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Microsoft Businesses Portables Windows

Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption 290

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-cost-only-3x-as-much-as-they-should dept.
angry tapir writes "Prices of Windows RT devices have started falling, signaling an attempt by PC makers to quickly clear out stock after poor adoption of tablets and convertibles with the operating system. Microsoft released Windows RT for ARM-based devices and Windows 8 for Intel-based devices in October last year. The price drop is an acknowledgment that Windows RT has failed, analysts claim. Though Microsoft has not publicly acknowledged the failure of Windows RT, there is already growing concern about the fate of the OS. IDC earlier this month said that Windows RT tablet shipments have been poor, and that consumers have not bought into 'Windows RT's value proposition.' PC and chip makers have acknowledged poor adoption of the operating system. Nvidia's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, last month said he was disappointed with the poor response to Windows RT, and Acer executives have said that Microsoft needs to improve the usability of RT."
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Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption

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  • Would I buy one? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Not even if it was free as in beer.

    • Re:Would I buy one? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nametaken (610866) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @12:52AM (#43345013)

      I don't get it. I played with the RT ones, and they're ok... but I kinda want one of the Pro's. They're certainly more appealing to me than an iPad.

      • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:28AM (#43345155) Homepage

        They are ok for what exactly? You can't do too much with them.

        Kinda expensive for a portable web browser.

        • Re:Would I buy one? (Score:4, Informative)

          by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:14AM (#43345305) Homepage Journal

          Erm what? Did you mis-read the parent post?

          The Surface Pro is a full Win8 x64 machine. It's usable for everything from running Android apps (BlueStacks works pretty well, I'm told) to playing AAA PC games (at lowered settings due to the Intel graphics, but it can run the games). Along the way, there's a few things it's great at; it makes an excellent artistic platform, for example (Wacom digitizer with pressure sensitivity and all that). It's also an acceptable tablet (heavier and thicker and lower battery life than a modern iPad, but still usable - and there are people who used old-school Windows tablets that make Surface Pro look absurdly portable), and an acceptable laptop (assuming you have one of the keyboard covers, which also provides a touchpad) and, while not excelling in either role, it's lightweight and fast and compact and gets good-enough battery life for most use cases.

          Surface RT, on the other hand, is definitely more gimped. Even if you use the various unlock/"jailbreak" hacks that are available, there's still only a limited amount of software available for it right now.

          • Re:Would I buy one? (Score:4, Informative)

            by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:26AM (#43345343) Homepage

            I played with the RT ones, and they're ok

            You might wan't to read it yourself. I was referring to that.

            I know what the Surface Pro's are.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by gagol (583737)
            Looks like you just described my 300$ 2 year old netbook! No wonder Windows RT is a failure.
            • by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:35AM (#43345373) Homepage Journal

              Your $300 netbook uses solid-state storage, has a Wacom digitizer, weighs 2lbs (under one kilo), has 4GB of RAM and runs a 64-bit OS to be able to use it all, sports a quad-core CPU (not "four hardware threads" dual-core-with-hyperthreading, but actual quad-core i5), has USB3, supports hardware virtualization, supports full-disk encryption using a TPM, has a multi-touch screen, and a 1920x1080 ("1080p" in merketing-speak) resolution, Gorilla Glass, and is durable enough it can be dropped from shoulder hight onto cement with no appreciable damage?

              Yeah, didn't think so.

              • by gagol (583737) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:52AM (#43345445)
                Point was, my 2 years old netbook runs quite adequatly, have more than I need battery life, no smuge on the screen, enable me to set the screen angle to ANY angle, can be used on my chest if I feel like watching a movie in bed, can run multiple virtual machines without a hitch, enabled me to create content in HD and fiddle with blender quite well, can play 3D games, and since I do not look at my screen with a microscope, I DONT CARE it is not 1080p or whatever... It does the job quite well thank you. What should I trash it and replace it with something 4 times more expensive?
      • Re:Would I buy one? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by smash (1351) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:01AM (#43345849) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft killed RT in an epic case of one hand not talking to the other, and corporate greed (to force people to go for Pro - which also falls through the cracks as a device without a real market - it's too big and heavy - essentially its a laptop with a shitty keyboard that you can't use without a desk). Enable RT to be domain joined/managed, give it a half decent screen and you'd see corporate sales pick up.

        As it is, they disabled all that and gave it a shitty screen compared to the iPad - so no consumer in their right mind will want it. Corporates won't want it either as it is not managable via active directory.

        So.... it managed to hit that segment of the market that doesn't exist. Way to go Microsoft!

  • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @12:46AM (#43344975)

    Even forgoing "backwards compatibility" with x86 apps, maybe, maybe if you could actually compile desktop applications for it it would be a slightly more attractive platform, but being stuck with nothing but Office and what's available in Metro? It just isn't going to live up to many buyers desires or expectations.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Even forgoing "backwards compatibility" with x86 apps, maybe, maybe if you could actually compile desktop applications for it it would be a slightly more attractive platform, but being stuck with nothing but Office and what's available in Metro? It just isn't going to live up to many buyers desires or expectations.

      Oh, I don't know. I figure everyone who were talked into buying a Windows CE laptop back in the day is probably a candidate for Windows RT.

      • by tftp (111690)

        I figure everyone who were talked into buying a Windows CE laptop back in the day is probably a candidate for Windows RT.

        Back then they didn't know any better. CE was better than PalmOS. The market is mature now, and it is ruled by iOS and Android. WinCE and WinRT are in the noise, for very good (and different) reasons.

        Microsoft is in a bad position. It has to compete with two excellent and zero-cost OSes that are not encumbered with legacy expectations and are designed specifically to do what they do.

    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:56AM (#43345253)
      It's also a marketing problem. What the hell is the difference between Windows RT, Windows RT Pro, Windows 8, Windows 7? Wait, there's no Windows RT Pro, but there's a Surface RT and Surface Pro, right? What's the difference again? One is thicker than the other, and the cheaper one runs ARM. I would do more research, but I just don't care enough. I'm sure I'm not the only one. People just want shit that works, they don't care if runs on ARM or x86.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Strictly speaking, this is actually possible. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2096820 [xda-developers.com]
      It requires some hacks, though, and RT is missing most of the legacy libraries plus missing any form of OpenGL support. Nonetheless, there are a reasonable handful of programs which have been ported ( http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2092348 [xda-developers.com] ) and a few written specifically for (desktop mode) RT ( http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2095934 [xda-developers.com] ).

  • Let me guess... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @12:58AM (#43345033)

    Redmond is gonna blame OEMs for this one too eh?

    (Reference: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/24/windows_8_blame_game/ [theregister.co.uk])

    • by sjames (1099)

      Yes. If those candy ass OEMs would have just used rope and a rubber hose in their marketing campaigns it would have been just fine.

  • by TheGeneration (228855) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:01AM (#43345051) Journal

    I just don't understand who the core audience for windows is any more. Who are they trying to sell to?

    Office workers? Great, Windows is a pretty good system for that usage since office workers have admins that can unf*ck their system when they pick up a virus off browser exploits.

    What about the 90% of home users who aren't computer professionals? Are they better off with a Windows operating system that comes preloaded with so much bloatware it can make in Intel i7 chip work hard just to boot? What about when good old Mom or Dad accidentally downloads that trojan horse "anti-virus" that takes over her system to the point where it is unusable? Is Windows still a good value for them then? Wouldn't they have been better off buying a mac with it's easier to use interface, bloatware free on day 1, and far fewer viruses circulating?

    Gamers of course are stuck with windows since so many games use Direct X instead of OpenGL.

    What about programmers? Windows is SH!T for programming (unless of course you are developing windows applications.) Mac OSX and Linux are both far superior for programming. (OSX after all is a posix compliant Unix Operating System under the hood.) Considering how limited DOS was (and, apparently no longer even present in the current windows) programming from the command line in a Unix/Linux machine is a far far superior option.

    So if you're an office drone, or a gamer you're really the only two people who still have a reason to have Windows.

    • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:11AM (#43345095)

      Nevermind who Windows is "good for", let's look at what Windows has going for it:

      1 - A ton of users familiar with its desktop UI
      2 - The mother-load of desktop software
      3 - A ton of games compiled for native x86/x64
      4 - Office

      With Windows RT Microsoft basically said "Screw #1. Screw #2. Screw #3." That leaves a tablet for .. people who want to use Office on.. a tablet? Oh and they also added Metro. Except that the market for portable devices is already full of app platforms that are far more established.

      Why would you buy a Windows RT tablet? Beats me. Clearly someone thought they could toss their core value propositions but win in the app space because... because something?

      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:31AM (#43345165) Homepage

        Windows 8 is a massive paradigm change. The only people using Windows 8 are those forced to replace their computers. Microsoft's whole point around Windows 8 is that it's a thin-client. All future applications and data will be stored in the "cloud". See Office 365 and SkyDrive for example. The idea of CPU architecture should only be important to the software developers, not the end user. Again, the idea being your data in the "cloud" is architecturally agnostic. Never mind the fact that the Windows 8 UI is an anathema to end user multitasking. They still haven't figure that out after the preview of Windows 9. In fact, they actively do not want too. The corporate world reality is an inconvenient truth. The disconnect will always be there from the start of Windows 8.

      • Microsoft seems to be tied to the Windows brand when it is not appropriate and even harmful to the prospects of a product. Would you buy a Microsoft Windows Xbox?

        Windows RT brought to mind all the negatives of the Windows brand: viruses, instability, insecurity.
        Yet the Windows RT name here, as DigitAl56K noted above, did not include the brand positives: Familiar UI, existing software and games.

        Coming up with a new product name is difficult, especially for a global company. Using the existing brand plus tw

        • by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:11AM (#43345289) Homepage

          The worst problem is that the brand name *implies* a familiar interface and existing software, leaving users extremely disappointed and frustrated when they find those two factors lacking.

          MS seems to have an obsession with putting the windows brand everywhere, they are seemingly too arrogant to realise that their brand is viewed extremely negatively by many and only tolerated because in its core markets users are stuck with it or even completely unaware that alternatives exist.

          They are like the east german trabant, a car almost universally derided and yet people still queue up to get one because nothing better is available to them.

          In the phone and tablet markets, users are not locked in to windows, non windows systems are well known and widely available.

        • Don't know about that.. they could have just called it the Microsoft View (your new view into the online world). About 30 seconds... no windows name.. but they could have said... fully compatible with "Windows 8 games" (meaning win store apps had to work on the RT tablet)...

          RT isn't bad.. and for new development it's decent.. MS's problem is both screwing over their vendors, their customers, pricing themselves out of the market and to top it all off, using the "Windows" name where it clearly shouldn't b
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by evilviper (135110)

        1. Users are NOT familiar with the Windows UI. The UI changes every damn release, in substantial ways, requiring retraining or lots of trial and error. Ironically, Windows 7 with its new large task bar and large icons, looks almost exactly like my GNOME 0.9x desktop on Slackware Linux 3.x, circa 1996.

        2. Windows has a lot of software to fill in missing pieces and fix broken-ness of the OS, which are entirely unnecessary in other OSes. You bet, Windows has a lot of disk defragmenter programs, and Linux h

        • by flimflammer (956759) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @03:29AM (#43345555)

          1. Users are NOT familiar with the Windows UI. The UI changes every damn release, in substantial ways, requiring retraining or lots of trial and error. Ironically, Windows 7 with its new large task bar and large icons, looks almost exactly like my GNOME 0.9x desktop on Slackware Linux 3.x, circa 1996.

          No, the theme changes. The UI design itself has stood relatively untouched since its inception. Most major UI changes up until Windows 8 were purely cosmetic and almost universally had a means to revert to older forms.

          It wasn't until Windows 8 when achieving any of the older functionality was pretty much universally removed.

        • Users are NOT familiar with the Windows UI. The UI changes every damn release, in substantial ways, requiring retraining or lots of trial and error.

          Win 95 and 8 are the only ones where it really changed, actually; the last version I used before installing Linux was XP, yet I had no trouble working with my mother's Windows 7 PC on a consumer level when introduced to it a year or two ago. It's also important to note that there was little-to-no "trial and error" for most users in the transition to Windows 95 -- MS pretty clearly designed the ad campaign in the months leading up to 95's release (including the choice of theme song) so it would double as us

      • by Krneki (1192201)

        Thanks to Unity3D now there is a ton of games for every OS.

        Sure, they are not spectacular as the high end PC games, but we are not talking about this type of games now.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Windows is a terrible system for office workers, it is expensive, unreliable, insecure... Sure the admins can fix the system once the users have screwed it, but thats a classic case of treating the symptoms... Far better would be to have a system that didn't break in the first place.

      Windows is also a terrible platform for gaming, the overhead of the os plus any third party cruft has a significant impact on the performance of games...

      Home users are actually better off with a walled garden system like an ipad

    • by Krneki (1192201)

      Every OS comes with bloatware when bought in a store. Even the phone, there is so much crap on it it's unbelievable.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      Everybody knows exactly who is the core audience for M$ Windows, it's the major shareholders. Those justifying the position of Uncle Fester Balmer being of Uncle Fester Balmer must shoot out new products in the hopes of convincing the major shareholders the keeping Uncle Fester Balmer in that position is sane no matter how many insane failures M$ has fired out under Uncle Fester Balmer's directions.

      So Windows RT a blind loony shot in the dark with no real targeted market in mind just a crazily imagined.

  • Fire sale? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by longbot (789962) <longbottle@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:03AM (#43345063) Homepage
    I, for one, cannot wait for the clearance fire sale as MS dumps and runs from the tablet market. I love my $150 32GB HP Touchpad!
    • by ocratato (2501012)

      Since its locked down so it can only run Windows RT, and the App Store would probably be shut down, what are you going to do with it?

      • by longbot (789962)
        I take it you don't remember this [cnet.com].
        • by ocratato (2501012)

          To quote from the referenced article:

          "The specific value can't be permanently altered on devices enabled with Secure Boot"

          So not much use really.

          • by longbot (789962)
            I am aware of that. It however proves that the device can be hacked, which means the hardware has some value on it's own.
            • by symbolset (646467) *
              Not really, no. They were really careful to make sure that without Windows RT these devices are paperweights. There is not, and is not likely to be, a crack in time for it to be a useful hacked device while the hardware is still interesting. Buy a secondhand Transformer Prime for $150 on eBay instead - that's all this is anyway, except the TF201 doesn't have this lockdown problem.
      • by sjames (1099)

        To make it really useful, you'd need to flash a proper bootloader on it and install a proper OS on it. That procedure might or might not involve a soldering iron.

        • by tftp (111690)

          To make it really useful, you'd need to flash a proper bootloader on it and install a proper OS on it. That procedure might or might not involve a soldering iron.

          I might be technically capable of this work, but what financial or other reasons would I have to bother? It is not trivial to open a tablet that is glued together and is not designed to be opened. It is not trivial to solder a JTAG connector, or to make a needle probe jig for connecting to onboard test points. It is not trivial to develop the ne

  • The only way these could have succeeded was to price them below Android and recover the losses from the App Store.

    The way these are heading, we will see Microsoft soon abandon them and because of their locked down nature they will be consigned to landfill.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Well they built 3 million and have sold 1.1 million so far. Since the stock is getting old (hell, it was born old in mobile-device time) something has to break.
  • by pecosdave (536896) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:27AM (#43345147) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't say these things are priced into the dangerously low zone. They're still more expensive than the equivalent Android tablets and right around iProduct pricing. Even if I could put Android on one there wouldn't be a reason to buy one for that reason, a native Android tablet would still be the better dollar based choice.

  • by chentiangemalc (1710624) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @01:48AM (#43345221) Homepage
    so I've been using Surface RT 64 GB as my primary device now for several weeks. The good * working with office documents clearly superior than existing tablets * jail break to run .NET (non-WPF) and re-compiled native apps to ARM is great. I have SharpDevelop, full C# IDE on tablet and it works great. * remote desktop capabilities works great * can achieve 80wpm+ on the "touch" cover The bad: * The Windows Store Apps/Games suck big time * Windows Store Apps Quality * Windows Store Apps Launch Speed * No official SDK to compile desktop apps to ARM * jailbreak required to run 3rd party desktop apps * Mail app search is totally non functional for me (but works on my Windows 8 x64 dev) * Not sure if Touch Cover will be durable * Screen too reflective * Auto brightness is either lacking totally or works poorly * can't dual boot an alternate OS (yet) * gcc not ported yet to target Windows RT (ARM) desktop apps * WinDbg for ARM not publicly available * citrix Client is TERRIBLE (worse than iPad/Android versions) HTML5 client is slightly better. I find overall I'm happy with it,use it to remotely access full Virtual Desktop with external monitor and keyboard/mouse, and then take it away to cafes &c or crammed public transport for document reviews/editing/creation. In my opinion main thing MS needs to do: unlock desktop apps (at least as system setting) and rapidly get QUALITY in Windows Store, and ensure apps like MAIL search works flawlessly and launch time is super quick. I think the product has potential but if the app quality issue is no rectified fast doubt it can survive.
    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:12AM (#43345291)

      When you mentioned "the bad", you forgot to include the apparent inability to format Slashdot posts.

      • When you mentioned "the bad", you forgot to include the apparent inability to format Slashdot posts.

        Or that RT disables mandatory previews, for that matter.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      The problem there is that windows applications are primarily closed source, so even if you can recompile existing applications and run them many apps don't come with source code, and the majority of those that do are cross platform and probably already worked on arm based linux long before windows rt existed.

    • Did you post this from your RT POS machine? Or do you need to pause and take a breath because you talk nonstop like that? I ask because somehow you neglected to put line-breaks at anyplace appropriate in your posting, like perhaps just before the "good" and the "bad".
      :>p
      Line breaks, and paragraph marks, or even emoticons of a face sticking a tongue out at you, help break a document into logical parts and make it easier for people to read. Oh, wait, I get it. You were trying to demonstrate another f
  • Isn't Windows RT pretty much Windows 8 without the normal Desktop mode?

    That would pretty make it a statement that Metro itself is a failure, and what's more we're talking about a tablet device, the very thing the Metro interface was created for.

    Forget trying to make it work for a desktop OS, Microsoft. Your creation can't even cut it on its home turf.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      It actually has the normal desktop mode. Office, the legacy Control Panel, Windows Explorer, all the old admin tools (from Task Manager to Registry Editor and Local Security Policy editor), all the command-line or scripting environments (CMD and PowerShell, plus WSH scripts), the built-in Remote Desktop (there's another one in the store), and one of the two Internet Explorer modes (the one that looks like, and includes all the features of, IE9 on Win7) all must run in the Desktop. It's definitely still ther

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        This is really for the grandparent. Nobody can write apps for the desktop mode of Windows RT except Microsoft. It is forbidden. Also, the "desktop" doesn't support legacy apps. Sideloading is likewise forbidden, and it's not Win32 capable anyway as it's ARM. These bits of trivia were overlooked by the parent poster for some unknowable reason, even though they were the point of your question.
  • Windows advantages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:35AM (#43345377) Homepage Journal

    In the enterprise market, iPads and iPhones are everywhere. The reason Microsoft could in theory have won back that enterprise market was providing a device that:

    1. Could join a domain and be managed by Microsoft tools
    2. Run existing Windows legacy apps

    So Microsoft provided

    1. An OS/tablet that can't join a domain to be managed by Microsoft tools
    2. Can't run Windows legacy apps

    So is arguably worse than existing Android/iOS tablets on price and hardware. The software provides less value. And the OS eats up all your storage space.

    Honestly, I can't see anyone making an argument for buying a Windows RT tablet.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:52AM (#43345455) Homepage

    but my surface RT is the best travel computer I've ever owned. When I'm on the road I don't need to compile apps or do heavy lifting. I need to check email, use word / excel and browse the web. So why is it better than any regular tablet? It's as light as a tablet when I want tablet mode but has support for a real mouse / keyboard when I don't.

    • but my surface RT is the best travel computer I've ever owned. When I'm on the road I don't need to compile apps or do heavy lifting. I need to check email, use word / excel and browse the web. So why is it better than any regular tablet? It's as light as a tablet when I want tablet mode but has support for a real mouse / keyboard when I don't.

      This is a trick question. A portable computer with a keyboard and mouse is called a laptop not a tablet.

    • Don't most tablets support a real mouse & keyboard via Bluetooth/USB?

  • Microsoft: You keep doing it wrong.

    You want to compete in the tablet market? GREAT! I say WELCOME even. There is/was room for Microsoft in the market. Create your own snazzy tablet interface? Well, what I saw of it was kinda cool but I'm already used to small icons and stuff but the dynamic favorites looking main screen thing seems fine with me too. And I loved that you started out by getting Angry Birds ported over to your new platform. But here's where you screwed up.

    You decided that everything sho

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