Is it Curtains for Windows 8 RT?

By now, our readers are probably familiar with the weak sales performance of Windows 8 RT, personified in the Surface RT.

The Surface RT was released on October 26th, 2012, together with the general release of Windows 8. Since then, it has struggled to gain traction with poor sales, few PC makers getting on board, bad press and mixed reviews.

It didn’t help that the ARM-based systems couldn’t run legacy x86 programs – they were never designed to – but potential buyers took that as a negative. Some actual buyers were reported to have returned their Surface RT systems after they found this out.

It also didn’t help when Samsung very publicly canceled their plans to launch its Ativ Windows RT tablet.


Samsung Cancels Plans to Launch its Ativ Windows RT tablets in the U.S.


Many potential buyers therefore chose to sit on the sidelines and wait for the Surface Pro and other tablets based on Intel processors that could run standard Windows programs. These are just being launched, with the Surface Pro going on sale later this month.

Now, following the International CES in Las Vegas, Ben Bajarin of TabTimes suggests that Windows 8 RT is dead.  As in “dead as a doornail”.  He says:

Windows RT is dead.  Perhaps it felt this way because Microsoft was not actually at CES with a large booth showing off key product areas, but Windows RT was practically non-existent. At every major event where the big PC brands were showing off their hottest new devices, not a single one was showing an RT device.

No Windows 8 RT systems on display is a serious indicator and tied in with product cancellations like Samsung’s, means that the market has pivoted to Windows 8 based tablets.  The fact also that some of these tablets have the same price point as the Surface RT very likely strikes the death knell for Windows 8 RT.

If Windows 8 RT is dead, what the implications for Microsoft?  Was it even worth it to launch Windows 8 RT-based tablets?  Sound off in our discussion below.

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