Windows execs Mike Angiulo and Julie Larson-Green at the Windows 8/Windows RT launch. (Microsoft Photo)

Following reports of lackluster sales of the Surface RT tablet and other Windows RT devices, Microsoft is speaking up in defense of the version of its operating system that was designed to go head-to-head against the iPad and other tablets.

surfaceblackIn an interview with CNet News, published overnight, Microsoft Windows executive Mike Angiulo said the company sees “a very bright future” for the performance of ARM processors over time, boosting their viability as an architecture for Windows.

[Related: Microsoft’s Windows Store surpasses 50,000 apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT]

Angiulo said of Windows RT, “It was a ton of work for us and we didn’t do the work and endure the disruption for any reason other than the fact that there’s a strategy there that just gets stronger over time.”

Windows RT is the variant of Windows 8 that runs on the power-efficient ARM processors common in mobile devices and tablets. The biggest difference from full-fledged Windows 8 for x86 (Intel and AMD) chips is that Windows RT doesn’t run legacy Windows applications, relying instead on the “modern” apps that can be downloaded from the Windows Store for both Windows RT and Windows 8.

IDC predicts that tablets running Windows and Windows RT will account for slightly more than 10 percent of the worldwide market by 2017 — still well behind Android and the iPad.

“Microsoft’s decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC research director, in a recent report. “Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road.”

But the latest comments make it clear that Microsoft isn’t changing course — at least not yet.

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  • ScHoolboy Q

    Regardless of sales RT was required to put pressure on Intel to reduce power consumption.

    • guest

      Oh, and mobile market share wasn’t putting any pressure on them? Please.

      • John

        Not really, it was low power consumptions in data centers

  • Walt French

    As opposed to what, this strategy just gets weaker overtime? How vacuous Cammies Microsoft announcements get?

    • John

      hey, do you remember Windows 1.0 when we transitioned from DOS? Well this is Windows RT 1.0 but they have a strategy. It took v3.0 before Windows cemented itself. The same goes for Windows RT. By the way WinRT lives in Windows 8 even if ARM was to be a complete failure.

      • Walt French

        Think you accidentally posted against my complaint that this headline “news” is not news in any sense.

        A business partner of mine once shared his rule: if you can turn around the sense of the announcement and it still makes sense, then it has information content.

        Now, exactly NOBODY thinks that RT is done and complete—apparently, you agree with that completely. So the announcement that it will be better (or at least, different) in the future? Not news.

        If they’d offered some specifics — areas of active development, groups of customers that they’re soliciting suggestions from, etc etc, then there’d be a chance to look for something interesting.

        As it is, all we know is that the entire development/maintenance/product team haven’t been fired. Non-news.

  • SilverSee

    Angiulo is quite right. The problem is, this strategy should have been articulated to the public and press up front, prior to launch, instead of in the bizarrely secretive way that Microsoft handled it. Why it’s taken them 5 months to field someone to explain the Windows RT story (literally for the first time) is hard to fathom. But I suppose it wouldn’t be authentically Microsoft if they didn’t allow competitors and detractors to get out ahead of them in terms of perception.

    • panacheart

      I think the embedded group couldn’t explain the strategy, and so they didn’t. It was a strategy handed down from Ballmer, and after numerous name changes and a constant threat that the Windows NT kernel could replace Win CE, they didn’t know how to make valid talking points for tech savvy audience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottmoore.seattle Scott Moore

    I’ve been trying to put my finger on what is wrong with Microsoft, and why there is an impression in the press that the software behemoth is languishing, and not leading the tech sector.

    What I finally realized is that Microsoft is having an identity crisis, and in an attempt to figure out who it really wants to be, it appears to languish, but really it’s in limbo between Windows NT and ME. This is apparent in the product naming and strategies.

    Microsoft Bob has become the Windows 8 Dream. Outlook on the Mac became Entourage, and Hotmail become Windows Live, then Outlook online, but it still has the “Live” URL.

    MSN became messenger, and MSNBC broke up with itself to become what? I’m not sure, but messenger is now skype, but will surely get a new name. Windows CE became Windows Embedded to become Windows RT, all the time living under the threat of NT.

    Office, cobbled together from a half dozen companies but living under the promise of integrated code became Office Live, only to now become Office 365. The award winning Front Page got lost in time, as Jim Alchin discovered it was used with Linux online. The story continues, and remains the same, but the names have been changed in the marketing game. The logo changed twice but still looks the same.

    Microsoft Money was flat out discontinued, following Front Page to the grave, a few years after acquiring that funky company in North Dakota, what was their name? Great Plains Software. That’s right.

    I’m sure I could fill pages with other examples, but I digress. The RT strategy won’t get stronger with time, it will get a name change and take a new direction. That’s how things work at MSFT.

  • n8

    I’m pissed my iPad doesn’t run legacy Mac apps! In fact, I bought Photoshop and MS Office for my Mac and I can’t even install them on my iPad! What a bunch of BS, why doesn’t the press mention this everytime they mention the iPad the same way they mention it everytime they mention the Surface RT?

    Seriously, though, my dad has a surface rt my brother who works at Microsoft convinced him to buy. The thing I find most annoying is when on it and searching for apps, a bunch of windows 8 apps appear that I can’t install for him. That just shoves the whole legacy app problem in my face.

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