Microsoft Must Dump Windows RT, Expert Says

Dennis Faas's picture

Research firm IDC -- which recently made headlines by predicting that Android tablets will brush aside Apple iPads in 2013 -- has indicated that Microsoft's two-pronged approach to Windows 8 has failed. The company says it's time for Microsoft to dump Windows RT.

In a recent interview, IDC research director Tom Mainelli (whose specialization is the tablet market) said that Microsoft has only confused consumers by releasing two versions of Windows 8 for tablet computers.

Different Tablets, Different Windows

Windows RT was released on Microsoft's standard Surface tablet computer. The new operating system, which can also be found on non-Microsoft tablets, is specially built for mobile devices.

As a result, it doesn't boast the same range of features seen on a standard version of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is installed on Microsoft's recently-released Surface Pro tablet computer.

According to Mainelli, this may have affected sales of the Surface and other devices running Windows 8 or Windows RT.

"Two OSes for tablets has resulted in confusion on the consumer side," Mainelli said. "Microsoft has had a difficult time spelling out why consumers would choose Windows RT over iOS or Android." (Source:

Android Benefits from Confusion

Mainelli points to IDC's predictions for Windows RT tablet growth as evidence that the two-pronged approach isn't working for Microsoft. According to IDC estimates, Windows RT tablets will account for less than two per cent of all tablets by the end of 2013.

That represents just 3.6 million devices out of a total of over 190 million units.

The problem with Windows RT, Mainelli says, is that it's a pretender. "RT may look like Windows, but in fact it's not," he said.

In comparison, standard Windows 8 offer familiar functionality. "People may not love Windows 8, but it's compatible with the software they've always run," Mainelli said.

IDC has indicated that Microsoft's confusion will benefit Android-based devices, which the research firm predicts will account for almost half of the tablet market by the end of this year. (Source:

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