Microsoft admits Windows RT is inflexible, could disappear

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Microsoft admits Windows RT is inflexible, could disappear

Microsofts’s Executive Vice President of Devices and Studios, Julie Larson-Green, has strongly hinted that Windows RT could be disappearing from the Windows line-up at some point in the future. IN a Q&A session at the UBS Global Technology Summit earlier in the week, Larson-Green was asked about the initial launch of Surface and the confusion that the existence of Windows RT caused.

Hear the word Windows and you probably immediately think of the desktop version of Windows 8.1 — it’s easy to forget that Windows RT exists, and Windows Phone is usually thought of as being an entirely separate entity. At Microsoft, these are seen as three branches from the same tree, but it is fair to say that there has been some confusion about the difference between Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

In the Q&A session, Larson-Green agreed that both consumers and suppliers had been confused by the two variants of Windows 8, going on to say that the aim with Windows RT was to create a “closed, turnkey experience” much like Apple has done with iOS. Explaining the reason for the two different branches of Windows, Larson-Green said that the aim was to create one system that delivered the full power of a PC, and another that provided the simplicity of a tablet.

She did admit that the goal had not been explained “super-well” and said that more could have been done to differentiate between the two. She also went as far as saying that Windows RT “doesn’t have all the flexibility of Windows”. But what she says next is particularly interesting.

“We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three. We do think there’s a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn’t have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we’re continuing down that path.”

So what is meant by those six little word “we’re not going to have three”?

There are a few options open to Microsoft here. Windows Phone and RT could be merged into a single mobile platform, Windows RT could be renamed so as not to include the Windows name and hopefully eliminate confusion, or Windows RT could just be completely dropped.

Which route do you think makes the most sense? Was Windows RT badly thought out? Can Microsoft rescue the platform and make it a success?