Microsoft’s most boneheaded product is about to be killed off

Computer Stores Prepare For Release Of Microsoft Windows 7

NEW YORK — Microsoft is about to take the ax to one of the stupidest products ever created.

CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday that Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) will combine all of its various Windows iterations into one unified version next year. That, thankfully, will mean the end of Windows RT, MIcrosoft’s woefully executed and dreadfully received operating system for tablets.

Windows RT was supposed to usher in the tablet era for Microsoft. But Windows RT has two fatal flaws: it’s missing crucial apps, and it’s poorly designed. Unsurprisingly, the stripped-down operating system failed to take off. (Actually, that’s an understatement: Microsoft took a $900 million writedown last year because of awful Surface RT sales, the only mainstream tablet than ran Windows RT.)

The biggest failure of Windows RT was that it took away the single best part of Windows — the fact that it can run just about every app ever created.

Instead, Windows RT can only run apps built for the Windows Store. You know those strange-looking tile apps in Windows 8? Yup, those are the ones.

To be fair to Microsoft, it has done a mostly adequate job building up its app store. There are 170,000 apps listed in the store — about half of the number of iPad apps — the most popular of which are YouTube, Facebook (FB, Tech30), Skype, Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) andGoogle (GOOGL, Tech30) Search.

Still, you can’t run iTunes. There’s no Chrome or Firefox browser. You likely can’t run your company’s custom-built software. Pretty much anything that requires a desktop is a no-go.

OK, so that sounds kind of like an iPad or a Chromebook laptop, right? Sure it does — so why not just buy an iPad for the same price? Or save $150 and buy a Chromebook? That’s what most consumers were thinking anyway.

But unlike Apple (AAPL, Tech30) or Google, Microsoft didn’t take away the desktop in Windows RT. No, no, no. Curiously, Microsoft kept the desktop around so you can run a separate, more robust version of Internet Explorer. You can also manage files, and tap into your tablet’s advanced settings on the desktop. Oh, and if you want to run Microsoft Office, you have to switch into desktop mode for that too.

To recap: If you want to visit a website that the tablet version of the browser doesn’t support, change a setting that you can’t tweak in the normal settings app. Or, if you want to create a document, you have to exit the land of tiles and enter desktop world.

So, yeah, it’s fair to say there are some design issues with Windows RT.

The concept of Windows RT was actually right: put Windows on any device, no matter what kind of processor or screen size it has — even if the device is missing a keyboard and mouse. But Microsoft never made a compelling case for why you should buy a Windows RT tablet over a rival tablet except for the fact that it runs Office. And that argument just went out the window when Microsoft brought Office to the iPad earlier this year.

That’s why Windows RT turned into one of the biggest flops in Microsoft’s history. And that’s saying a lot, considering Microsoft conjured up such duds as Windows Vista, Microsoft Bob and Clippy.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

5 comments

  • PHYLLIS HAKE

    I DO NOT EVEN (LIKE) MY WINDOWS RT: IT IS DISGUSTING AND WORKS POORLY. MICROSOFT NEEDS TO GIVE PURCHASERS A FULL RETURN SO THEY CAN BUY ANOTHER PRODUCT: NOT A MICROSOFT PRODUCT. THEY HAVE FAILED TOO MANY TIMES TO DELIVER A GOOD BROWSER AND PC TO THE PUBLIC AND NEEDS TO LOOK AT MONETARY RETUNS TO THE PUBLIC.

  • Mark

    This article is factually false. Please do your research. RT is not being killed. There will be many versions of windows, just one unified team at Microsoft.

  • Kunal

    First things first, Windows cannot run “every app created”. It definitely cannot run any iOS or Mac OS apps natively. It cannot run any Android apps natively. Windows RT as an OS is perfectly optimized for ARM based devices. The only reason it hasn’t picked up is because it is too early to the market and the Windows Store catalog does not have the quality and quantity of apps needed to warrant a product like Windows RT.

    Microsoft should have simply released Windows 8 with a Windows Store that was to be used for Touch-optimized apps. Once the store had grown to about half a million apps is when an OS like Windows RT should have been released to the market.

  • Mike

    It’s amazing a boneheaded blogger would actually post an article without bothering to check the facts. Er, guess that’s normal these days. Windows RT may not be popular, but it is a utile and viable version of Windows. Maybe not for you, but that’s hardly a reason to call it “boneheaded”. Nevertheless, as others stated your statement is false. in fact many of your assertions are false. Windows “unification” is only intended to let the public know of the development towards many versions of Windows which can all run the same apps. Windows Phone, which is based off of Windows RT will most likely be brought closer to Windows RT until the two are almost the same if not identical. But those versions probably still won’t be able to run old Intel style apps unless Microsoft includes some form of “Windows on Windows” shell to enable it. This would be of doubtful use to Windows Phone. For a small tablet that doesn’t have much power it is would likewise be of dubious use. In the meantime, anyone wanting a full Windows tablet can always buy one. Again, RT may not be popular, but it’s not dead nor headed in that direction.