Software // Operating Systems
02:45 PM
Mike Feibus
Mike Feibus

Windows 8, RT Confusion: Can Microsoft Beat It?

Windows 8, paired with ultra-thin laptops, could add sorely-needed excitement to the PC market this holiday season. But Microsoft has a marketing problem.

And then the potential buyer spies a Windows RT tablet across the aisle. It's a little smaller than the Acer. And it costs less. But when the buyer touches the display, the home screen looks the same as the one on the pricier Windows 8 system. There's even that desktop tile, the one that takes you to the Land of Windows Past.

What does the salesperson say?

That's not an easy question to answer, particularly for Microsoft. The company has a long-term goal of enabling ARM processor suppliers to compete with Intel and AMD in the Windows PC market. That's likely why there's a desktop tile on the Windows RT home screen. That's also why the UI plays so prominently in Windows 8.

So the company would like to give RT every chance to succeed. Fair enough. But as it dials in the positioning for the present, Microsoft had better not lose sight of the fact that neither RT nor the ARM players are ready to compete with x86 in the PC market. Otherwise, a lot of consumers who need new PCs may find themselves buying Windows RT tablets that don't do what they need.

And when they go to return the tablets, do you think they'll trust Microsoft enough to buy a Windows 8 PC? It's possible, I suppose.

More likely, they'll just go out and buy Macs.

Upgrading isn't the easy decision that Win 7 was. We take a close look at Server 2012, changes to mobility and security, and more in the new Here Comes Windows 8 issue of InformationWeek. Also in this issue: Why you should have the difficult conversations about the value of OS and PC upgrades before discussing Windows 8. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Ninja
10/9/2012 | 2:09:35 PM
re: Windows 8, RT Confusion: Can Microsoft Beat It?
Wow, that last unrealistic. Most Windows users would have an even harder time learning a Mac than dealing with the confusion of the two OS versions. I agree that they should have called it Windows Tablet 8 instead of RT (NT, RT, what is up with Microsoft and useless acronyms?). Microsoft's weakest corporate structure is their marketing department. It's why Apple is "cool" and Microsoft isn't.

I see your point and it remains to be seen if this is really an issue. I don't think it's that hard for a salesperson to say "Oh that's a tablet version that isn't as powerful as a desktop so it runs mobile apps only." People can be dense sometimes, but I don't think the GP is THAT dumb. They know the difference between an iPad and an iMac - same thing here. One is a Surface, the other is a PC.That's what you left out of the article. They aren't buying RT or Windows 8 - they are buying a Surface or a PC. Now that I think of it that way, your whole article falls apart.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/4/2012 | 5:56:49 PM
re: Windows 8, RT Confusion: Can Microsoft Beat It?
I guess we'll have to wait and see what type of marketing program they present. It MUST be successful at explaining the differentiation between Win8 and WinRT.

Those of us in IT already know what the differences (and their inherent advantages) are. But the GP does not...
User Rank: Apprentice
10/4/2012 | 5:23:53 PM
re: Windows 8, RT Confusion: Can Microsoft Beat It?
I don't care about Windows or Microsoft anymore. I'll never buy another one of their products again. There's no need to.
FrogSlayer Software
FrogSlayer Software,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/4/2012 | 2:54:56 PM
re: Windows 8, RT Confusion: Can Microsoft Beat It?
Great read, Mike. The last line in this post is so disheartening because Microsoft is so close to building the right OS for the modern tech consumer, but they can't get out of their own way. Either they have, once again, muddled up their product offering with no marketing to clear things up, or they're waiting 'til the 11th hour to drop some awesome marketing plan on us. I doubt it's the latter...
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