The PC industry recently experienced the largest drop in quarterly sales ever, a decline that was blamed largely on Windows 8 and an increased interest in tablets and smartphones. One of the issues with Windows 8 is that Microsoft released a watered-down version of the software called Windows RT that looks the same but performs differently, and on lower-powered systems. Dell launched one such system, the XPS 10, and recently said that demand for it is far lower than expected.
“Demand is not where I would like it to be at this point in time,” the head of Dell’s high-end computer and tablet business told CNET. “The amount of market information about it is not good enough, and the market sentiment is still pretty negative.”
Go figure. Microsoft has done a poor job of explaining the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 to consumers. If you went up to a shelf in a Best Buy, for example, you might see a Windows 8 PC and a Windows RT machine sitting right next to one another, both running the Metro UI (yes, we’re still calling it that) with similar industrial designs. A consumer probably doesn’t know the difference between the two systems, and we’re betting sales associates point them to a more powerful Windows 8 machine – even if Windows RT might suit their needs.
We wonder where Microsoft plans to take Surface RT, especially if its partners aren’t pleased with the platform. Hopefully Microsoft’s Project Blue (Windows 8.1) merges it a bit more with Windows Phone and makes it more valuable to consumers in the end.