Microsoft is planning to abandon Windows RT, the cut-down version of its operating system that was used for the flopped Surface RT tablet (below), according to interpretations of a remark by a senior executive.
Speaking at a seminar, Microsoft's executive VP of devices and studios, Julie Larson-Green, said: ‘We have the Windows Phone OS, we have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going tohave three.’
Windows RT, designed to run on ARM chips, has not proved popular with Microsoft's hardware partners. In fact, none of them have licensed it. RT is used only by Microsoft and its subsidiary-to-be, Nokia. The company insists, though, that it’s fully committed to supporting ARM.
Microsoft had to write down $900m at the end of the Junequarter to account for unsold Surface RT tablets. Why the RT operating system variant in the first place? Larson-Green explained the thinking behind it. ‘The goal was to deliver two kinds of experiences into the market: the full power of your Windows PC [on the Surface Pro] and the simplicity of a tablet experience that can also be productive... I think we didn't explain that super-well.’
Perhaps -or may be users don’t see a necessary difference between a ‘full power’ tablet and a ‘simple’ one, as any iPad user could have told Microsoft. While Apple’s OS X and iOS provide a dual operating system model for Larson-Green and her colleagues to follow, it remains to be seen exactly where Redmond might draw the line between Windows offerings.