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Windows RT dubbed ‘a lemon’ that consumers are ‘avoiding in droves’

Published Mar 7th, 2013 1:05PM EST
Windows RT Criticism

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The signs of doom are all aligned for Windows RT, which looks like it could soon inhibit the same plane of oblivion currently occupied by Microsoft Bob. Ars Technica’s Peter Bright has written a thorough pre-obituary for the current incarnation of Microsoft’s (MSFT) first attempt at creating a tablet-centric operating system, which he calls “a lemon” that consumers are “avoiding… in droves.” Bright lists several reasons for Windows RT’s failure so far, but most of them boil down to the fact that the operating system as it’s currently built has no reason to exist.

“In spite of having all the working parts of Windows 8, however, it can’t (officially) be used to run desktop applications, even if the developers of those applications are willing to recompile for the ARM processor,” Bright writes. “Instead, all applications must come through the Windows Store, and be built using theWinRT API.”

The result, he says, is an operating system that is built to be more like iOS and Android than Windows but that sorely lacks the rich app ecosystem enjoyed by those two popular mobile platforms. What’s more, the operating system is nearly devoid of enterprise appeal because it doesn’t run the full version of Office and entirely lacks support for Microsoft Outlook.

All hope is not lost, however, because Bright thinks Windows RT can be salvaged if Microsoft changes its licensing terms to allow for full Office and to let customers use Outlook on their Surface RT tablets. This could make it more appealing to corporate customers who might want a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro for workers that may not require a machine capable of doing the heavy lifting of a PC.

“With this, Windows RT would become a viable working platform that was tightly locked down, and that could run on relatively cheap, robust, no-moving-part devices,” he writes.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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