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.