Microsoft Corporate VP Defends Windows RT

Look who’s on the offensive. Windows RT isn’t doing exactly ‘great’. I wouldn’t say poorly, but it certainly isn’t selling like hotcakes either.

Now in an interview with CNET, Microsoft’ corporate VP of Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem Michael Angiulo has spoke up about Windows RT’s future, an OS he doesn’t seem to think is going away anytime soon:

It was a ton of work for us and we didn’t do the work and endure the disruption for any reason other than the fact that there’s a strategy there that just gets stronger over time.

Looking at things now like power performance and standby time and passive [fanless] form factors. When we launched Windows 8, it was really competitive with a full-sized iPad. A lot of that was made possible by the ARM [chip] architecture.

Angiulo than goes on to state that ARM processors are continuing to evolve and that the future for ARM-based Windows tablets looks bright. Of course he doesn’t say RT, just “ARM based”, which could mean something OR it could mean nothing.

For those out there that complain that you can’t run a bunch of full desktop apps on RT? Microsoft’s Angiulo had a response for that as well:

People are talking about legacy desktop software not running, but they don’t think about the customer benefit of only running modern apps. […] Let’s say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]. That’s the kind of model people are used to with a phone ortablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] Store and reset with a single switch.

So, on Windows RT, the user experience stays consistent over time. That’s a big benefit. And as the number of apps grow in the store, that value promise only gets stronger.

While I’m personally mixed about the merit of ARM-based Windows tablets running RT, I have to applaud Michael Angiulo for pointing out several valid reasons for using RT, something that Microsoft has been slow to point out in the past (at least in my opinion).

To summarize, here’s some of the key points FOR Windows RT:

  • slimmer design in most cases
  • a fanless form factor
  • better battery life, less power consumption
  • an apps-only experience means that everything is synced to your Windows account, so if your machine breaks – your important apps are easy to reinstall on a new device with less hassle.
  • (He doesn’t actually mention this one) Office RT included.

The big question is if these points are enough to sale a customer. Of course looking at the key points AGAINST Windows RT… there isn’t much. The only key point that I can instantly think of is legacy app support. If that doesn’t matter to you at all, there is really more positive points to RT than negative.

Of course Intel’s Trail platform is just around the corner bringing very lower power consumption and increased battery life that might be able to give ARM chips a better run for the money.

Bottom-line, there are reasons why RT is worth getting but we need more. How can we get there? I’d say that offering 7 and 8-inch ARM-based tablets would be a good start. Moving away some of the desktop mode aspects of RT would also help. If we can only use Office RT and a few other Microsoft utilities on the traditional desktop, why do we have to be forced there for things like Task Manager?

What do you think, does Windows RT have merit or is it a product that Microsoft will eventually kill either in favor of going back fully to x86 Windows or simply introducing a new version of Windows that simply kills the desktop altogether? Share your thoughts below.

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