Why I believe Windows RT isn’t going anywhere


Earlier today we reported on the DigiTimes rumor that suggested Windows RT would be killed off when Windows Blue launches, at least in name.

Here’s the full rumor in DigiTimes words:

Microsoft will no longer launch products under its Windows RT line and will instead merge the product line into the software giant’s next-generation Windows, codenamed Blue, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

These alleged sources say that disappointing sales for RT tablets is to blame. Consumers are turned off by the fact that RT tablets do not run older Windows apps, only Windows 8 apps, and there’s a lack of them.

I’m going to call B.S. on this one. Isn’t happening. Okay, I can’t say for 100%, but let’s just say my gut is telling me this doesn’t make sense. First, DigiTimes has a VERY mixed reputation when it comes to rumors.

Sometimes, they get it right, but many times they don’t. The bottom-line though is this doesn’t make sense.

Confidence in the Surface RT would be destroyed

Even if the Windows RT line-up, including the Surface RT, isn’t selling massive amounts of devices, they have a following. If Microsoft is killing Windows RT they are either introducing “Windows Blue” as its successor or they are ending Windows RT support.

We know that Microsoft has previously committed to keeping RT updates for the Surface RT for a few years to come, but it doesn’t say they can’t change the name. BUT WHY WOULD THEY?

Consumer confusion is said to be one of the reasons for the change. If Microsoft isn’t stopping support of ARM-based tablets, what is a name change going to do differently? If anything, it would add MORE confusion. Right now, most of us know Windows RT doesn’t run x86 apps. We know Windows 8 does.

If both Windows 8 and Windows RT had the same name (say Windows Blue) – how could we tell them apart? This would be disaster.

Windows RT and Windows will merge – but not yet

I have complete confidence that the day will come that such a merger will take place, just not yet. Until the desktop is gone, it would be confusing to use the same name for both ARM and x86 versions of Windows.

Sure, Microsoft could continue to support Windows RT on existing devices and just stopping make new ones – but I don’t think so. Microsoft realizes if they stop RT now, it will only further fuel the critics and their accusations that Windows 8 as a whole product (WinRT, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8) is a failure.

I do think that Windows RT could eventually phase out the desktop mode, but keeping the Windows RT name is probably a good idea, or at least Microsoft needs to come up with another unique new name that isn’t shared with Windows 8/Blue.

What do you think, could Windows RT disappear with Windows Blue? Share your thoughts below.

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • http://twitter.com/ChardJeffrey Jeffrey Chard

    I agree. RT will be about for the long term. What I cannot forecast at this time, is what will happen to the desktop? Desktop applications will become more metro (as is being seen with the settings apps in Windows blue) to make them touch friendly.

    • Oobgular

      I’m betting that the desktop will be around for quite a while, maybe to windows 10. However, they will keep making it less and less necessary, just like how DOS became outdated over time. New ways to multitask on metro are needed. You can have 100 windows of notepad open on the desktop, but only one in metro now. That has to change. People are continuing to make desktop programs, like CAD and coders, that really can’t be used with touch only. Until everything switches that much, they can’t drop it. I give it at LEAST 10 years.

  • James1114

    I don’t understand why Microsoft can’t refute at least some
    of the negative buzz about RT. I love my Surface RT. Admittedly the early
    firmware updates were very welcome and the core native apps could use still use
    a bit of spit and polish. There has yet to be an app I’ve looked for and couldn’t
    find. Outside of sheer volume, the ‘App Deficiency’ argument doesn’t ring true
    once you’ve been on the Store for a bit. Second, the 86x compatibility issue is
    always brought up, but the same criticism is never made of competing platforms.
    It’s sometimes even left in the air that RT doesn’t run ANY third party
    software—as if there are no applications that run on it. These two complaints
    comprise the first sentence of everything I’ve read on RT in the last three
    months.

    It’s a classic glass half empty scenario. The fear, uncertainty and doubt crowd (read CNET) have painted RT as a half assed laptop
    rather than a tablet with Windows Explorer, Office, Xbox, 12 hour battery life,
    secure boot and no moving parts allowing it to run cool enough to pack away while
    asleep while still connected to Wi-Fi. No one I have shown my device to (and I
    work in IT) knew ANY of that. They just thought it was an ‘also ran’. Now, the
    Surface Pro is being described as a tablet that is too bulky, has crappy
    battery life and doesn’t come with office. I’m glad MS seems to be getting out
    in front of that in defining the Pro as a laptop. Why didn’t they initially define
    RT as a tablet? Why do they allow their competition to define their products? What
    would have been wrong with ‘Windows Tablet’? Someone in Marketing has to have
    floated that. “Microsoft Surface running Windows Tablet”: I think that has a
    ring to it—like Windows Phone, or maybe ‘WinTab’, or something. RT, was too ambiguous,
    tech sounding, and opened the door to anti-Microsoft bloggers to define it.
    Also, dear Microsoft, for god sakes, port Outlook to ARM and license Office on
    RT to business users. Also, gimme an RT Zune client. Show some love.