5. Microsoft Hopes To Lure Consumers With Office.
At Computex, Microsoft announced it will bundle Office software with certain x86-based Windows 8 tablets and include a version of Outlook on future Windows RT models. Given that the company is refusing, despite the promise of billions in additional revenue, to extend Office to iOS or Android, the writing is on the wall: if Win8's Modern UI can't draw buyers, theability to run Office on a low-cost, ultraportable tablet might do the trick.
Slates that run Office, the crème de la crème of all legacy apps, fill an undeniable market need. Given that Microsoft is positioning Windows 8 as the only platform that can fill that need, it's clear the company expects pre-installed versions of Office to drive adoption, especially since the software will arrive primarily on devices with lower, consumer-friendly price points.
6. Microsoft's RT Strategy? Still Nonexistent.
Windows RT has struggled so much that it actually makes Windows 8's slow adoption look like a rousing success.
Part of the problem is that Microsoft has failed to explain the appeal of the light version of the OS, which features the new Modern UI but can't run x86 apps. When Surface RT was released, it included versions of several Microsoft Office products but was otherwise confined to Windows Store apps, which were lacking in both quantity and quality at the time.
Even without addressing consumers' divisive reaction to the Modern UI, it's easy to see why Win RT sales were so poor; at almost twice the cost of the base iPad Mini, the Surface RT's unique features didn't justify its huge price premium. Since then, most OEMs have ramped down or terminated their plans for RT models.
Future RT devices will be less expensive, but so will tablets that run the full Windows 8 OS, including Atom-based models that could fall in the $300-$400 range. Unless the next round of Windows RT devices are incredibly cheap -- less than $250, say -- there's no reason why buyers shouldn't skip RT and go straight to devices with the full OS.
Parker, in his conversation with PC World, didn't help matters. On one hand, he defended RT's struggles as "the incremental growth of a new platform." On the other, he admitted Microsoft "could maybe have inspired people a bit more with some of the RT devices and some of our marketing," although he didn't elaborate. Recent rumors suggest a new RT-based Surface model could appear later this month at Build, so time will tell if Microsoft, after essentially striking out at its first at-bat, manages to inspire consumers with its newest attempt.