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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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