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Dell exec warned Microsoft that Windows RT branding would confuse consumers

post #1 of 76
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An executive at one of Microsoft's largest PC partners, Dell, warned that the "Windows RT" branding for its tablet operating system might confuse consumers because it does not run traditional Windows applications.

Jefferey Clarke, vice chairman at Dell and president of its PC business, said at the Dell World conference last week that he warned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that the Windows RT branding could be detrimental to the product, according to CNet.

Ballmer, however, disagreed with Clarke, and argued that the Windows branding was too important not to be used in Microsoft's product.

Clarke may have been right: Microsoft has reportedly needed to revise its return policies for its Surface tablet running Windows RT, as a number of customers have apparently returned the hardware after discovering it cannot run traditional Windows applications.

The reason is Windows RT is designed to run on low-power ARM processors rather than traditional PC X86/X64 chips. As a result, Windows RT cannot be purchased separately ??it is only available preinstalled on ARM-powered devices, such as the Microsoft Surface touchscreen tablet.

Surface


Further confusing matters is the fact that Windows RT features both the touch-centric Windows Metro interface, as well as a traditional-style Windows desktop layout. Windows RT also includes touch-optimized versions of Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note.

However, even though Windows RT looks like Windows 8, the underlying architecture of the operating system is very different, which prevents legacy Windows applications from running on the new platform.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer made headlines last month when he said sales of the Microsoft Surface had gotten off to a "modest" start. The company began expanding availability of the Surface beyond its own retail stores just last week in an effort to boost sales and exposure.

While the entry-level Surface running Windows RT cannot run traditional Windows applications, Microsoft's forthcoming Surface Pro tablet will run the full-fledged Windows 8 operating system and will have access to legacy apps. The Surface Pro will launch early next year starting at $899 for the 64-gigabyte model.
post #2 of 76
"Oh, and your computers themselves don't? Please, we're Microsoft! People buy from us because we're their only option. We don't have to worry about this."

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post #3 of 76
"The company began next year starting at $899 for the 64-gigabyte model." - And AI confuses readers.
post #4 of 76

Um, yeah.  That whole RT designation.  Dumb.

 

I am not certain how a group within MS becomes so insulated as to believe this was actually a good idea.  

 

That someone from Dell had to point it out to them should only serve as a case and point and irrefutable evidence.

post #5 of 76
Ballmer really needs to let go of the past if he wants MS to be relevant in the future. I agree with Clarke and think that if Windows RT would have simply been called Metro OS it would been a refreshing change from the stodgy ol' MS of the 90s and a much bigger hit. I think even the Surface RT tablet could have been more of a success with more leeway given to it's obvious shortcomings.

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post #6 of 76
I think the naming is a good idea. Bad for the consumer, but good in the long term. It's meant so that people begin to understand that windows can run everywhere and people will be able to do the same stuff everywhere, even if it's not the case yet.
post #7 of 76

I don't see that the branding has anything to do with it.  There are two distinct products with two distinct names (Windows RT & Windows 8).  

 

The confusion is really created by the fact that there are two identical operating systems (that aren't in fact identical), running on two identical (but completely different) hardware platforms.  It's not the naming or the branding, it's just the stupid decision to market two, competing, completely incompatible systems that look and work exactly the same.  

post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

I think the naming is a good idea. Bad for the consumer, but good in the long term. It's meant so that people begin to understand that windows can run everywhere and people will be able to do the same stuff everywhere, even if it's not the case yet.

This makes no sense.  What's the point of having Windows "running everywhere" if it doesn't look like Windows, act like Windows or run Windows programs?  

post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

I think the naming is a good idea. Bad for the consumer, but good in the long term. It's meant so that people begin to understand that windows can run everywhere and people will be able to do the same stuff everywhere, even if it's not the case yet.

But I think that's where the problem lies (or is it lays?). It doesn't make sense to say an app is a Window app if the OSes are so disparate that you can't run the OS across the platforms. Metro UI isn't even a windowed OS so it confounds me more that they would call it Windows at all. Besides the name change I think they should have used WP8 as the foundation for the WinRT OS. All now have WinNT kernel — which is a great achievement — but there just seems to be so much crap still in WinRT that the only viable option for MS on the Surface RT was to start with 32GB storage so you have about as much free space as the 16GB iPad. I think this issue extends to performance and battery life of Surface RT, too.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #10 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I don't see that the branding has anything to do with it.  There are two distinct products with two distinct names (Windows RT & Windows 8).  

The confusion is really created by the fact that there are two identical operating systems (that aren't in fact identical), running on two identical (but completely different) hardware platforms.  It's not the naming or the branding, it's just the stupid decision to market two, competing, completely incompatible systems that look and work exactly the same.  

That's Microsoft for you. I mean, they didn't learn from their past mistakes that forcing UI paradigms to far outside of its optimal use causes problems. They thought that a "Start" menu was appropriate for phones with 2" screens of all things. A tile interface designed for a 4" screen is just awkward and a waste of real estate on a 24" screen.
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

I think the naming is a good idea. Bad for the consumer, but good in the long term. It's meant so that people begin to understand that windows can run everywhere and people will be able to do the same stuff everywhere, even if it's not the case yet.

 

If it’s meant to make people understand that, then it’s a failure: you CAN’T make people understand something that is so immediately and clearly not true. They try to run a Windows app... it won’t run... the name Windows RT won’t help them understand that someday, some other Simon Says product may work better.

 

If the name serves that purpose, the name shouldn’t be used until the purpose is true. (Which I’m not expecting it will be—not on iPad-style tablets, which are the future.)

post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But I think that's where the problem lies (or is it lays?). It doesn't make sense to say an app is a Window app if the OSes are so disparate that you can't run the OS across the platforms. Metro UI isn't even a windowed OS so it confounds me more that they would call it Windows at all. Besides the name change I think they should have used WP8 as the foundation for the WinRT OS. All now have WinNT kernel — which is a great achievement — but there just seems to be so much crap still in WinRT that the only viable option for MS on the Surface RT was to start with 32GB storage so you have about as much free space as the 16GB iPad. I think this issue extends to performance and battery life of Surface RT, too.

What crap in Windows RT are you referring to?
post #13 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

I think the naming is a good idea. Bad for the consumer, but good in the long term. It's meant so that people begin to understand that windows can run everywhere and people will be able to do the same stuff everywhere, even if it's not the case yet.

LOL. Like Windows CE? It was ALSO called Windows, but it couldn't run Windows software, but it existed so Microsoft can say it has Windows on low-power ARM processors.

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post #14 of 76
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Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

If it’s meant to make people understand that, then it’s a failure: you CAN’T make people understand something that is so immediately and clearly not true. They try to run a Windows app... it won’t run... the name Windows RT won’t help them understand that someday, some other Simon Says product may work better.

If the name serves that purpose, the name shouldn’t be used until the purpose is true. (Which I’m not expecting it will be—not on iPad-style tablets, which are the future.)

So people are going to try install and run a Windows app that's not available through the Windows store? Is that what you're saying people are going to try and do?


Do people really want to install OS X apps on their iPads? No?

Then why do people not seem to comprehend the reasoning behind RT? Its a tablet OS that shares certain usability features with Windows 8.
Edited by Xplatformer - 12/17/12 at 10:22am
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


LOL. Like Windows CE? It was ALSO called Windows, but it couldn't run Windows software, but it existed so Microsoft can say it has Windows on low-power ARM processors.

 

 

Very good point. But MicroSoft Motto is "Win-Dows-Eve-Ry-Where". Repeat after me ".....

post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Ballmer really needs to let go of the past if he wants MS to be relevant in the future. I agree with Clarke and think that if Windows RT would have simply been called Metro OS it would been a refreshing change from the stodgy ol' MS of the 90s and a much bigger hit. I think even the Surface RT tablet could have been more of a success with more leeway given to it's obvious shortcomings.

 

I'm thinking "Surface OS" would have worked as well. Something other than "Windows blah" anyway. I still don't understand why RT had to have the traditional windows interface and Metro. Seems like RT could have just had Metro and the Pro version could have done both and been Windows 8. Either way, glad Microsoft cannot get their act together. I'm all for them loosing their desktop dominance as we transition to tablets.

post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

They thought that a "Start" menu was appropriate for phones with 2" screens of all things.

That one I give them a pass on. Those phones/PDSs were designed to be used with a stylus, but more importantly Windows was at the height of their game so I can understand a desire to keep doing what is working and take advantage of the mindshare they had at the time.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 76

It can't run Windows apps? The Microsoft store employee told me it Plays for Sure...

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post #19 of 76
To put in context how silly this is: imagine if Apple had launched the MacPad, a tablet that ran a munged mix of Mac apps (but only those ported to a new CPU) and touch-screen apps. Can't imagine this? Luckily, neither could anyone at Apple.

Microsoft doesn't lack imagination. The problem is they have the wrong kind.

Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

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Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
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post #20 of 76

The problem is, even if the naming is a good idea for the long term, if MS does not attract customers now, there will be no long term. Thats why you hook them now, then keep them later. It's not bait and switch, it's bait, then bait again, and on and on. I'm very surprised a company the size of MS with all the MBAs they have why they can't figure out basic sales and marketing. This tells me they have no idea what they are doing up in Redmond. 

post #21 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

LOL. Like Windows CE? It was ALSO called Windows, but it couldn't run Windows software, but it existed so Microsoft can say it has Windows on low-power ARM processors.

Quite. iOS is at core a port of OS X to a new platfom, with a fair amount stripped out. No confusion, because it has a different name. The common branding is the Apple logo. Why is Microsoft unable to leverge their own name and logo as a brand? Windows is only one of many products they sell.

Philip Machanick creator of Opinionations and Green Grahamstown
Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

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post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by UIGuy View Post

Um, yeah.  That whole RT designation.  Dumb.

 

I am not certain how a group within MS becomes so insulated as to believe this was actually a good idea.  

 

That someone from Dell had to point it out to them should only serve as a case and point and irrefutable evidence.

 

Perhaps they are trying to be more like car companies - no you can't buy an Acura Legend, or Integra, you have to have a Acura TLX, or and Acura RLT, or an Acura BLT, because that is soooo much easier for the consumer.  

post #23 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Perhaps they are trying to be more like car companies - no you can't buy an Acura Legend, or Integra, you have to have a Acura TLX, or and Acura RLT, or an Acura BLT, because that is soooo much easier for the consumer.  

I'll have mine with extra bacon.

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post #24 of 76

$899 for the 64 GB version?  With Windows 8?

 

Obviously a typo in the article, since this should really say "$899 for the 30-ish GB version after installing Windows 8"  If MS can cut the past loose, they have a chance. But either Ballmer is too afraid or Gates won't let him.  Sad.

post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xplatformer View Post


What crap in Windows RT are you referring to?

 

Let's name the "irrelevant on tablet" Desktop mode and the WinSXS Dlls medusa directory as a few examples taking over 9GB of space on WinRT


Edited by BigMac2 - 12/17/12 at 11:11am
post #26 of 76

This was obvious to most people (not just Jefferey Clarke), who are waiting for imminent measly sales figures to come out.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But I think that's where the problem lies (or is it lays?).

 

It's 'lay'


Edited by AnalogJack - 12/17/12 at 11:14am
post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xplatformer View Post


So people are going to try install and run a Windows app that's not available through the Windows store? Is that what you're saying people are going to try and do?
Do people really want to install OS X apps on their iPads? No?
Then why do people not seem to comprehend the reasoning behind RT? Its a tablet OS that shares certain usability features with Windows 8.

Apple was very careful to make the distinction between the iPad and a Mac computer. They advertised the iPad as a whole new category of devices - they didn't call it the SnowLeopardPad or the LionPad, or the OS X Pad, or the tablet that runs OSX RT.


Edited by elroth - 12/17/12 at 11:48am
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But I think that's where the problem lies (or is it lays?).

 

That's where the problem lies... unless the problem lay in the past.

 

("That is" signifying present, unless you meant "That was" signifying past)

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post #29 of 76

Wow. I didn't even know until this article that Surface only runs custom apps. No wonder it's tanking.

 

Why would you release an OS that looks identical to your desktop OS, yet has none of it's features?

 

Incredibly stupid movie, microsoft.

post #30 of 76
kkerst View Post

I'm very surprised a company the size of MS with all the MBAs they have why they can't figure out basic sales and marketing. This tells me they have no idea what they are doing up in Redmond. 

They lack any stressing of common goals. Each department is its own fiefdom, competing with one another for favor and funding. Even worse is the forced competition within each department, due to long-term deployment of the "stack ranking" performance evaluation method, which is only supposed to be used during mergers and other short-term affairs.

 

lilgto64 View Post

Perhaps they are trying to be more like car companies - no you can't buy an Acura Legend, or Integra, you have to have a Acura TLX, or and Acura RLT, or an Acura BLT, because that is soooo much easier for the consumer.  

Microsoft learned it from their PC manufacturing partners. Naming conventions for HP, Dell, and others are mostly meaningless, and any internal logic is completely lost on your average consumer: Best Buy customers who randomly pick one off the shelf.

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post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xplatformer View Post


So people are going to try install and run a Windows app that's not available through the Windows store? Is that what you're saying people are going to try and do?
Do people really want to install OS X apps on their iPads? No?
Then why do people not seem to comprehend the reasoning behind RT? Its a tablet OS that shares certain usability features with Windows 8.

That's why you have "iOS" and "OS X." Sure, some features are interchangeable, but do people confuse one for the other? No. Calling a new tablet system "OS X RT" would have been confusing, just as calling the Surface system "Windows RT" confuses the heck out of average consumer. They think it's Windows, so it must run everything just the same... In for a surprise... ;-)

post #32 of 76

Does Rovio have to develop Angry Birds twice; for the RT and the 8 Surface?


It may not SOUND that much different than having to do it for iOS, then OS X, but it is. 

 

If your game makes $ on iOS, it can pay for the follow-on OS X development if necessary. 

 

Plus by now your people are iOS experts.

 

Here, Rovio must say, "Does it have a prayer of selling on either one?"


It seems bad for developers.

post #33 of 76
If you put a Windows RT tablet next to a Windows 8 tablet, most people aren't going to notice the difference. So they grab the RT tablet, get home and can't use their applications.

Right now, Microsoft is the new HP. They are desperate so they are just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Ballmer needs to go. Let the XBox team run Microsoft.
post #34 of 76

Ever notice how Xbox doesn't run Windows PPC? I am surprised they didn't sell the Surface with Windows RT as an Xbox device, and leave the Surface Pro to run Windows.

post #35 of 76
You can go back and forth until the cows come home, but the underlying problem with Microsoft is that they don't think like engineers -- they think like business people. MS only cares about the bottom line. It's a self-defeating way of operating.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

If you put a Windows RT tablet next to a Windows 8 tablet, most people aren't going to notice the difference. So they grab the RT tablet, get home and can't use their applications.
Right now, Microsoft is the new HP. They are desperate so they are just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Ballmer needs to go. Let the XBox team run Microsoft.

J Allard and Robbie Bach already left Microsoft. Know what's ironic? The Microsoft executive who was staunchly opposed to Microsoft doing their own game console was Steve Ballmer. Ballmer thought Microsoft should license "Windows for Game Consoles" (it wasn't called that, but that was the idea) to companies like Dell. In fact, game developers could license Windows CE for the base OS on SEGA Dreamcast, as an alternative to coding directly to Dreamcast hardware.

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post #37 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by UIGuy View Post

Um, yeah.  That whole RT designation.  Dumb.

 

I am not certain how a group within MS becomes so insulated as to believe this was actually a good idea.  

 

That someone from Dell had to point it out to them should only serve as a case and point and irrefutable evidence.


"Someone" from Dell, not even the CEO, seems to be smarter than the top guy at Microsoft. How can the MS Board not get the big picture...

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post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zogg View Post

You can go back and forth until the cows come home, but the underlying problem with Microsoft is that they don't think like engineers -- they think like business people. MS only cares about the bottom line. It's a self-defeating way of operating.

On the contrary, they do think like engineers. Designers understand how people view things, and interact with them. (sometimes badly but that is another story)

Engineers cant figure out why people would be confused by a totally different OS that can't run legacy apps since you did ad the letters RT at the end of Windows.

How could our customers, although they have been using some sort of Windows OS for the past 20 years be confused... we clearly added RT which makes it perfectly clear that it is totally different.

post #39 of 76

We are Microsoft.  We paid 100 million to a firm of researchers to find out if it would actually be confusing.  They said no after they sent us a bill for an additional 20 million just for the paperwork.

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post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xplatformer View Post


So people are going to try install and run a Windows app that's not available through the Windows store? Is that what you're saying people are going to try and do?
 

 

Mate, I've seen people who have downloaded iTunes.exe and wonder why they can't install it...

 

...on Android handsets.

 

Never underestimate what people are going to try to do with tech.

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