Analysts to Microsoft: ‘Here’s what you need to do to fix Windows RT'

by David Needle

May 10 2013

Microsoft has bet big on Windows RT, the first version of Windows to run on non-Intel or x86 chips. But sales of the first round of RT tablets, including Microsoft's own Surface RT, have been tepid.

Earlier this week, Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green said the software giant had to do more to educate consumers on the benefits of Windows RT.

One of those benefits is the inclusion of Microsoft’s Office software, but a big negative is the inability to run Windows software in general (RT runs a custom version of Office designed for ARM-based devices). By contrast, Windows 8 runs the full range of Windows software.

IDC analyst Carolina Milanesi told Computerworld that Microsoft's strategy to portray Windows RT as good for both work and play is not working.

"They need to change their tactics to position RT as the OS for consumption devices, to make the hardware a companion to the full Windows experience, not a replacement for it,” she said.

Another IDC analyst, Bob O’Donnell said he’s not surprised by consumer’s confusion about RT because the “Windows” name implies it will be compatible.

"Windows RT breaks the core value proposition of Windows. People use Windows because it's compatible [with legacy software],” he said.

Both analysts also said Windows RT tablets are going to continue to struggle unless Microsoft can do more to lower the costs and make them more price competitive with the new generation of $199 tablets from Amazon, Google and others. 

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