A top Dell executive warned Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer not to call its new tablet operating system “Windows RT” because the operating system wasn’t compatible with other versions of Windows and the name would only lead to widespread confusion.
Speaking to analysts at the Dell World conference in Austin last week, Dell’s vice-chairman and president of its PC business, Jeffrey Clarke, said he told Mr Ballmer the “Windows” brand was meant to signify that an operating system was compatible with Windows applications. As Windows RT couldn’t run Windows applications, it should be renamed, he said.
Mr Ballmer had replied that the Windows brand was too important a franchise to not be used with Windows RT, Mr Clarke said.
Had Microsoft listened to Dell, it could have avoided one of the major criticisms of its new operating system: that Windows RT looks so much like Windows 8 it’s too easy for a consumer to mistakenly buy a Windows RT device, not realising it’s not a regular Windows device.
Instead, Microsoft has reportedly had to offer relaxed return policies for its own “Surface with Windows RT” tablet, specifically for customers who got the tablet home only to discover their favourite Windows applications wouldn’t run on it.
They could always have called it Windows Mobile. Oops, that’s been used. Maybe just something more distinctive than "RT" would do? How about Windows Zune?
Actually, I would worry more about consumers buying a PC with Windows 8 and not realizing it isn’t a regular Windows device.
It will not be launched until October 26, but Microsoft today lifted the curtain on their Surface tablet and announced that preorders were being taken at the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft Corp. today released new details about its highly anticipated Microsoft Surface, a tablet PC designed to be the ultimate stage for Windows. In addition to pricing and market availability, the company announced a special limited-quantity pre-order for Surface with Windows RT available 9 a.m. PDT.
Surface will be available for purchase beginning Oct. 26, 2012, at all Microsoft Store locations in the United States and Canada, including in all 34 new holiday stores. In addition, Surface will be available for sale online in eight markets across the world: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The whole enchilada is available at Surface.com. The pricing appears to be designed to match Apple’s iPad while adding somewhat more hardware for the buck. That’s not a bad plan, but the question will be whether it is enough to catch up with Apple’s huge lead. As for the "ultimate stage for Windows," the Microsoft marketers need to curb the hyperbole – there might be regular business Windows customers listening.
Preceded by a Launch Event in New York City on October 25.
Microsoft’s KIN phone didn’t last long – it was announced in April and killed today in favor of the mainline Windows Phone program:
Amid anemic sales, Microsoft has decided to halt work on its Kin phone less than two months after the product hit the market.
The social media-oriented phone will not make its planned European debut and Microsoft is shifting the entire Kin team to work on Windows Phone 7, the Microsoft smartphone operating system due out later this year. Andy Lees, who heads up the company’s cell phone efforts announced the move to Microsoft workers earlier on Wednesday, according to a source close to the company.
A Microsoft spokesman later confirmed the news.
With Microsoft’s decision, it is now unclear whether there will ever be software updates to the phone, including one originally planned for this summer. Over the weekend, Verizon cut the price on the two Kin models by as much as 50 percent.
Microsoft won’t say how much it spent on the Kin launch, but it has been backed by significant TV, Web, and print and radio advertising campaigns.
Neither Verizon nor Microsoft would say how many devices were sold, but a source told CNET that the number of Kins sold thus far is more than 1,000 but south of 10,000–significantly below expectations.
"We don’t share sales data or marketing strategies but the device remains an important part of our portfolio," a Verizon representative said in a statement.
Roz Ho, the Microsoft executive who lead the unit that developed the Kin will oversee the transition of the team and then move to an as-yet-determined role at the company, according to a source.
Every company makes missteps, but this one is destined to be a classic right up there with the Edsel.