible with Android apps, but with Samsung owning half the market, developers will develop not just for iOS and Android, but iOS, Android and Tizen. Sorry, WP8 and BB10, there won't be room for you. And what's wrong with renting their customers out to Bing? Do you really think that the average person cares who serves them their search results? If they do, they could always download a Google Search app - given that Google did one for Apple, surely they'd do one for Tizen.

                      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                        Re: @Richard

                        > It wasn't until IE6 ...

                        Netscape supported Java and Javascript for remote apps in 1995 (prior to Win95 release). IE6 was, what, 6 years later.

                        I refer you to:

                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_applet

                        """Java applets were introduced in the first version of the Java language in 1995,"""

                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JavaScript

                        """ Netscape considered their client-server solution as a distributed OS, running a portable version of Sun Microsystems' Java."""

                        It was Netscape's starting to implement 'the network is the computer' that spurred MS to get IE and to kill Netscape.

                        """Developed under the name Mocha, LiveScript was the official name for the language when it first shipped in beta releases of Netscape Navigator 2.0 in September 1995, but it was renamed JavaScript[9] when it was deployed in the Netscape browser version 2.0B3.[10]"""

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                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

                  Do you realize that while the kernel is Linux, the libc is BSD-derived? Android isn't really Linux-based, at all.

              4. StooMonster

                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.

          2. DiBosco
            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.

          3. Stuart Castle

            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.

        2. Lallabalalla
          Megaphone

          Re: Surface Pro will also fail

          Rubbish. Nobody apart from a few thousand geeks give a toss about "openness" - it's a meaningless term anyway. Ask one million tablet owners what it means and I'm willing to bet that only a handful can come up with any sort of answer.

          I'll tell you exactly how Android is taking market share away from Apple. People buy the best they can afford (or think they can get away with hence droid sales to date), so most people have bought Apple, and now that droid devices are beginning to come close to what Apple offer they are starting to buy those, hence rising sales. This will continue until Apple trounce them yet again with the thing they have been working on for the last 2 years while Samsung et al were playing catch-up. It's likely not going to be a tablet though,making this entire market moot.

          I realise that reality is an inconvenvenient truth for most people but you really should make an effort to get used to it.

          HP? no-one cares about HP any more than they remember what IBM once were.

      2. technome
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surface Pro will also fail

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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....

      3. 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?

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge
          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.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Surface Pro will also fail

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

          2. TheVogon Silver badge
            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.

          3. Slawek

            Re: Surface Pro will also fail

            >>RT does nothing that and android or is device can't

            Well, it has much better handwriting recognition, for example.

        2. jnffarrell1
          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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          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Surface Pro will also fail

            Dell marketed and sold linux

            1. Bernardo Sviso

              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.

            2. Robert E A Harvey
              Thumb Down

              Re: Dell marketed and sold linux

              Sold, perhaps, if you were determined enough.

              Marketed? no. It was a dirty secret, not offered with any enthusiasm.

          2. DougS Silver badge

            @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.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Eadon

              "Google probably realizes the Chrome desktop needs a lot of polishing before they want to throw this out in front of people"

              You can't polish a turd.

              1. hplasm Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: You can't polish a turd.

                How apt on a Surface/WinRt thread!

          3. StooMonster
            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.

        4. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          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.

      4. LOL123
        FAIL

        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.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          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.

          People are "not aware" because Apple does it's best to hide it. It's like a Tivo. It's like a tree falling in a forrest. If no one actually hears it, is it really there?

          Anything the user sees on an Apple system is strictly proprietary and is for Apple brand hardware only.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        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).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surface Pro will also fail

          Killed the iPhone? Were you in a coma when the 5 came out? Everybody medium was wall to wall with free advertising for Apple.

          Android and the iPhone have different business models. The iPhone is all about profit, otherwise they'd licence iOS to other manufacturers. It's like saying Ford are killing Mercedes after looking at nothing other than the market share figures.

      6. Chris 3

        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.

      7. Allison Park

        Re: Surface Pro will also fail

        Winner of the down vote contest! Just goes to prove the truth hurts.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. TheVogon Silver badge
        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!

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    4. LarsG
      Meh

      SO IT'S OFFICIAL

      The Surface RT is the new KIN.

      1. Fatman Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: SO IT'S OFFICIAL

        Or maybe the next Zune?

      2. Euripides Pants Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: SO IT'S OFFICIAL

        No, its a little too ZUNE to be sure of that...

    5. Pet Peeve
      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.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Surface Pro will also fail

        "I can't see spending a thousand bucks for a tablet when you can get a great laptop for that price"

        I think you are making much the same mistake that Microsoft is making.

        You don't buy a tablet because it is cheaper than a laptop. You buy a tablet because it is easier and quicker to pick it up to check emails and the latest news on El Reg than it is to do it on a laptop.

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge
      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...

    7. TheVogon Silver badge
      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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Surface Pro will also fail

        "Full USB support" is no selling point for any Microsoft device. My PHONE has "full USB support". The rest of your post is similar marketing nonsense that's simply out of touch with reality. You need to step outside of the Redmond echo chamber and so does the upper management at Microsoft.

      4. Orde
        WTF?

        Re: Surface Pro will also fail

        I also have a Surface tablet and disagree with most of your assessment. I've written up what I thought of it in detail here: http://decadecity.net/blog/2013/01/22/hands-on-with-the-microsoft-surface-rt/

    8. jonathanb Silver badge

      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.

  2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    here comes the onslaught

    I thought a comment on slashdot recently specifically on the topic of the dual UIs was excellent.

    they cited this microsoft paper

    http://www.sigchi.org/chi96/proceedings/desbrief/Sullivan/kds_txt.htm

    "The Windows® 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering"

    "Separate UI for Beginners

    The first major design direction we investigated was a separate UI ("shell") for beginning users. The design was quickly mocked up in Visual Basic and tested in the usability lab. (See Figure 4.) While the design tested well, because it successfully constrained user actions to a very small set, we quickly began to see the limitations as more users were tested:

    If just one function a user needed was not supported in the beginner shell, s/he would have to abandon it (at least temporarily).

    Assuming that most users would gain experience and want to leave the beginner shell eventually, the learning they had done would not necessarily transfer well to the standard shell.

    The beginner shell was not at all like the programs users would run (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.). As a result, users had to learn two ways of interacting with the computer, which was confusing. "

    "For these reasons and others, we abandoned the idea. Importantly, because we used a prototyping tool and tested immediately in the usability lab, we still had plenty of time to investigate other directions. "

    ---

    Those same conclusions should of been drawn with the new Metro/Modern/whatever UI. MS was too impatient, they should of taken the time to do it right, don't give two different UIs that you have to switch between. Especially if they are not compatible with each other (e.g. doing certain things can only be accomplished in one or the other, and I have read things like IE is separate in each, not having any knowledge of the other as well).

    For that reason alone Windows 8 should of never had been allowed out of the gate. Forcing the same metro UI on windows server 2012 (which they do if I recall right - one of my friends who is a MS employee was complaining about it recently) is even more absurd.

    Also it appears that the low end Win8 laptops are getting terrible reviews and high return rates (too slow, bad quality, etc). I imagine the cost of the touch technology just compromises the rest of the system too much for a low end box.

    1. stu_ekins
      Thumb Down

      Re: here comes the onslaught

      Down vote for repeated "should of", I'm afraid.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. petur
          Happy

          Re: here comes the onslaught

          nope, he only mentioned it once ;)

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: here comes the onslaught

            Hoist the Grammar Nazi flag, for Great Justice!

            Bombastic wagnerian music to a song rich in germanic gutturals begins to play in the background

            1. Blitterbug
              Headmaster

              Re: Hoist the Grammar Nazi flag, for Great Justice!

              Funny gag, Mr Monsters, but actually that appalling grammar actually hurt my eyeballs, even as I agreed with the sentiments expressed by the poster. Not understanding the difference between 'of' and 'have' is pretty bleedin' fundamental in English, and it's actually not all that Hitlerian to expect the technically literate to also be - er - literate... or something.

      2. RubberJohnny

        Re: here comes the onslaught

        "Should of" used to be wrong. But now it is used so often that it has become the correct form. Fluid language you see. The modal verb plus "have" plus past participle has had its day.

        But I might have been called old fashioned, once.

        1. Obvious Robert
          Headmaster

          Re: here comes the onslaught

          " "Should of" used to be wrong. But now it is used so often that it has become the correct form. "

          No it hasn't!! It makes no bloody sense at all! For example, compare the following statements:

          - I should have gone to the shop.

          - I should of gone to the shop.

          This only *sounds* ok because of the homophone with the correct abbreviation 'should've'.

          Now compare that with how blatantly stupid this sounds:

          - I have gone to the shop.

          - I of gone to the shop.

          And THAT is why "should of" is, has always been, and will always be WRONG.

    2. RubberJohnny

      Re: here comes the onslaught

      Ahhh, Control Panel defaults to thicky mode and offers "Switch to Classic Mode" for the less thick.

  3. h3

    The killer feature for Windows RT is any app you like via Remote Desktop with Remote FX.

    Dunno why everyone seems to ignore this. (It works like native).

    Not sure why people slagging off the surface ignore this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can run any Windows program I like from my Android tablet via one of a number of available remote desktop apps. This option is by no means restricted to Windows RT.

      1. rgh

        With the Microsoft remote control, the desktop running Windows 8 behaves as if it's running locally on the tablet (swipe from right edge for charms, swipe from left to change apps, sound plays via local speakers). Which app do you use in the Android marketplace to do it? I haven't seen the same functionality with my Android tablets, but I may need to try a different app.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Stuff swiping

          I have seen the Android Net Support, he was able to do anything he liked including running our own software

        2. Blitterbug
          Happy

          Re: Which app do you use in the Android marketplace to do it?

          I was playing Borderlands 2 today on my Nexus 7, running on my PC but streaming to the tablet over WiFi with SplashTop (Google Play free or paid). It's not perfect (have to muck with the aspect ratio some) but by god is it fun! Incidentally my XBox 360 controller was plugged into the usb port of the tablet, btw, not into the PC.

          I'm not sure if you were trying to be sarcastic or not, so I'm hoping you were simply unaware of solutions such as this.

      2. RonWheeler

        Not with RemoteFX rendering the 3D, HD video streams etc of the remote machine you can't. For a VDI solution where users need Direct3D whizzyness (and in the real non-linux world they do) it is hard to beat

        1. Daniel B.
          FAIL

          @RonWheeler

          "For a VDI solution where users need Direct3D whizzyness (and in the real non-linux world they do) it is hard to beat"

          Direct3D for work? Where do you work, id Software? If anything, *disabling* whizzyness is probably an intended course of action in enterprise PCs/clients as to avoid employees doing LAN parties on company hardware.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @RonWheeler

            id Software use OpenGL and not DirectX

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          A solution in search of a problem...

          What solution that needs Direct3D?

          There really isn't one. At that point, you are far better off using local hardware. Use something just slightly less lame and eliminate the need for some noisy monster in another room that's being forced itself to do things in the least effective way possible.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        None of them support Remote FX. No Android client has licensed it.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Remote FX

          Remote FX may be cool and better than anything you can do to remotely operate a PC with an iPad or Android, but is it worth $600? Why not get a $600 laptop and operate a local PC?

          The market for people who want to operate their PC remotely frequently enough to spend $600 on it is not going to be all that large. The market for such people who need to have it work exactly as if it was local using Remote FX, rather than a generic remote desktop type client as on iOS/Android is even smaller.

    2. p3ngwin1

      are they "ignoring" it, or are they just processing the idea and not seeing the value in a $600 hardware remote to another PC ?

      if you think "$600 remote control for your PC" is the best "killer app" for Microsoft's entire reason to release a new OS, you both have issues.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Linux nerd downvoters

      Didn't know that, but I've never seen it pitched as a VDI solution. And sod the trigger-happy downvoters, they've clearly never used RemoteFX and just like Ms bashing.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Linux nerd downvoters

        You clearly have not used HP thin clients + altiris as well as many other Linux based VDI solutions out there. In fact, on the "terminal" side Linux running a Citrix client is probably a majority, not minority of VDI.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Linux nerd downvoters

          I have used HP RGS, and it sucks loads.....Just try getting RGS to support a decent USB camera / Microphone for instance...

    4. Pet Peeve
      Facepalm

      Every tablet out there has some sort of remote desktop client. Yeah, it's not the full-bore microsoft/citrix Remote Desktop, and again there might be a niche there, but if you're a home user, the last thing you need to do is spend big bucks on your tablet to remote across the house to your PC. If you need to do it (and I admit I do it fairly often with my ipad), just run a VNC server.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why?

      Duh!

      Not everyone is connected to the Internet every minute of the day everwhere they go.(or wants to be for that matter)

      Sometimes that can't afford the data plans that would allow it even if they wanted it or they had the connectivity to allow it.

      solve this and then RDP to some server/cloud somewhere might have a chance for those who don't have a life.

      You could try getting out of your Mom's basement from time to time and experience the real world out there.

      Rant over, I'm off to get a plane to Novosibirsk. Please tell me how I can get data access to my servers from there at anything less than $5 per megabyte?

    6. MJI Silver badge

      Not it isn't

      Chap at work has a Sony tablet, he logged in from home to control his Win 7 PC with it.

      He bought the Sony after trying a lot including Apple products

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > The killer feature for Windows RT is any app you like via Remote Desktop with Remote FX.

      The 'killer feature' on my vacuum cleaner is that it has a plug to connect it to the electricity.

      Shill fail.

  4. h3

    If you are using Metro on Windows 2012 you are doing it wrong.

    (Maybe the first time bootstrapping active directory you want to use the wizard but in that case do it in a VM and use the option to save the powershell commands. Then run them on a server core instance as intended.)

    Terminal Services / VDI is seperate.

  5. CheesyTheClown
    Facepalm

    Give it time

    Let's pretend for a moment that Microsoft isn't as dumb as everyone thinks when it comes to business.

    1) a high price tag on Surface limits the number of consumers who will spring for it. Nearly every developer I know preparing apps for Windows 8 has bought one and we consider it the reference platform for Windows RT development.

    2) the API for Windows store is a much bigger pain in the ass than we expected. After 20+ years of using almost the same APIs for Windows development, it's actually slapped some of us silly. Many developers by nature are in fact procrastinators with cause. We prefer to wait for the final version of the OS to ship before we start porting to the new platform. It makes it so we can benefit from the stabilization that comes with other developers submitting bugs and Microsoft adding APIs which are needed. In my case, it wasn't until the last month before RTM before the API for keyboard handling I needed came about. In addition, some of us old dogs are trying to stick to old tricks and it isn't always working.

    3) a bunch of us are waiting for third party libraries to be released before we move forward. I for example have developed my apps as a Windows desktop app with WPF while waiting for the libraries I use to compile using the new sockets layer.

    4) text rendering is a big problem and documentation is still not good enough. If all you want is the same crap apps as iPad or Android, get one of those. But when we develop for Windows, we deal with a more fickle audience and it's extra important to get it right. Don't believe me, ask Corel. They've developed half assed applications on Windows for years and the current generation doesn't even know their name. I'll spend an extra three months getting my Windows app right as opposed to releasing iPhone or Android quality crap.

    5) tricky change for developers who want I code apps for both desktop and metro. It's quite hard to do it. Often you have to write your code twice. As much as Microsoft had made it easier. It seems impossible to maintain a single copy of a library for both Windows Store AND desktop in the same project file. This really makes it more complex.

    So, a higher priced tablet which seems to sell mostly to developers makes a lot of sense. Windows RT will fly when developers catch on. The restriction on desktop apps was a great idea as it forces many of us to code for Metro.

    All I can say is, give it time. It will happen. I think once we get out heads around how to develop both desktop and Windows Store apps, it will make a huge difference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Give it time

      Looks like you're ashamed to admit you've been tricked into wasting hundreds of dollars on a Win RT. Don't feel too bad about it!

      1. CheesyTheClown
        FAIL

        Re: Give it time

        Uhh... I paid $800, invested two days and made $9000 on it. Where did I lose money on it?

        1. DaLo
          Meh

          Re: Give it time

          You just said you were spending an extra 3 months on your app to get it right but now you are saying you only took two days?

          If your app is so great and better than anything on iOS or Android, care to name it so we can all see how good it is?

          1. CheesyTheClown
            Happy

            Sure

            First to clarify, the profit I made was from porting libraries to be used by others. No released app yet. So there's nothing to see here.

            The application I'm developing is an SSH client integrated with Visio which also has thumb oriented macros targeting Cisco and Juniper configuration.

            I did present this discontiguously. My apps take longer to write. My customers apps take longer to write. It is because we're all waiting for the infrastructure to establish. This takes time.

            On iOS, it took years for libraries to all make their way to iOS and even now it an often be problematic. Android is an absolute nightmare for libraries at time since you have to mar the judgement call of whether to diddle around writing Java code which is useless for you on other platforms or if you'd prefer to use native code instead which also is a half assed option. Blackberry is semi-ok since you can port half assed Android apps to be half assed Blackberry apps using their Android compatibility layer.

            When MS finally permits native code on Windows RT, and it almost certainly will happen once they feel that there is enough Metro apps, Windows RT and Window 8 will be the same tool. Windows RT was strategically amazing. It's like iOS and OS X. You have a great deal more limitations on Windows RT (like with iOS) but instead of the Apple stupidity of making it so you have to choose to develop for either iOS or OS X, you can write one app which runs on both Windows RT and Windows 8.

            Then you have Google making ChromeBooks with a full OS which runs Java, but they don't even have Eclipse up and running on it. That is SOoooo lame. Like "oh... You want to make an app for Android. Yeh, go get one of our competitors products, we can't do that"

    2. Day

      Re: Give it time

      "So, a higher priced tablet which seems to sell mostly to developers makes a lot of sense. Windows RT will fly when developers catch on. The restriction on desktop apps was a great idea as it forces many of us to code for Metro.

      All I can say is, give it time. It will happen. I think once we get out heads around how to develop both desktop and Windows Store apps, it will make a huge difference."

      I think that this is a very serious misunderstanding of the tablet market. Nobody (apart from developers who bought into Windows 8) cares about how easy it is to develop for. How many developers are going to persevere through the problems, given the small market share? Look at what you posted: problems with the Windows Store API; problems with third-party libraries; problems with text rendering; problems with coding for desktop and metro. How many successful iOS/Android developers are going to bother? How many new entrants to the market are going to go with Windows 8 rather than one of the two market leaders?

    3. mathew42
      Facepalm

      Re: Give it time

      Don't Google have a reputation for just giving away gear like this to developers who turn up to their conferences?

      1. CheesyTheClown
        Devil

        Re: Give it time

        Microsoft have away Samsung Series 7 Slates at their build conference. An AWSOME machine. I've used the one I bought with Windows 8 over a year now. Once Surface Pro comes out, I'll even stop carrying my ebook reader with me (iPad 3). I only need two tablets with me when I'm working. One for work and one for ebooks and watching videos. I use the Series 7 Slate for work as the iPad is useless for that. I use the iPad for the high red screen. 206dpi will be fine when I get the Surface Pro. The I can have useful computers with me. ;)

    4. Hungry Sean

      Re: Give it time

      what the hell, someone who has taken the time to get down and dirty with a piece of technology writes a thoughtful response about that experience and where he thinks the technology is going and gets 30 downvotes while copy-paste rah rah linux rants get the opposite? I'm personally not an MS fan, I use Linux when I can, but this is sad and juvenile.

      For what it's worth, the killer for me is that the surface doesn't come with RT Pro, outlook and active directory integration. My work laptop is basically an outlook client and power point player-- a surface could easily replace it if MS only had clean integration with their enterprise offerings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Give it time

        Frankly Sean, I feel sorry for him. He's taken the time to post an in-depth explanation, point by point, of precisely why nobody in their right mind should ever code for WP8. The redeeming point is that he's smart enough to write libraries he has a market for, unlike apps which will never make a penny.

  6. Wombling_Free
    Facepalm

    How many people, so much money spent...

    and they got it so horribly wrong.

    Not even governments fuck up that bad.

    I would have told them it was a FAIL for only 1% they paid their top marketing consultants, and I'd still be quite well off from the income.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      BHP's measure ability in dollars

      If you only charge 1%, that is how much your opinion would count. To get listened to, you need to charge double.

      1. DRendar

        Re: BHP's measure ability in dollars

        Oh all right, I'll take 2%

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: How many people, so much money spent...

      > Not even governments fuck up that bad.

      I challenge you on this!

      As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq.

      All basically tax transfers to well-connected people, so one might actually consider this a "just as planned", but still.

      1. jnffarrell1
        Happy

        Re: How many people, so much money spent...

        Just as planned by Gen. Custer: get your scouts killed pushing Windows RT, retreat to the Surface Pro hill, find out your PCs are outgunned by Chrome Books with rapid fire voice and gesture reading by camera (not tablet). Finally find the solution Windows 9 for people who want to work fast using less inhumane interfaces on their PCs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many people, so much money spent...

          > Finally find the solution Windows 9 for people who want to work fast using less inhumane interfaces on their PCs.

          Of course - just as the solution for Ashton-Tate was dBase V.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many people, so much money spent...

        £4.5 billion. That's considerably less than half of what they wasted on abandoned and unfit for purpose NHS IT projects.

      3. Ian 55

        Re: How many people, so much money spent...

        Yes to your last paragraph, but what the US spent in Iraq is more than the budget for a manned mission to Mars, and most of that would have gone to the same military industrial complex, for a much bigger PR impact and potential return.

  7. P_0

    I'd still buy a Surface if:

    1. It let you install Chrome or Firefox.

    2. It was about 20~30% cheaper.

    3. There were some good "goofy" apps (games like angry birds etc), for the family.

    But I wouldn't be using it for any serious work. I still don't understand why the netbook market collapsed. I love netbooks. An Atom powered netbook running Windows 7 (or Ubuntu) still feels way more powerful than a Surface.

    1. El Andy

      "I still don't understand why the netbook market collapsed"

      In order to be viable, netbooks needed to be cheaper than the lowest cost laptops around. That meant they needed to be lower spec hardware and not incur the cost of a Windows license. And that meant they had to run desktop Linux. Which, it turns out, was universally hated by just about everyone who bought a netbook. The return rates on them were astronomical, hitting nearly 50% for some vendors. And that made them an incredibly expensive mistake for the manufacturers. There were a few attempts to bail themselves out by re-using the parts for XP netbooks, but by that point they were the selling at the same price as cheap laptops and just didn't make sense to consumers.

    2. EvilGav 1
      Holmes

      Netbooks, for my money, failed for the same reason that many devices do - they never evolved or changed.

      I love my netbook, it is precisely what I was looking for - a very light, extremely portable laptop at a reasonable price.

      I bought a Samsung NC-10, as it had the best feeling keyboard, about 4 years ago. Yet if I look at the latest Netbooks (the few that there are), at the same price - the hardware is all but the same (single core, 1.6GHz processor, 1GB ram, 10.1" screen, 200GB or so HDD). Either the price should have dropped or the spec should have got better, neither is true to any great extent.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

    If it comes with Office then its about 10X as useful as an iPad or any Android tablet. If I were going to shell out $600+ to stab at gorilla glass with my fat fingers all day, I would definitely buy the one with the useful programs on it. Anything else is just an overpriced toy. If you just want to play games, you could get 2 of the most powerful PS3's bundled with the latest games for the price of one top of the line tablet from Apple or Samsung.

    1. Pet Peeve
      FAIL

      Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

      You really want to "stab at gorilla glass" all day working with excel? Excel is a fantastic program, but it's one of the most keyboard bound and tablet-unfriendly apps ever written.

      If you want to use office, get an ultrabook.Better keyboard, better processor, and probably cheaper. Totally pointless to use a tablet with Office.

      1. Simon Barker

        Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

        I don't believe Microsoft were mistaken in giving us a tablet and desktop interface, if you see yourself mostly using a tablet and sometimes needing Office the Surface RT can provide that but if you see yourself working mostly on the desktop it's the wrong device in my view. Hooking up an external monitor, keyboard and mouse won't fix that, it's simply not a full blown desktop replacement if you need more than Office.

        The bigger issue for me is the lack of apps and high quality apps, it's been out for months and it's still missing some of the most popular apps, even if they had the best hardware and OS no one would care until it has the apps they like/want to use.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

        Nobody buys the best device for the job these days, people buy something else and then try to hack/mod it into doing something else.

        People will buy a games console and try to turn it into a computer.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

        You obviously havnt used Office 2013 yet then. It works just fine on a tablet.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

      Stuff that if you want to play games in your hands just get a Vita, it is cheaper and the games are games, as to that OLED screen.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: Anything else is just an overpriced toy

      The consumer market *want toys* and the current tablet mass market is consumer led. The iPad demonstrates they'll happily buy 'overpriced toys' as well if the brand is right. What MS ignore is that neither 'Microsoft' or 'Windows' are desirable brands and for some they even have negative value, not worthy of overpricing. And Surface RT is overpriced.

      Microsoft built what they need to sell, not what customers want to use. The bulk of the buying public just aren't interested in working on their tablets and bundling Office isn't as compelling a feature as you and Microsoft believe. They didn't bother mentioning it in any of the consumer facing promotion in any case so it's rather irrelevant.

      The corporate market have different issues that bundling Office doesn't overcome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anything else is just an overpriced toy

        When tablets came out they were evaluated by many companies. Finally a portable computing device that would last a working day.

        When they replaced my gas main the engineer was using an iPad to record test results. They're not toys if you have an imagination.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

      "If it comes with Office then its about 10X as useful as an iPad or any Android tablet."

      How about if it's not real office but some half assed hybrid that can't handle macros.

      This is the strategy MS pursued when they advertised Office for Palmtops.

      It looked compatible.

      But it wasn't.

  9. banjomike
    Thumb Up

    Fairly obvious

    If Microsoft decided to torpedo their primary product, Windows, and replace it with crap then why would we expect them to pick the best hardware to run it on? I agree that Surface is a nice piece of kit. Very nice. But the Microsoft brains were out-of-gear when they were thinking about the whole package. And don't even MENTION Windows 8 on a 24 inch monitor. Geez, garish, ugly, unusable. OK, I mentioned it. Sorry.

  10. Tom 35 Silver badge

    I have a Window RT Surface. It was a gift, never would have paid for one. I also have a Nexus 7 that I did pay for.

    1. Windows RT devices are too expensive - 100% true. For that kind of money almost anyone would buy an iPad, some will buy something else and keep the change. Finding that there are ads in some of the built in apps...

    2. The software stinks - True again.

    Apps. Large numbers of the apps are more useless then fart apps, I've found quite a few that don't even work but still got into the store. Top Paid and Top Free include a lot of apps with low ratings, very few ratings, or even zero ratings.

    Active tiles - Arrrg. Flip, Flip, Flash Flash. All turned off except weather and news. Can't lock tiles in place, move one in a group and you never know what it's going to move.

    Desktop - Office, it's better then the Office apps for Android, but the one time I tried to do work on it excel kept crashing but the same file worked fine on my desktop with Office 7, and I ended up plugging in a mouse. All the stuff in Windows 8 (or Windows 7 other then strat) is still there, once you look under the tacky phone UI all the non touch stuff is there. For example connecting to my printer (connected to an XP box) was exactly the same as it was with Windows 7. First I had to add an entry in the HOSTS file (using notepad), but I didn't have rights to edit it (even though you get an admin account by default) so I had to take ownership of the file, give my self rights. Now I can resolve the XP box. Now a manual printer install, pick a "close enough" printer since I can't download a driver, and I'm done. But non of this is a touch interface, you need that keyboard with touch pad, or even a real mouse. This OS is Frankenstein in a dress. VPN only supports basic stuff, can't connect to the SSL vpn at work, Cisco say that they don't have enough access to make their VPN work.

    3. Microsoft is competing with itself - I don't really see that as the problem. They should not have called it Windows (even more so for Phone). It's not Windows XBox 360, so why Windows Phone?

    4. Microsoft is competing with everyone else, too - That's to be expected, but they are not doing a good job, see 1 and 2.

    5. Windows RT is too closed - They want to be Apple. Worse, the desktop is there, but you can't add anything.

    6. Hardware OEMs haven't bought in. They know it's mostly dead.

    7. Microsoft's marketing sucks - They are trying to be Apple again. But people know what an iPod is already... Window RT? WTF is that?

    Two other things...

    Charging - No USB charging. You can only charge with the Brick, and a second brick will cost you $40. Every other tablet I've used supported USB charging (might be slow but it worked). And it seems to suck quite a bit of power in standby too.

    Video Out - It's standard micro HDMI (good) but they don't tell you and try to sell you a $40 adaptor when a $5 cable works fine.

    1. Vince

      "Windows RT devices are too expensive"

      Maybe that's true. I thought £699 was OK for a Yoga 11, so I bought it.

      "The software stinks - True again"

      Really? I find plenty of good apps and it all just works for me.

      "Active tiles - Arrrg. Flip, Flip, Flash Flash. All turned off except weather and news. Can't lock tiles in place, move one in a group and you never know what it's going to move."

      I assume you're not very clueful then, you choose exactly where a tile goes, and it is entirely consistent with what happens. Hasn't caused me any pain yet. the Live tiles is one of the things I like the most - at home - where I have the usual mix of "social" stuff, and news etc etc. At work it's less useful, since 99% of my work uses normal apps. But it's nice having one way to find stuff.

      "Desktop - Office, it's better then the Office apps for Android, but the one time I tried to do work on it excel kept crashing but the same file worked fine on my desktop with Office 7, and I ended up plugging in a mouse."

      You have updated to the final release and not the beta right?

      "First I had to add an entry in the HOSTS file (using notepad)"

      Presumably because you've not setup your network and/or printer properly then.

      "but I didn't have rights to edit it (even though you get an admin account by default) so I had to take ownership of the file, give my self rights."

      Or you could have just run notepad with elevated rights, y'know like the system requires to get enhanced privileges. You made that hard work for yourself.

      "Now a manual printer install, pick a "close enough" printer since I can't download a driver, and I'm done. But non of this is a touch interface, you need that keyboard with touch pad, or even a real mouse."

      That's right, because you're doing stuff the wrong way.

      "This OS is Frankenstein in a dress. VPN only supports basic stuff, can't connect to the SSL vpn at work, Cisco say that they don't have enough access to make their VPN work."

      Well maybe you need a better vendor then. Because other people are making things work.

      "3. Microsoft is competing with itself - I don't really see that as the problem. They should not have called it Windows (even more so for Phone). It's not Windows XBox 360, so why Windows Phone?"

      "5. Windows RT is too closed - They want to be Apple. Worse, the desktop is there, but you can't add anything."

      ...and the benefit of the "closed" system is less junk and less stuff to break and such. Apple don't *just* do it to make money.

      "6. Hardware OEMs haven't bought in. They know it's mostly dead."

      *looks at Lenovo* etc etc

      "7. Microsoft's marketing sucks - They are trying to be Apple again. But people know what an iPod is already... Window RT? WTF is that?"

      ...and at last we agree. Microsoft's marketing is really crap. As is/was Nokia's. For example, the Nokia N97 (which was an awful phone, but I digress) had an advert that never really told you what the benefit was. Apple went "oi mush you can do THIS" and people went and bought it. People often think it's the ONLY device that can do this (actually it's often the worst/last device, but the marketing still wins them).

      "Charging - No USB charging. You can only charge with the Brick, and a second brick will cost you $40. Every other tablet I've used supported USB charging (might be slow but it worked). And it seems to suck quite a bit of power in standby too."

      I can't speak for the Surface, but I would imagine it would take so long to meaningfully charge a device of this class it wasn't included because it is stupid.

      "Video Out - It's standard micro HDMI (good) but they don't tell you and try to sell you a $40 adaptor when a $5 cable works fine."

      you've never shopped at a PC world have you... :-)

  11. Vince

    blah blah, blah...

    As someone who actually *has* a Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11, running Windows RT I can't disagree more with the premise that RT is DOA.

    Everything I care about bar 1 app is there, and the remaining one has a web interface that works in IE anyhow.

    I get the benefit of Win8's interface on my laptop, desktop and my yoga. The same apps, sync'd settings. And with the yoga, I get amazing battery life so I can actually use it all day without an issue.

    YMMV of course, but it's really a bit unfair to say it is DOA.

    1. p3ngwin1

      Re: blah blah, blah...

      why is it "unfair to say it's DOA" when the EVIDENCE demonstrates just a paltry 1 Million sales of RT Tablets in a launch quarter ?

      The list of complaints here are valid, and verified especially with the terrible UI that was noted since the BETA's, the Community Preview, the RTM, etc by everyone from tech journo's, testers, and even UI experts.

      Microsoft were TOLD from the start the UI was a problem, and the company decided to go with it anyway citing bullshit "telemetry" research that apparently showed people weren't using the Start Menu anyway.

      sure, nobody uses the start menu, and it's totally NOT a way to force people to use the unified Metro UI of the new touch-optimized interface that matches Windows Phone and XBOX ?

      sure, not a ploy to FORCE everyone away from 40+ years of WIMPS UI evolution, and i guess there must have been a reason to kill desktop GADGETS right? because apparently there was a "security risk", which was easier to kill the entire platform instead of, you know FIXING the risk ?

      and Aero Glass, that's gone too for no good reason, not even an option anymore (although a nice prick-tease with the transparent taskbar left in).

      face it, Microsoft bet the farm on a new UI and it failed terribly, and the tablet sales are hard evidence that people don't want it.

      Microsoft simply doesn't understand mobile, they never have. From Windows Mobile 5, 6, KIN (killed the entire platform in 6 weeks, gotta be a record!), Windows phone 7, 7.5, 8....

      How many times does Microsoft reset and re-boot, burning consumer and developer bridges, blatantly demonstrating they don't understand mobile before people notice ?

    2. Dave 150
      WTF?

      Re: blah blah, blah...

      The Yoga 11 is little more than an OUYA ($99) with a 720p screen in a pretty laptop... and you paid HOW MUCH?

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. LesboInMansBody
    WTF?

    How long can Ballmer stay in charge

    Whats' harder to fathom then all of Microsoft's blunders is how they keep the same leadership. All these blunders have really happened on Steve's watch yet he continues to be there. A look at HP, Intel, AMD, Yahoo, Dell even Google(Schmidt given a back seat) have CEO's pulled on much shorter leashes. What or who is keeping Ballmer in charge ? Are Microsoft's stock holders so enamoured with MS office sales that they over look the companies utter and complete failure in web and mobile technologies.

  14. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Microsoft seems to be a victim of [tablet] dynamics

    It can't win and it can't break even. Unfortunately, neither can it break out of the game.

  15. Lars Silver badge
    Linux

    Extremely funny

    Microsoft has fallen in the Linux pit. Not saying they where digging it for Linux on the tablet, perhaps, but now they expect something still worse to sell. An expensive stripped down Windows, even worse than Linux for surprised customers and unsure sells personal.

    Haa haa haa. Do not get me wrong, I have used Linux on the desktop since 97. The demand to copy Apple "designing" the hardware I can understand as a wet dream by Ballmer (try again). Haa haa haa

  16. rgh

    Interesting view

    I have been using the Surface RT since it's release date. It has replaced my desktop and laptop in the office. There are a number of reasons why this is only the first pass for Windows RT. Consider this over the next year or two, all new apps will be written in the Windows 8 store. So, after a year or two, why would you ever go to the desktop? All apps will run in the Metro interface. The reason for this bet is simple, Apple bet on ARM, Microsoft bet on Intel for tablets. Apple won that bet and it cost Microsoft in a huge way. It's a smart move to play both sides of this fence. After a year, they will no longer be competing on backward compatibility.

    For another view, check out my blog. I talk about specific experience using the RT device as a daily driver:

    http://rghnews.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/microsoft-surface-as-a-daily-driver/

    Just so you know, I leave every day, I don't take a charger for my tablet. I use the tablet to make phone calls (Skype), work in office, connect to work stuff through Citrix, surf the web, write, research, play some games, etc. You get the picture. I see it has been mentioned, but at home, I have a full desktop in my office downstairs. I can remote control it from anywhere in the house and it behaves as if it's running natively on the Surface. Swipes, installs, run anything, etc.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: remote control

      I run a 2048x1152 primary monitor and it doesn't feel big enough (hence the 2nd monitor and planned 3rd one). I really don't care how well remote control functions, on a 1366x768 display that's a scrolling mess simply not usable for real work. Perfect for remoting your laptop with it's poor 1366x768 screen (but why would you do that, it's portable), useless for any desktop monitor shipped in the last 5 years.

      So a nice feature for occasional casual use, not a life changing advantage for most.

    2. keithpeter
      Linux

      Re: Interesting view

      "After reading so many other reviews, however, I am struck by the fact most authors spend a very limited time with a [device] before reviewing."

      Interesting blog post, and I'm glad the Surface works for your use cases. Your phrase above could be applied to Ubuntu/Unity, Gnome Shell as well just by changing the word in square brackets to Interface.

      The message I get from this discussion is that it is all about use cases. We now have a range of devices/UIs that are focussed for specific kinds of user. Out of band users will find the device/UI frustrating - they will be working 'against the grain' so to speak.

      Perhaps we just have to deal with the fractured market now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting view

      Backward compatibility is Microsoft's greatest asset. What sort of genius came up with a plan to create (multiple!) versions of Windows that can't run Windows software? Does their HR department recruit people at random from some sort of day centre?

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Interesting view

      The anecdotal trap: just because it works for you doesn't mean that the criticisms of the article aren't wrong. It sounds like you have bought an expensive remote control for your desktop.

      Sales of 1 million in a quarter including Christmas are just plain dismal: the market has rejected Microsoft's value proposition and this despite huge advertising and marketing campaigns. Apple already has the walled garden and through the volume of its sales has convinced by developers and corporates to let it into their space. For the masses cheap Android tablets are proving increasingly attractive media consumption devices that are extremely portable, significantly more so than the Surface and the reason why Apple has developed the I-Pad mini. Where is the Surface mini? And why has Samsung so noisily abandoned the market?

      You are right to point out that more and more apps will be developed for Metro, though how many will be compiled for ARM remains to be seen. Windows RT might just be a stop gap for Microsoft while Intel and manufacturers work on Surface Pro tablets which might well prove popular, albeit by cannibalising notebook sales but only in significant volumes if they are cheap enough.

  17. Ian Easson

    Too high priced?

    Surface RT costs $100 less than the comparable 32 GB Ipad, and offers a lot more for the money (like Office).

    Get your facts straight.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too high priced?

      Get your facts straight. .. office RT does not support macros so for anything more comple than a basic spreadsheet you are stuffed.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Too high priced?

        No Macros isnt much of a limitation for mobile use. It still has fully functional Word, One Note and Powerpoint too. Its much better and more poweful than Google Docs, Libre Office, etc..

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Too high priced?

      And the Nexus 10 costs even less and offers arguably even more…

  18. Nanners
    Headmaster

    I'll give you one reason.

    NO APPS. I ain't gonna shell out that much to check my email...Knowing it's going to have bugs.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      WTF?

      Fortythousand Schmortythousand

      The cited "there's only 40K apps" and similar (much higher) figures for Android and iOS beg the question:

      How many apps are needed?

      Disregarding games (where infinite variations and clones can be had), how many other apps are needed? *Four-five office suits,

      *ten editors (baby versions of popular desktop ones, and mainly for markup and scripting languages --- nobody in their right mind will do heavy duty work, e.g. compiling, on a tablet),

      *less than ten browsers,

      *ten weather widgets,

      *less than ten calendar widgets (which IMO the OS should already do),

      ...

      All in all about a thousand, tops?

      Any more than a thousand makes managing choice hopeless: people cannot usefully scan, they will only consider the top-five or so in whatever category they search (count review-stars, some comments, the end).

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Fortythousand Schmortythousand

        how many other apps are needed?

        *Four-five office suits,

        Zero, Office is it.

        *ten editors (baby versions of popular desktop ones, and mainly for markup and scripting languages --- nobody in their right mind will do heavy duty work, e.g. compiling, on a tablet),

        Zero, desktop apps are banned. There are two modern apps, one with a single suspect 5 star ratting, one with 4 ratings and the first review said no copy and paste.

        *less than ten browsers,

        Yes it's less, zero. IE is all you need.

        *ten weather widgets,

        There are a few, I'm using the Weather Network app. Better then Bing and no flippin big ad in the middle.

        *less than ten calendar widgets (which IMO the OS should already do),

        There is a very basic one built in (you must log into a windows account to use it) but I'm not using it since I don't carry the surface around with me.

        Your editor is not needed by most people, but they may need other specialized apps for what they do. Sales might need an expense tracking app for example. Educational apps are mostly unrated, or 1-2 star.

        The missing apps are things MS will not allow (Browsers, desktop apps), and the specialized apps.

        Lots of companies from radio stations to shopping malls produce apps, but just for IOS and Android, nothing for surface.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the conclusion is...

    The market for 'tablets' with 'tablet' like OS is limited. People basically want Windows 8 Pro (desktop) on a tablet form factor. Added + if it can dual-boot other OS like a real PC today.

    Price is subjective tbh one has always been expected to pay a premium for smaller form factor devices that has the same power as a desktop variant.

    Surface Pro will not gain mass adoption just because it's a monster cross-breed between an ultrabook and a tablet, not a true tablet FF when taking the weight and thickness into account.

    People going on about the death of the PC industry is talking out their bottom since this just verifies people want the functionalities of a PC in a true tablet FF.

    My prediction is that we'll have to wait a couple more years for that, prototypes might be around next year when Intel comes out with even more power efficient CPUs. It really remains to be seen whether ARM (or more precisely their partners) can come out with a mass market 64-bit processor that can be on-par with Intel in benchmarks (or the other way around). Anyone who says otherwise is BSing since nobody truely knows today.

    Oh and any other architectures, FF, gadgets until this ultimate 'tablet' comes to market in the interim will phase out of existence eventually. Mobile OSes, Android, iOS etc will either scale back to phablets/phone devices only or be expanded into a fully fledged "desktop" OS.

    I do favour Intel winning out in the end just because of their manufacturing capabilities will remain 1-2 generations further than anyone else which means they can manufacture more power efficient CPUs negating any advantages a RISC (ARM) vs CISC (Intel) architecture may have, IMO.

    1. jnffarrell1
      Happy

      Re: So the conclusion is...

      Lots of power users will never give up on PC, but they may not buy another laptop until:

      1) it doesn't burn their knee when used as a laptop

      2) does not require a plug in an airport

      3) has batteries that last 6_8 hours

      If such a device has productivity Apps that are easier to learn to use than Word, Excel, PowerPoint so much the better, but don't make me give up my Excel and PowerPoint wizard hats.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: So the conclusion is...

      "I do favour Intel winning out in the end just because of their manufacturing capabilities will remain 1-2 generations further than anyone else "

      Perhaps in your universe mr AC.

      " which means they can manufacture more power efficient CPUs negating any advantages a RISC (ARM) vs CISC (Intel) architecture may have"

      But Mr AC if Intel have had that "more power efficient" ability enabled by their technology lead why have they never used it?

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Reason 8 - Eadon predicted Win 8 RT would fail

      "And the market listened to Eadon. And lo! Windows RT failed."

      Voted down due to head being firmly placed in rectal cavity.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  21. Tank boy
    Holmes

    Too little too late?

    To me it seems that the market is already saturated with tablets that work, and don't need an MS brand on the OS to sell the product. I'm sure at some point in time the folks in the headshed at MS thought that if they wait for the technology to catch up with their OS, they'd be printing money, but that doesn't seem to have happened, and the window of opportunity has all but closed.

    Good for them for offering an alternative, that's the nature of business, but a wag of of the finger at them for trying to jump on the bandwagon long after it's gone.

  22. johnwerneken
    Happy

    The Store isn't for income

    Not having 'developed' anything since before Windows 95, I have no idea what challenges there might be in ARM/win8 RT software. My hunch is that the whole ARM concept is a mistake, that having the familiar to build on is more important, and much harder to get around, than battery technology. And I myself just don't want computation following me around. I mean it's anywhere I spend much time or I won't go there; I hate travel in principle but if I am walking by choice, it's to talk and to look, not to futz with some contraption (on other modes of travel I find either books or daydreams preferable). I only have a cell phone because my ISP is less reliable than my old landline and payphones are rare, working ones rarer, and affordable working ones, nonexistent – and the landline would cost me more than the cell and almost as much as the ISP. I don't WANT people or information reaching out and touching me!

    Yet the tablet IS important simply because its use is part of making one's connections to work, to people, to places, and to goods/services place-independent and portable (I'm cool with place independent, lol). If Win 8 Surface_Pro works as intended rather than as the review says windows RT Surface_plain, it will address a real market. People do different things portably than sitting at home or at a fixed workplace; I can't imagine using Access on a city bus.

    The STORE: I think it was the combo of seeing people actually like or at least tolerate the thing that was the key. Maybe it's just easy, maybe it's more secure, maybe the choices being sorted by authority pleases some people, maybe the lack of channel partners makes it more efficient but probably all of those to some extent. The reason it makes money is people WANT the contraptions and enough of the APS in the store, to buy the contraptions in huge numbers. The first mover tends to win when a new niche is found and especially if the same outfit gets to ride the wave, should the niche develop into a major market all by itself.

    Eventually all dominators have competition. Sooner or later some combination of wanting to preserve all that wealth, please late-coming stakeholders, and the end of the ‘cosmic inflation’ phase, leads to conservatism and bureaucracy. Others will offer things that seem to be the same, are somewhat interchangeable with the originals, but do more for less faster and flashier. Then someone will throw in something new, as in a human need not previously addressed by the old stuff, possible by never-before-seen concepts and technologies. Then the next new niche and the next new tsunami will start somewhere else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Store isn't for income

      > I can't imagine using Access on a city bus.

      I can't imagine using Access anywhere outside of a locked ward in a mental hospital.

  23. Number6

    Alternative Software

    Of course, they can't even easily dump surplus stock cheaply because if it's got a secure bootloader that prevents people putting Linux on the device, it won't be popular with the penguin crowd.

  24. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have never understood why Microsoft insisted on using the Windows branding for anything other than their PC and server OS and thats just for legacy reasons, A lot of home users experience of windows is its often prone to crashing, getting virus and trojans and taking 15 minutes to boot to the desktop because every program you install insists on running on startup, struggling to get device drivers and other such problems. Don't really see how Microsoft expected to sell phone and tablets with the Windows name when it has that reputation especially after Apple have the reputation of 'it just works' on its tablets and phones.

    Microsoft needs to drop the Windows name from RT and Windows phone and maybe capitalize on its positive brands such as Xbox, but the main problem with Windows RT is the price of the surface. It needs to be prices to compete with low cost Android tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle fire or it will fail as its not strong enough to compete with Apple and Samsung at the high end

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Microsoft needs to drop the Windows name from RT and Windows phone and maybe capitalize on its positive brands such as Xbox

      ... which, for the first couple of years of its existence, was deliberately marketed without the Microsoft name.

  25. JaitcH
    Happy

    The one thing I like about the RT ...

    are the many coloured cases.

    Even YEO, ex-Minister, he of Pink Laptop fame (on expenses), would be satiated.

  26. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Maybe

    Just maybe, MS should have set up a shell company and marketed this without any reference to Windows at all.

  27. Tezfair
    FAIL

    one version too late

    If surface was able to run Windows 7 and thus all 'normal' software it would have been a success.

    I have an andriod tablet I use for playing quick games in the evenings, the wife has an Ipad 1 for playing scrabble. Neither of us want to sit at a desktop and use a big computer / laptop.

    Where the surface would have worked is as a direct laptop replacement with maybe some form of docking station for supporting a larger screen. This way it would have been the PC during the day and play at night and all the software like accessing network files, outlook etc., means that the end user could switch in and out of work as needed.

    I use a laptop so that my work follows me (IT Support) when needed. A surface could have been an ideal business tool.

    1. El Andy

      Re: one version too late

      @Tezfair: The device you're looking for (and indeed most people) is the Surface Pro. Quite why Microsoft didn't have that ready alongside the RT version at launch is beyond me. Windows on ARM has always been about keeping a foot in the door should Intel bugger up and lose traction to ARM, it's never really been a product anyone might actually need otherwise.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: one version too late

        > Quite why Microsoft didn't have that ready alongside the RT version at launch is beyond me.

        Because Intel were ready with sufficiently low-power CPUs that are needed to meet the battery life and heat requirements. These are just now coming on stream.

        Take an Intel 'fry an egg' CPU, a LiPo 'exploding' battery and a magnesium 'incendiary' case*, what could _possibly_ go wrong.

        > Windows on ARM has always been about keeping a foot in the door should Intel bugger up

        Conspiracies would have it that WoA was entirely about preventing the OEMs building non-Windows ARM tablets and servers. It already worked for HP WebOS. Without an ARM version of Windows the loyalty discounts were safe. Dell was developing Android tablets, now they are stuck between losing millions of discounts or making a failure with RT.

        Servers are actually a bigger prize. ARM servers can save huge amounts in saving electricity. Microsoft needs to kill that quickly, but it already may be too late.

        * apparently it is only the coating that is magnesium 'VaporMg' now, the case itself is no longer a magnesium alloy.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: one version too late

          Not true - the whole cover is magnesium - about 0.7mm thick and very very strong.

          And btw - the ignition temperature of solid magensium is about 473 degrees C - it's not likely to get that hot unless you visit Venus....

  28. Matt_payne666
    Facepalm

    Too many windows 8 os's...

    I think Microsoft should have just had 2 OS's, Full win8 for laptops, desktops, and high end tablets/convertibles.... Win8 Phone for phones...

    And for ARM devices, they should really be running Windows phone 8 OR RT, merge or kill off one of the two... phone and tablet hardware crosses over nicely - just add another resolution or two and a happy phone/tablet software ecosystem could grow... instead there are 2 small niche software platforms in the ARM hardware stable... similar, but different... with a terrible software selection.

    as for surface pro? well, im typing this on an Acer W510 Full win8 convertible, running on an atom, I wont be doing any CAD or any video editing, but for office, internet and remote desktopping, its a very useable platform, after remembering odd swipes, metro makes sense, the win8 desktop and standard windows applications respond nicely to prods and having used the machine all day having the battery remaining at 70% is remarkable!

  29. jnffarrell1
    Happy

    Windows 8 does not address Microsoft's basic problem. Word functions can be duplicated, Excel functions can be duplicated and relearned only with great pain by the user and the same goes for the wizz bang features of PowerPoint. Rather than address the inhumane features of human/Office interfaces MS has used them as shackles. Now when those experts with 10,000 hours invested in becoming wizards are offered an opening toward freedom they refuse.

    However, mobile open APIs for office like Apps exist and are easy to use by non-wizards. Non-wizards do most of the work so even CIOs with wizard credentials will have to trade off the cost differences for training Wintel wizards vs stuff that just does what the novices want it to do. Too bad MS didn't think through 'it just works for new hires'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Windows 8 does not address Microsoft's basic problem.

      Course it doesn't. Microsoft's basic problem is nothing to do with technology.

    2. El Andy
      FAIL

      " Too bad MS didn't think through 'it just works for new hires'."

      Er, if that were even remotely true they'd never have changed the Office interface to use the Ribbon, which was precisely designed around what was easiest to learn for a completely new user.

  30. mistergrantham

    this bee has stung itself

    silly bee...

  31. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Windows Surface RT has damaged two brands

      I'm not sure Surface has made enough of an impact to actually count as a brand, but you're right about the first one. When Windows 9 finally oozes out in a year or two, ordinary people will hesitate before buying because "they know" that just because it says Windows on the tin doesn't mean it will run their existing apps.

  32. Jess

    I reckon RISC OS has a much brighter future than RT

    A quarter the cost, and not tied down.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't run full Windows apps? so what, that doesn't seem to have affected iOS and Android tablet sales.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      IOS and Android

      Are NOT called Windows

  34. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    One more reason for failure

    Amazing, unearthly, eye-piercing ugliness.

    PDP-11 programs shown on VT100 monochrome terminals in text mode were more esthetically pleasing than the schizophrenic flat coloured rectangles of Win8, RT etc.

  35. Noodlesoup
    Thumb Up

    Microsoft has winner - albeit a hidden one!

    Windows RT will be a success for Microsoft, but not in the way people imagine.

    The problem is that everyone is considering Windows RT from the perspective of Business or Personal use, as though that were all there is!

    People, there is world outside of the office!

    Think Retail and Industrial, Transport and Energy, Medical and Pharmaceutical, even Defence and Military! There are literally tens (if not hundreds) of millions of potential users who are screaming out for tablets, and for whom, what is in the market now, simply does not tick the boxes!

    Android is fractured mess with hardware cycles measured in months, while the iPad is a “one size only” solution that is simply way too fragile for Industrial use!

    There are already industrial and military-grade Windows RT Tablets that can withstand drops of six feet to concrete (on the screen!), are viewable in direct sunlight and are completely immersible water! Try that with an iPad!

    That said, I’m sure the Surface will bomb.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: Microsoft has winner - albeit a hidden one!

      > Think Retail and Industrial,

      Windows RT simply does not address any of the problems that commerce or industry may have with iPad or Android. Windows-on-ARM offers no advantages when compared to iPad or Android.

      It is not the tablet they were looking for. That's the whole f*cking point of everyone's complaints.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Microsoft has winner - albeit a hidden one!

        "Windows-on-ARM offers no advantages when compared to iPad or Android."

        Actually it offers lots of advantages. Primarily full support for Microsoft Office, Windows drivers and a proper multitasking OS (for instance run one app on the tablet and a second on an external screen.)

  36. Dreams
    Mushroom

    Yeah, I'll just stick with my Blackberry Playbook. It runs Blackberry and Android apps, costs 180 Euros for a 32GB wifi version, and gets the new OS 10 for free at the end of January.

  37. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Would appear to be designed to convince users an ARM cannot run a "real" OS

    That's why you need the "Pro" version.

    This feels like another part of the ongoing MS/Intel relationship. The Micky & Mallory Knox of the IT world.

    However should someone succeed in a reasonable jailbreak of the Surface you have a quite nice piece of hardware to act as a Linux host.

    And quite a few should be on eBay by then as their current OS design is rubbish.

    What I simply don't get is why MS insist on making it macro incompatible with their desktop version.

    It's nowhere near the bare metal and most of it does not even address the screen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: designed to convince users an ARM cannot run a "real" OS

      "why MS insist on making it macro incompatible with their desktop version"

      You are right, there is no sensible reason to do make it incompatible (not from the end user or IT department's point of view, anyway).

      You are right, there may be commercial reasons to make it incompatible, reasons visible only inside HQ (as there were when the Wintel alliance ensured the non-Wintel netbook could not succeed), reasons which if they were visible outside might be considered abuse of significant market power. (Have MS paid their EU fines yet, or is the appeal still in process?)

      Were you aware of the rumours that the macro code in Office contains x86-specific details which have either been impossible to port or have been lost forever somewhere in the Redmond source control systems? Does it sound plausible to anybody?

      1. El Andy

        Re: designed to convince users an ARM cannot run a "real" OS

        "Were you aware of the rumours that the macro code in Office contains x86-specific details which have either been impossible to port or have been lost forever somewhere in the Redmond source control systems? Does it sound plausible to anybody?"

        The Office VBA engine is based on VB6, which compiles to x86 before running the code. It's the same reason the MacBU in Microsoft tried and eventually gave up trying to port VBA over to the Mac version of Office years ago. And from a security design standpoint, it's awful. That's why they're moving Office plugins over to a HTML/JS model instead, which is built on open standards and much safer.

        But hey, lets all moan and beg for the return of old-school Office macros and there persistent ability to be used by virus writers the world over....

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: designed to convince users an ARM cannot run a "real" OS

          "The Office VBA engine is based on VB6, which compiles to x86 "

          So either the toolchain cannot support other processors or no one knows how to do so. Either show a real contempt for any users not running on Windows.

          As for macros they are the reason Excel was once described as the most common programming language in the world. Because it allowed accountants to program without realising they were.

          Wheather they should be used to construct complex financial models of various things is debatable they have certainly been in the past.

  38. fzz

    MSFT's biggest bomb?

    Bigger than Bob? Hard to imagine.

    Windows RT may have a future, but it'd be without a desktop at all, only be available on the Surface, so only as a MSFT-branded hardware product, and cost less. It's not going to go the more business-friendly route because that'd cannibalize MSFT's Windows 8 license sales. Besides, and I ask this in all ignorance, if the only thing a Surface RT could run were Windows Store Style apps (Wuss apps?), how much group policy would be needed?

    Anyway, it seems the future as only 2 paths: only MSFT still making Windows RT tablets, or no one making them. Corporate face saving leads me to figure the former wins out.

  39. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    Hear, hear

    How is WIndows RT different from the iPad? It has no keyboard, no USB or Ethernet connector. Just a tiny screen smeared by greasy fingers. Your old Mac or Win software won't run on it, just apps bought from Jesus's App Store, which only seems to offer something called 'angry birds'. You can buy a decent laptop for the same price.

    You convinced me: nobody in their right mind will buy the silly iPad (or the MS Tablet).

    1. El Andy

      Re: Hear, hear

      @Daniel von Asmuth: Assuming you mean Surface RT and not Windows RT (which is just software) it has both a keyboard and USB as well as wireless Ethernet (does anybody really still use wired Ethernet on their home laptop?)

  40. Atonnis
    Happy

    Excellent Piece

    I have to say that out of all the opinion pieces I've ever read on The Register, this has to be the most clear, concise, well argued and downright spot-on.

    Personally, I don't think Windows 8 will bomb - it's actually surprisingly good to use once you've gotten used to it - the same thing happened with all of the other Windows versions. After all, the changes to the Control Panel that came along with Vista->7 were really f-ing annoying. I STILL REALLY *HATE* that it keeps reverting back to Category View...

    Windows RT will collapse into the realms of nothingness, but the opinions around the City (London) are steadily drifting away from Apple, as it's lost it's lustre, and people are now starting to ask about new laptops and PCs, and I've told them all to hold on until the new array of proper WIndows 8 tablet/laptops come out. I have a Lenovo Yoga 13 (core i7 - I was shocked!) and it's a wonderful device to use and to carry around. Granted, I removed the build of Windows that came with it and installed Enterprise instead, for various technical reasons, but just generally it's been a delight to use - not the least of which is because I can work on it from home, using Mouse Without Borders, and DirectAccess, then take it into work and carry on after plugging in my monitor, mouse and keyboard - since I like a big desktop setup.

    I also love watching TV series and movies on the train to and from London every day - makes the time rocket by. Lots of envious glances, but really I'm just happy to see my carefully ripped and lossless VOBs (all neatly named by TheRenamer) playing perfectly smoothly.

    Then in work, the Yoga turns into my Management Console for the network, where System Center is keeping track of everything for me.

    Anyway, sorry, I digress - and I started to sound like an MS shill - which I'm truly not - I'm just extremely pleased with the device I bought (and all the work I put into getting a really good network put together within a two month timeframe from planning to production), and it was well worth putting the extra money into the Yoga 13 rather than just falling into the Apple ecosystem when I have just so much Windows software...and Apple's software would've been a nightmare to integrate into my network needs. (Android would have been as much of a pain as well).

    It even plays MWO pretty well, as well as GW2 and a good few others...

    p.s. I must emphasise that I actually think that Android and Apple devices have their place as well, but as the Head of IT for a global organisation, I've been truly impressed with how MS have managed to put together all of their server suites and get them interoperating properly with each other (thank you, Powershell). This is the one area where MS still wins - their servers are just so damn good, and rather than needing a few days to figure out or find the specialist knowledge on how to get something working, there's tons of assistance from across the web, from resellers, service providers, and even an IT temp you can hire for a week, just to suck out his brain, muwahahah. I built in three weeks what would've taken me months on any other platform, and I didn't need to pay any reseller/IT service company to do it.

    And Azure is surprisingly cheap, I used their calculator for server provisioning and it came up at under half the price I was going to get charged by other resellers or providers of hosting services. Crikey - I'm sounding like a real fanboi - I apologise, I'm just riding high at the moment from being flush with some very good successes in the last few weeks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent Piece

      > as the Head of IT for a global organisation

      Tell us which one, so we can avoid doing business with it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And that's not all!

    Microsoft are going to get it wrong with Hyper-v too. Their different divisions cannot work well together to glue the apps to the hypervisor, lots and lots of hype from MS FUD market boys.

    vSphere 6 will raise the bar again, and potentially be embedded into next Intel and ARM servings. MS still play with antiquated beliefs like AV agents in physical and virtual machines (performance =zzzzz) whilst all security vendors will plug-in their wares into technologies such as vShield.

    So far behind, and getting kicked by Apple, Google, VMware, and new start ups leveraging Android.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: And that's not all!

      Erm, but Microsoft already got it right with Hyper-v - you obviously are a bit behind the times and havnt read any Windows Server 2012 reviews?...Vendors are already writing plugins for it too.

      vSphere might play catchup with V6 , but Hyper-V is totally free. nada, zero, no charge for it at all, including all the features like replication and software defined networking that VMWare charge a fortune for.

      VMWare are slowly dying. The only question is will it be Hyper-V or Open Stack that damages them the most. And my money is with Hyper-V.

  42. StooMonster
    Megaphone

    It's all about the long term strategy

    Microsoft only make money with Windows and Office, everything else they do bleeds cash, and they know this isn't going to last forever. So what can they do? Copy Apple! Take a fee for every app / program sold on their OS, that's how.

    So, they have developed Metro as the successor OS to Windows desktop, where commercial apps are only available from the Microsoft Store (Enterprise apps can be distributed directly, as per iOS) and a large proportion of the revenue goes to Microsoft.

    Windows 8 is the first step in this direction with the addition of Metro to desktop, but as Windows Blue arrives and we get annual updates to the desktop OS with relentless promotion of Metro apps we will see depreciation of desktop by stealth (like we did the transition from DOS to Windows in the past). They've given up on backwards compatibility, as few care (those that do can run VMs) and it doesn't help the cash flow.

    Windows RT was obviously perceived as a driver of Metro apps, but really it's the timing that is wrong. It may be DOA but it will be like a zombie and come back from the dead because eventually Metro will be the mainstream Windows OS and desktop will be as relevant as DOS is today.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: It's all about the long term strategy

      voted up for being loathsomely accurate, not for being liked.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: It's all about the long term strategy

      Microsoft also make a profit on:

      Servers and Tools (Server, SQL, Visual Studio, etc)

      Entertainment and devices (Xbox, LIVE, Windows Phone)

      Business (Exchange, Sharepoint, etc)

  43. jnffarrell1
    Happy

    Consider this use case: your enterprise has given you Blackberries, iPads, etc. because they want you on call 24/7 but don't want you to become less productive. You use your iPad for personal tasks and don't want work intruding on your personal business. Now your business gives you a mobile device from Microsoft that is designed to cut you off from Apps you enjoy. When you leave the building you chose to put down your MS device because it is not open to your personal life. How does that help. If MS enforces incompatible APIs rather than using open APIs for MS Office does that increase your productivity.

    It is too late to force the fair haired boys in middle management back to Microsoft. Enterprise fair haired boys carry iThings that enterprises gave them.

  44. Glostermeteor

    Now that convertible laptops are being released it is very difficult to see how the current price of surface slabs has any chance of holding. Why would you spend hundreds of $$$ more on a device that has a lot less memory (64GB max vs 500GB for a laptop), has an inferior OS, and a lot less connectivity options? I think the whole concept of tablets and laptops are going to merge very quickly, and the high price points just will not sell

  45. Gil Grissum
    FAIL

    Solutions

    Microsoft went into this in a rather unfocused manner. There are ways out of it, however.

    1. Price- Lower the price. Not many people are going to buy a hobbled Surface Tablet to get a hobbled OS and hobbled office suite when they can get an iPad mini for less and be able to do more than with a Surface Tablet. Add the keyboard into that lower price too. But before lowering the price, it needs to be un-hobbled.

    2. Un-hobble the device. un-hobble Windows RT and Office RT so that users can get the complete user experience. Add Outlook to it. Allow it to join Domains. Eliminate all of the ridiculous restrictions that hobble the device and make it an expensive hobbled option in comparison to the iPad and in particular, the iPad Mini. Microsoft can't compete with Apple by giving customers a more expensive, less useful tablet option. Customers need a reason to opt for the Surface over the iPad and iPad mini.

    3. Give consumers solid reasons to get a Surface RT Tablet- Obviously, no one at Microsoft has asked themselves the question- "Why should I buy the Surface instead of an iPad or iPad mini"? You can get a Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad, so that nullifies the keyboard add-on as an advantage. While the iPad doesn't come with MS Office, there are alternatives that are usable enough to make a hobbled version of Office on the Surface, no advantage for Microsoft. The app Ecosystem for the iPad is it's biggest advantage and Microsoft's app catalog isn't providing anyone a good enough reason to switch to the Surface. Big the big advantage that Microsoft is missing out on is the BUSINESS USE scenarios.

    4. Add business use scenarios- Make MS Office 100% usable and Microsoft creates the big advantage it could have over iOS and Android. Right now, iOS and Android have MS Office use advantages over the Surface and that simply should not be. The Surface RT Tablet should be able to join a Domain, make use of the file system to copy, paste, and transfer files and documents, and MS Office on the Surface should be fully and completely usable, so that business users have a reason to opt for a Surface Tablet over iPad and iPad mini. A docking system that ties the SURFACE RT to a desk with monitor and keyboard would be good for office use, and the keyboard attachment works well enough for offsite use. Microsoft used it business use advantages to keep Apple at bay in the office. They could do the same with the Surface RT, if it's un-crippled and allowed to be fully usable.

    Maybe these are all the things that Sinofsky pushed for but could not get, and thus, he parted ways with Microsoft. It makes absolutely no sense for Microsoft to overprice an ARM based Tablet, hobble it intentionally to make it unusable for business or personal use (FLASH NOT WORKING? BIG FAIL), and then expect anyone to want to overpay for something less usable than an iPad. Worse, with the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and iPad Mini, there are so many less expensive tablet options available that are far more usable than Surface, Microsoft hasn't really given anyone reasons to buy them. Their daft ad campaign hasn't helped at all. The ad campaigns scream (UNUSABLE). I can do more with my iPad 2 than I could with a Surface and the iPad 2 came out in 2010. That's just embarrassing for Microsoft.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Solutions

      > Price- Lower the price.

      I presume that you are asking for MS to subsidize these. That would guarantee that no OEM would ever build a Windows tablet. Not only would they have to make a loss to match MS low price but they would have to send $70-90 to MS for the privilege and then see MS make money on the apps.

      Apple have a streamlined supply chain and large production which keeps costs down. Surface is still counting startup costs and has not got economies of scale.

      > Add Outlook to it. Allow it to join Domains.

      MS want to sell the more expensive Surface Pro to business. RT is consumer only.

      > no one at Microsoft has asked themselves the question- "Why should I buy the Surface ..

      I am sure they did, but the answer they came up with is "Because it is Microsoft, because it is Windows, because they all love Bill Gates like we do."

      > MS Office on the Surface should be fully and completely usable, so that business users ...

      MS Office RT is the 'student and home edition'. It is not licensed for business or commercial use. It requires an additional licence fee if RT is to be used for any purpose that relates to making money.

      As far as I can tell Surface Pro will also require _additional_ cost for Office if used in a business.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: AFAIK Office isn't bundled with Surface Pro

        "As far as I can tell Surface Pro will also require _additional_ cost for Office if used in a business."

        AFAIK Pro won't have Office bundled at all, judging from MS statements so far. So it's a non-issue in the sense that you'll need to get a licensed copy separately anyway.

        If MS get spooked enough maybe they'll decide to bundle Office after all but I'll be extremely surprised. A trial license for 365 seems the most acceptable (to the MS beancounters) option.

      2. Vic

        Re: Solutions

        > I presume that you are asking for MS to subsidize these.

        Microsoft can't subsidise the unit for the reasons you state.

        But if they don't get the cost down, the device is DOA.

        I don't know how they'll manage it. But maybe they have someone who does. And maybe they'll fire the bloke[1] who thought the current price point was reasonable

        Vic.

        [1] that's got to be Ballmer, hasn't it?

  46. Stephen Channell
    Facepalm

    price is the only issue

    It is hard to imagine how Microsoft positioning could be more dumb about Surface, but the only problem with it is price, if you want to buy market share they need to fight android on price, iPad on quality, then win on functionality.

    Win RT is not DOA because Microsoft will [1]bring surface pro in at RT price point [2] reduce RT Surface price [3] win RT is the ultimate VDI platform.. Expect to see RemoteFX terminals, embedded TV controls & Xbox 720.

    MS are running out of time to regain hegemony, & need to start playing to win like 1980 Bill Gates

  47. David Strum
    Childcatcher

    Tanker is hasn’t run aground yet

    The Big Elephant that no one wants to kick in the behind is that Ballmer fellow…

    I’m just glad I missed the hype and used logic to resist the urge to go buy what seemed an essential new toy. I’ve got it installed on my PC, and it really REALLY looks out of place nestled next to XP and Win 7; like Vista is the missing link in my Multi-boot progression of OS’; but Win-8 just looks like a mutant.

    I had a bad feeling about it right from the start; and sad to say, my instincts were right. But MS will now try to right the wrongs, that Corporate bullheadedness has inflicted on itself; I fear it’s too late. The Microsoft Tanker is hasn’t run aground yet, but its helplessly going round and round in circles in the high seas of Corporate competition.

  48. Tim 11

    The emperor's new clothes

    One thing I'd like to come out of this fiasco (but I doubt it will) is a bit more scepticism from the public about marketing BS. Analysts, newspapers and celebrities are all bought off by MS to say how wonderful everything is when they know themselves it's s**t.

  49. Mark Allread
    Meh

    Another day, another win 8 hater story on the reg

    In the UK at least, no-one bought the Surface because they were mail-order only and therefore no-one saw one. Bizarrely, the only place to buy a Surface on the high street is in CEX. Along with every other kind of tablet.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Another day, another win 8 hater story on the reg

      Lots of people I know have one, and plenty sell on ebay (new).

      Of course I want the pro version, but RT is still pretty cool when you compare it to the limitations of the iPad or Android.

    2. stim

      Re: Another day, another win 8 hater story on the reg

      i bought a 64gb from the MS site when they first came out - that's what people do nowadays, yunno, buy stuff online?!!

  50. clean_state
    Unhappy

    Samsung out = bad news

    If even Samsung is bailing out of WinRT, there seems to be a really big problem. Usually Samsung plays the early adopter role quite benevolently. They do not mind experimenting with a couple of devices and they do not care about OS consistency much either.

  51. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    The problem for Mircosoft is...

    That they want the best of both worlds.

    Apple iPad succeeds because Apple use iOS to best show off it's hardware. It's long been acknowledged that much of what Apple does in the software environment, be it an O/S or an application such as iTunes, it is there to push the hardware. They are are a hardware company for whom the software component is an enabler.

    The success of Android is that Google doesn't mind if somebody skins it an makes it more of their own. They ceded control of the look by allowing Blur, Touchwiz and Sense and then learning from those to improve the core UI. The Android specs aren't also locked down like Microsoft have done, give vendors flexibility and the market will decide who has produced the best device. Once the market has decide what the spec should be (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Nook HD etc) then the manufacturers are happy because it was up to them to find their own way.

    Microsoft are a software company so unlike Apple their software has to be awesome on the hardware. Instead of taking the Google approach, they thought they could be like Apple and pissed off everybody in the process, vendors, buyers, developers - the whole gamut.

    Either you own the process from start to finish (Apple) or you let the market shake out how things will be (Google) you can't do both.

  52. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    Oh and...

    Microsoft licence fees are horrible. Everything they do contains a hidden 'fee' to do something. If I could be rid of Microsoft in the workplace it wouldn't be because of the quality of their software but to be rid of their evil, gouging licence structure. Brining this to the tablet world is an EPIC fail.

  53. Mark Allread

    Gil Grissum: "Not many people are going to buy a hobbled Surface Tablet to get a hobbled OS and hobbled office suite when they can get an iPad mini for less and be able to do more than with a Surface Tablet"

    Sorry mate, but that's just f*cking hilarous. How do people come up with these stupid opinions.. really?

  54. Mark Allread

    Loving all these bedroom market analysts

    Telling us just what Microsoft are doing wrong, what they should have done. All contradicting each other, most displaying a misunderstanding of the products. Sheesh...

  55. al 3
    Go

    Meanwhile... in the REAL world....

    Maybe ARM /RT is/will be dead.....

    I am currently testing a Dell Latitude 10 tablet which Dell kindly sent me to trial.

    I have over 5000 PCs over 160 sites so are operating in the real world, ok, business world :-)

    I have no irrational preferences, whatever does the job at the right cost, that includes full lifecycle support..

    I have to confess to being a bit confused with M$ over versions and version names . the Dell website says this Dual Core Atom is RT, but it's not it's WIndows 8 Pro.

    I've just installed full office 2003 and bumped it onto the domain.

    It comes with a nifty little dock with hdmi, usb, ethernet, hdmi so fits my needs as a portable but often I need a mouse requirements, Spreadsheets just don't cut it driven by sausage fingers

    After reading the masses of anti 8 rhetoric I have been pleasantly surprised, I have 140 iPads deployed corporately and in schools and they do not offer the same simplicity of connection to the network and resources.

    There's little in the iStore which is any good to me, logging my zumba scores, wieght, amusing fart apps , twitter linky things don't help me do my job so the population of any of the stores does not interest me.

    My data is all on a large private cloud so I don't need drop(out)box, giggledrive or anywhere to lose/let anyone look at my data.

    I've tried to live with an iPad3 for a while to see if it delivered my needs, it's pretty bar one critical function (to me),

    the windows 8 handwriting recognition and ability to write with something more akin to a pen beats the hell out of the horrible rubbery floppy stylus effort on the iPad, it is just far .

    The dell is about 3500 , that seems ok given that it integrates so well, the flip round keyboard ultrabook at £998 is entirely another story !!!!!

    tuppence ha'penny worth over :-)

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile... in the REAL world....

      I lookeded at the dell. Price put me off as we can get a small notebook for the same price. I do think a win8 pro tablet would work for us in a school environment. We trialled ipads but they failed due to lack of document transfer options - people just wanted simple shared drives and my docs esq approaches. The apps wore thin after a month and the ipads were discarded for laptops again.

      A dockable tablet solution with keyboards attached would be the best of both worlds for us. The replaceable battery sold it for me on the dell. Perhaps I'll get a dozen to trial. They arent cheap though.

  56. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Is this new?

    It has been possible for years to buy cheap netbooks (sub £100, typically) running Windows CE.

  57. Lucasx2

    The Surface is an excellent tablet

    I've been using a Surface since November, and it is defently the best tablet I have ever used (and no I don't work for MS, but unlike the people saying how bad it is, I have actually used one)

    1. MIc

      Re: The Surface is an excellent tablet

      Same here. The search and share charm make it sooo much easier to do common tasks. I can't for the life of me understand why MS marketing doesn't focus on how the common stuff is easier. The shit you do all day every day takes less effort.

  58. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    I know I'm going to sound like a broken record - but IT IS BALLMER & his entourage...

    ...seriously, I cannot repeat enough times; BALLMER MUST GO, along with his ilks, golden boys and his army of INCOMPETENT BUREAUCRATS before they terminally damage/kill MSTF, period.

    The place is full of capable engineers who are RUN BY UTTERLY INCOMPETENT IDIOTS AS MANAGERS eg Ballmer or his disastrously useless marketing people, worthless product managers etc etc.

    Without further ado I must refer everybody again to the now-famous, mandatory Vanity Fair article from last August about Microsoft's lost decade and Ballmer's utter and complete leadership failure spanning over 10+ years, see link below - a truly horrific story about building a perverse, killer company culture on tricks like pitting people deliberately against each other thus triggering paybacks and backstabbing even within teams, instead of fostering collaboration, a culture where committee design is STILL the way to do things, where corporate shitkickers were butchering creativity every day (*ANY* game dev firm bought by MS Game Studios died in a year or two - only Bungie managed to break away, right before they gave up, by cutting off MSFT and quickly moving out physically from the Redmond snake pit, for more on this Google "microsoft destroyed development culture"...)

    How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America's Most Spectacular Decline

    http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer#1

    Once you've read this article you'll understand why it's impossible to fix MSFT while Balllmer and his ilks are running it - they MUST GO, ASAP.

  59. swschrad

    you fail to see the (flawed) logic

    there is a Surface RT because there is a mobile windows 8. they are meant to be complimentary without being welded to each other, as the RIM tablet was welded to the crackberry.

    Surface RT is System Lite, and the winphones are System Lite-lite. pros need not apply. Chair Boy has more expensive stuff for you. only you can't use it because the live tiles stuff keeps hiding your work.

    I don't really buy the logic, because it's a screwy tool to me, but there y' go.

  60. FreeTard

    this.LinuxUser

    ...purchased a dell RT at Xmas and loves it. It's a great little system for use as a fondleslab for home use.

    Yes it is annoying with it's windows homegroup crap, but that aside the battery life is great, the camera is great for skype calls etc, and lastly the video is great for watching flics in bed.

    As for the target market? People like me who are bored of droids?

    Thanks for the downvotes :)

  61. rogerpjr
    Black Helicopters

    MS 7/8xx

    Why on earth buy into the MS hype, When as it has been said,

    Android has taken a commanding lead on the OS wars.

    The upshot is, MS arrogance can now be side-stepped.

    Better value for money. Up-to-date HW. Up-to-date OS.

    Compelling logic for my company and personal use.

  62. scoob101
    WTF?

    Lies and FUD about WindowsRT.

    "The bottom line is that Windows RT isn't Windows – and we mean that quite literally: Windows RT is Windows in name only."

    RT is a direct port of Windows 8 to ARM. What part of that simple sentence don`t you understand?

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad news for MS.

    I know of no-one who wants the core i5 version either.

    Metro is just a bucket of shit.

    Microsoft were told, and their response was disdain of the devs. In fact disdain isn't strong enough a word. Contempt is more like it.

    So, don't know what to say. I said I wouldn't buy it with Metro, they put Metro on it, so I'm not buying it. Wish them luck but I'm not contributing to the false success of a programme manager who should've been sacked for the Ribbon, just because she's a computing minority.

  64. anarmandawindows
    IT Angle

    From The Guardian: RT's Seven Sins

    Don't know if people saw this, but the folks over at the Guardian's Technology Blog decided to highlight this article at the top of their "Boot Up" post (a review of the week's top stories and articles).

    Personally, I thought McAllister is off on a few of these, but I'll focus on the one the Guardian chose to highlight: the fact that a Windows RT device seems suspiciously like a netbook.

    Here's my objection:

    1) Touch screen. Need I say more?

    2) Full keyboard (at least on the Surface. I haven't tried out the VivoTab's keyboard). My wife has a netbook that we keep in the kitchen to look up recipes and whatnot, and it's a good deal more cramped to work with than my Surface.

    3) Modern UI. I know the jumping back and forth between desktop and Start Screen has been getting panned, but the simple fact is I really do get two devices in one. On the one hand I can just use it as a tablet (though of course I wish there were more apps). On the other, when I truly do have work to get done, I can switch over to the desktop.

    4) Jailbreaking/TeamViewer (and other remote desktop apps). I just started using teamviewer so I can't comment too much on its performance yet. But in theory I'm able to run Chrome through it, removing one of the biggest drawbacks (at least for me) to having an RT device.

  65. stim

    LoveMySurface<3 :)

    i love my surface, dunno what all this fuss is about - it's awesome and everyone i show it to likes it as well :)

    the battery lasts and lasts and lasts, amazing piece of kit... does everything i want.

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