Microsoft to slash Windows RT licensing fees in effort to boost soft sales - report

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Unable to gain much traction against Apple's iPad so far, Microsoft is cutting the licensing fees for its mobile-targeted Windows RT operating system, hoping that if manufacturers are able to make less expensive devices, the platform could show signs of life.


This week's Computex computer industry conference in Taipei will see Microsoft making a larger push to grow adoption of Windows RT, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The operating system currently holds less than a percentage point of market share, according to IDC.

Smaller tablets in the vein of Apple's iPad mini are apparently the Windows RT form factor of choice for Microsoft going forward. The price cuts for RT will be targeted toward that device segment. Microsoft will also try to grow consumer interest in Windows RT by improving the email capabilities built into the system.

While sources familiar with the company's plans were able to confirm the licensing fee cuts, Bloomberg notes that none were able to tell just how much manufacturers would be paying to license Microsoft's alternative system. Released alongside Windows 8 in October of last year, Windows RT was meant to give Microsoft a foothold in a mobile device segment dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

Instead, Windows RT hit the market with a thud. Reports had consumers confused by the platform's naming and styling, which are similar to Windows 8. The latter is able to run legacy Windows programs and runs on x86 chip architectures, while the former runs no legacy applications and runs on ARM chipsets.

Indeed, the only relatively successful Windows RT device to date has been Microsoft's own Surface RT. That device, though, has seen slow adoption, and Microsoft recently gave it an effective price cut by throwing in a $100 keyboard cover for free.

Other device manufacturers ? including HTC, Acer, and Asus ? have largely abandoned Windows RT as a platform, and some players in the PC industry are said to be less than happy with Microsoft for failing so far to give them a viable means to compete with Apple's iPad. Samsung, for example, nixed its plans for Windows RT tablets in the United States, citing "modest" demand for the platform.

Acer chairman J.T. Wang, who will often speak plainly regarding business matters, was less charitable than Samsung in speaking about Windows RT.

"We have some R&D projects [involving WinRT]," Wang said on Monday, "but we will be very, very cautious in deciding whether we will do the launch and mass production." Wang went on to call the Windows RT platform "very immature."

Other manufacturers appear to still be cautiously optimistic, or at least committed to releasing devices they've already developed. Dell is working on a Windows RT tablet, and HTC is working on a 7-inch device running the system. Beyond those, though, hardware companies are less specific on their plans going forward.


  • Reply 1 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    It won't work.

  • Reply 2 of 70
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member
    RT just like Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8, is a complete and total failure. It has a horrible unusable interface and is way overpriced like all microsoft software. Oh, and did i say it was fugly and unusable?
  • Reply 3 of 70
    archarch Posts: 66member

    And Microsoft's stock keeps continuing it's upward journey...


  • Reply 4 of 70
    jollypauljollypaul Posts: 328member
    Microsoft's strategy is clear as mud: force a tablet interface on the desktop and field two incompatible tablet operating systems that have the same name. What could go wrong?
  • Reply 5 of 70
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Unless Microsoft can suddenly find millions of color blind people with no taste and spare cash, their tablets are doomed. The great thing about this failure, is that hopefully I'll be spared from watching any more of their moronic commercials featuring dancing fools.


    I've luckily never had the unfortunate experience of seeing a Windows tablet in person, but do they all come with fans? I know that some of them do, and I find that to be absolutely hilarious. What a damn joke. 

  • Reply 6 of 70
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,185member
    arch wrote: »
    And Microsoft's stock keeps continuing it's upward journey...

    This is the part I don't understand..... (atlhough some people attribute it to the Xbox, I am skeptical).

    But then, I don't understand the valuations of GOOG or AMZN either.
  • Reply 7 of 70
    drekkadrekka Posts: 3member
    I don't think they understand that even giving a product away for free doesn't automatically make it a better product. Bad is bad, regardless of price.
  • Reply 8 of 70
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    That should do it! The iPad is dead now /s
  • Reply 9 of 70
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,159member

    The platform was dead from the beginning. Once again, Microsoft was way late to the party and its too late to join in on everyone copying the idea of the iPad. And I don't mean that they copied the iPad like Samsung did...I just mean they're joining in the tablet game way too late and its simply too late for them. IMO, they did the same thing with the Zune. 


    You can't beat Apple by basically doing the same thing Apple does. You have to do something innovative...something completely different and make people think they need it. This is what Apple does better than anyone. 

  • Reply 10 of 70
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    MS, it's not OEM's ability to create cheap tablets thanks to lower licensing fees that is effecting your "soft" sales!...
  • Reply 11 of 70
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,365member
    There just doesn't seem to be any pride in workmanship at MS. Everything just seems cobbled together willy-nilly.

    It may have worked well in the 90's but not now. Google is the same. Both are providing second-rate hardware and second-rate software.
  • Reply 12 of 70
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,502member
    Google is already getting a refresher review by several big firm leading analysts who aren't seeing the innovation nor are they impressed with 12% growth as anything to rave about.
  • Reply 13 of 70
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 615member
    Yes. This is the answer. I'm sure these devices aren't selling simply because the price point is $50 too high...
  • Reply 14 of 70
    Free? Interesting.
  • Reply 15 of 70
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,316member


    Originally Posted by arch View Post

    And Microsoft's stock keeps continuing it's upward journey...



    Of course it will. Imagine if Apple released something like the surface and it was a complete sales disaster, how the stock would utterly vaporize. Apple stock gets hammered when Apple announces the most successful quarter in corporate history, or the most successful phone launch in history, record breaking sales in all their product lines, etc. 


    Oh, and Windows RT is a clusterfuck- all the disadvanatges of Windows 8 Metro and lack of apps, and none of the advantages of being able to run classic Window applications. Not sure who in their right mind would choose that over other platforms. 

  • Reply 16 of 70
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 652member

    Yeah, like the fire sale that saved the Zune!
  • Reply 17 of 70
    archarch Posts: 66member

    The next 'major' announcement is probably going to be Windows 9 release a few years later. MSFT has probably pretty much nothing else. They are seriously lacking behind Apple and Google.


    I think Apple has hit the right strategy of pricing it's OS upgrades free (iOS)/ cheap(OS X) and making annual changes to it.


  • Reply 18 of 70
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,778member


    Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

    Yes. This is the answer. I'm sure these devices aren't selling simply because the price point is $50 too high...


    No, you're wrong.


  • Reply 19 of 70
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member

    I don't think price was a barrier to entry for this POS OS. 

  • Reply 20 of 70


    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

    Oh, and Windows RT is a clusterfuck- all the disadvanatges of Windows 8 Metro and lack of apps, and none of the advantages of being able to run classic Window applications. Not sure who in their right mind would choose that over other platforms. 


    "But but but... Offfffice. Keeeyboard cover." /s

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