Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Microsoft to Discount RT OS

Microsoft are in the game for the long run, that's for sure.  In fact anyone who has watched Microsoft over the years will realise that the one thing they do really well is the long game.  I guess Alpha testing is in the other camp seeing as they always leave the really tricky testing to the likes of you and me.

Historically they've tended to be a one product company - Windows 95 replaced Windows 3.1.1, ME unfortunately replaced Windows 95.  Somewhere along the way Vista came and went, thank goodness and Windows 7 replaced it.  XP, still used by many, was officially dumped by Vista and that has to be the cruellest fate for an OS ever.  Then about a year ago Microsoft did something that they've not tried before, they launched two operating systems simultaneously, or as near as dammit. 

They launched Windows 8 and Windows RT, which is a cut down version of Windows 8.  In fact, it's not the Windows 8 functionality that's the cut down part, it's the compatibility with Windows 7 that's missing.  And on the whole Windows 7 is still a major player in the PC world - let's face it, unlike Vista, it ain't broke.

But that's not to say you shouldn't be looking at Windows 8, if you've got a smart screen enabled PC.  Probably you don't have many right now, but I'm guessing that we're not going to be able to buy anything but in the next few years, so as your old laptops and desktops fall by the wayside, or your monitors spontaneously fry, you'll be buying smart screen replacements and the logic of Windows 8 will become more obvious.

In the meantime Microsoft want to establish Windows 8 with us all - that static desktop image is so last year - and they think that RT, cut down version that it is, is the way to do it.

I'm using RT right now, on my Microsoft Surface RT, and it's working for me.  But then again my range of software requirements are fairly minimal - I use Word and Excel, Internet Explorer, I search for stuff using Bing and Google, I use webmail and I use the various tools that Microsoft provide like calendar, Bing Money, Weather and a few items I've downloaded for free from the Windows App store.  Oh, and I'm loving the Xbox music app to stream free music.

Now Microsoft want to push RT out further.  It's designed to run on mobile phone type processors using ARM technology and they think that some of the seven inch tablets appearing on the scene should be using RT.  I agree, especially if they throw in the Microsoft Word and Excel options because that's something nobody can compete with and takes tablet computing into grown up territory.

They're not winning the battle at the moment - that would be Apple iOS and Android, but my guess is that any device capable of running Android can be reconfigured to host RT fairly easily, although a dual boot option might be one for the techies out there.  The fact is that the next big sales period is in the third quarter, with the Holidays being the big time for deciding what is going to lead the pack.  Did I mention Microsoft are in this for the long haul?

I expect that RT will be pushed with a little help from Microsoft discounting the OS, probably big time.  Because people who have RT on their tablet are more likely to want Windows 8 on their laptop and, because Microsoft have thought this through, on their mobile phone too.

Once RT becomes a viable alternative to Android we may see some really dirty competition starting in the tablet market.  And that, for me, is a good thing.


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