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DisARMed: Microsoft kills Windows RT - Surface 2 - What went wrong

leeshor

Well-Known Member
It's not purely subsidizing. Micrsoft and Intel have been very cozy for a very long time. Neither of them have any love for Qualcom or nVidia.
 

zhenya

Active Member
I take a bit of a different view about the Surface line. I think that it was developed for two reasons - one was for Microsoft to hedge against a future where their x86 tablets weren't competitive. By building the Surface on ARM they would not be caught completely unprepared for one potential path to the future.

The real key of the issue, however, is slightly different. At the time of the original Surface's release, Intel was far, far behind ARM in power consumption and not showing any significant motivation to change. Their ATOM chips were the only thing available in real low power, and they were being let to rot on the vine. The development of Windows for ARM was Microsoft's way of forcing Intel to get on board with low-power chips. It worked, and now low power, high performance x86 tablets are a work-able reality. Hence there is no longer any good reason for Microsoft to produce ARM devices.
 
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GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
I take a bit of a different view about the Surface line. I think that it was developed for two reasons - one was for Microsoft to hedge against a future where their x86 tablets weren't competitive. By building the Surface on ARM they would not be caught completely unprepared for one potential path to the future.

The real key of the issue, however, is slightly different. At the time of the original Surface's release, Intel was far, far behind ARM in power consumption and not showing any significant motivation to change. Their ATOM chips were the only thing available in real low power, and they were being let to rot on the vine. The development of Windows for ARM was Microsoft's way of forcing Intel to get on board with low-power chips. It worked, and now low power, high performance x86 tablets are a work-able reality. Hence there is no longer any good reason for Microsoft to produce ARM devices.
That's pretty much the conventional wisdom on the subject.

Intel is close on SoC wattage and CPU performance, still lags on GPU performance but the missing SoC features means you still need an extra bag of parts to make devices. That means more space, more power, more weight, more engineering and manufacturing work. More logistics and supply chain management.

Maybe Intel is close enough, maybe not. I would not be taking that iron out of the fire yet and mobile phones is not the presence needed. The next challenge is the important one.

Looming larger than the underlying OS & hardware platforms though is the APPs race. That's likely to determine the outcome this time around as it did in the 80s & 90s when x86 Windows apps knocked the incumbents off their stool. This is a critical time though and a year delay to warm up a new entrant and a couple more to reach maturity will mean; game over.

Perhaps this is it, the last big move... going all in with the hand you have because you're out of time.
 
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zhenya

Active Member
Maybe Intel is close enough, maybe not. I would not be taking that iron out of the fire yet and mobile phones is not the presence needed. The next challenge is the important one.

Well it looks like with Windows 10 they are moving in the direction many said they should have gone from the start - one mobile OS for phones and basic tablets, and regular Windows for more powerful tablets. The original question with the Surface RT was not just 'why?' It was 'why a third Windows OS?'.
 
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GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well it looks like with Windows 10 they are moving in the direction many said they should have gone from the start - one mobile OS for phones and basic tablets, and regular Windows for more powerful tablets. The original question with the Surface RT was not just 'why?' It was 'why a third Windows OS?'.
Well there's OS's and then there's OS versions... Already we have the Windows 10 Surface Hub version, and the phone version, and the tablet version, plus the Home, Pro, Enterprise versions, the Embedded & IoT versions, etc. but they are all going to be called Windows 10. Don't kid yourself, these aren't the same any more than 250 distributions of Linux are the same.

Yep, they did some consolidation and reorganization then it went into replication again. :)
 
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GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update via Anandtech
http://www.anandtech.com/show/8925/windows-rt-will-not-get-windows-10-update

...
There were advantages to Windows RT of course, with little chance of malware finding its way onto the system, but the Windows Store ecosystem still lags behind iOS and Android as far as the number of tablet apps available.​

It is disappointing to see support dropped so quickly, and of course harkens back to the Windows Phone 7 owners who did not get a Windows Phone 8 upgrade, but in the same vein, some work appears to be underway to bring some of the Windows 10 features to the short lived ARM version of Windows. The strangest part is that with the Hardware Abstraction Layer work already done, the amount of work to bring Windows 10 to the Surface RT and Surface 2 should be minimal, and with Windows Phone being replaced with Windows 10, universal apps will still have to be compiled for ARM chips, making the abandonment of the devices a strange notion when Windows 10 is going to be offered as a free upgrade.​

Source: Paul Thurrott

via ZDNet
http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-says-goodbye-to-the-windows-rt-surface-2/
Mainstream support for Windows RT will last until January 12, 2016
support for Windows RT 8.1 expires on January 9, 2018.

3 years to go.
 

SEANT

Member
The Value Proposition.

Regardless of what SoC architecture they chose to use, Microsoft needed to tailor the tablet value proposition to their fan base; the desktop user. Al least, initially.


Development of Windows RT catered too much to a saturated, and well served consumer market. Sure, it gave a curt nod to productivity (perhaps too little to not be an affront to any hard core Windows user), but, if a desktop user needed to learn a new UI anyway, might as well go with an incumbent.

Microsoft saw a big market, and wanted to go there, away from what they knew, away from a base that already appreciated what they were all about.

It’s kind of like a girl scout that has a limited time to sell cookies. She could go across town, to the high rent district, and compete with the resident girl scouts there. Or, stay local and visit the homes of families that watched her grow up. It may not be the neighborhood of the mega rich, but should allow her to reap all the benefits of their affection.
 
I'm not as savvy on the details, I'm just disappointed. My Surface RT has been the perfect size for me. I'll probably consider the PRO 3 when my RT actually gives up the ghost I was ready to upgrade before it was absolutely necessary, but I guess I'll just take a wait and see attitude, maybe somebody will fill the gap. ARM was perfect for me.
 

Kif

Active Member
I think as much as anything it was too little too late. iOS and Android already had a big step into the market. Microsoft has been late to market before but their competition wasn't as large or competent as Apple and Google. It was always going to be an uphill battle for Microsoft but they didn't do themselves any favors. Even though it didn't succeed I think it was a move Microsoft had to try. There was always lingering questions when will Microsoft throw their hat into the ring. Now we know the answer.
 
From the info that oion shows, it appears they will support the Surface 2 for the next three years. I may still try to find one at a decent price. I like the format and it meets my needs. If I had a crystal ball as regards what's coming next, I might wait, but with what I know now, getting something that will work for me for the next three years might be my best bet.
 

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