Windows RT could be axed, suggests Microsoft exec

Microsoft has said it will be reducing its range of consumer operating systems, with Windows RT in line for the scrap heap.

During a discussion at the UBS Global Technology Conference, Microsoft Devices Chief Julie Larson-Green (previously head of the Windows Division), said Microsoft has too many operating systems for consumers and is looking to streamline.

“We have the Windows Phone OS, we have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three”, said Larson-Green.

Reiterating previous Microsoft statements that Windows RT had confused consumers, Larson-Green added that the company had made marketing and positioning mistakes with the OS.

In fact, the mistakes made with the Windows RT OS meant Microsoft incurred $900m costs due to poor Surface RT sales.

“The goal was to deliver two kinds of experiences into the market: the full power of your Windows PC, and the simplicity of a tablet experience that can also be productive. I think we didn’t explain that super-well. I think we didn’t differentiate the devices well enough. They looked similar. Using them is similar.”

Microsoft seems to be looking for a unified, mobile friendly edition of Windows, but still wants to differentiate the intensive desktop version.

“[Windows RT] just didn’t do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there’s been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows. How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you’ll see us continue to differentiate it more.”

There has been talk about a future where Microsoft has a single version of Windows that covers all devices from Windows Phone to desktop.

However, Larson-Green said the company still believes there is a strong demand for mobile-orientated operating systems.

“We do think there’s a world where there is a more mobile operating 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.”

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