Microsoft’s Loss With Surface. Has Windows RT Failed?


Has Windows RT failed? This is the million dollar question on the mind of every tech enthusiast. RT was designed as a variant of Windows 8 using ARM architecture. It was officially presented in 2012 along with the launch of three flagship tablets. The RT operating system came pre-installed on these devices only. In spite of some heady market buzz, the Surface RT proved to be a massive failure in terms of overall sales.  Microsoft then offered the Surface Pro at hugely discounted rates. Why did the Surface RT fail? Can Microsoft still salvage the situation?

Features And Advantages Of The Windows RT Operating System

The Windows RT operating system came with certain advantages and features including the ARM platform. This was taken to be a guarantee of greater power efficiency and higher battery life as a result. Hardware designs could be slimmed down considerably along with increased reliability. Touch-optimization of available applications gave an overall mobile operating system experience on the Windows RT. Microsoft Office 2013 was also included as a special version with the RT OS.

Is Windows RT Different From Windows 8?

Windows RT tablets are quite different from the Windows 8 tablets. It does not have the immensely popular Windows Media Player. It uses multimedia applications available on the Windows Store including Xbox Music and video applications, and also Netflix. MS Office 2013 comes in student and home versions. These versions require appropriate volume licenses in order to be used for commercial purposes. Pre-loaded software compatibility is at a minimum, and takes only applications like Office, File Explorer and Internet Explorer into account. Also, applications compatible with earlier Windows operating systems cannot be used on the RT.

Users cannot use networks for logging into particular domains on the Windows RT. There is no support for device management using Group Policy.

The Failure Of The Microsoft Surface RT And The Reasons For The Same

The Microsoft Surface RT fared badly in markets with fiscal earnings bordering on the lower extreme. Combined revenue for the Surface RT and Pro stood at only $853 million. In contrast, 900 million dollars were invested only on the Surface RT, and an additional $898 million was allocated for marketing and advertising expenses.

As can roughly be seen, close to six million units of the Surface RT are lying unsold, which speaks volumes about its market appeal. As per official clarifications, the Surface RT was supposed to sell across ten thousand retailing spots, and in close to thirty markets.

The Surface RT failed on account of many factors. The product suffered due to limited selection support for applications. Further, it skimped on power and included outdated hardware. There was no support for popular apps that many longtime Windows users expected. The Nvidia Tegra processor failed to woo critics while earlier Windows apps remained unsupported. The Surface Pro itself seemed a better bargain. Most importantly, the market was filled with tablets which provided better value for money as compared to the Surface RT.

The Surface Pro Story

Microsoft Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro tablets were offered at sudden and lucrative discounts after the failure of the Surface RT. Discounts of a hundred dollars were offered to customers on both 128 and 64 GB models. The Surface Pro failed to woo critics and consumers as well owing to its poor battery life. Microsoft has to work out new marketing methods and sales strategies to ensure improved market performance.

Arjun Gandivardhan is a tech blogger and have an avid interest in gadgets, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. He also write’s for