Remarks made by Asus don’t leave any room for misinterpretation: Windows RT has not been successful for them.
The comments, which came during an interview with AllThingsD, paint an increasingly worrisome picture for Windows RT, Microsoft’s most direct answer to enabling its hardware partners to create iPad competitors. As machines running a traditional version of Windows 8 would produce more heat and be bulkier, Microsoft created Windows RT to enable developers to create devices that use processors and internals similar to the iPad. The result was devices that have longer lasting batteries and thin designs.
Unfortunately, Microsoft also choose to include the desktop environment and bar the installation of any applications on Windows RT devices that didn’t come from Microsoft’s Windows Store.
According to Asus chairman Jonney Shih, sales of its VivoTab RT simply haven’t been “very promising.” That’s huge since, many proponents of Microsoft’s Windows RT strategy have always maintained that if devices were only cheaper, more users would buy into the ecosystem. If that were true, the Asus VivoTab RT would be a hot seller as it costs just $299, $150 lower than Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet and $200 less than Apple’s iPad with Retina Display.
While Shih didn’t shoot down the possibility of Asus creating more devices running Windows RT in the future, he was careful to note that Asus would be using its resources to build devices that use Intel’s processors going forward. By doing so, Asus is effectively throwing its weight behind pushing tablets that run Windows 8 and not Windows RT. Tablets that run Windows 8 can install desktop applications as, according to Shih, users still prefer desktop apps for now.
Shih’s comments come a day after price-drops seemed like they may have been the answer for Microsoft’s Surface RT. The tablet is completely sold out at Walmart.com, leading industry watchers to speculate that Microsoft had finally found the answer to the device’s lackluster sales.
Asus isn’t the first hardware partner to not see the value in Windows RT devices. This past May, Asus CEO JT Wong blasted Windows RT for not being necessary, however, his comments were also directed at Microsoft for choosing to compete with its partners by launching the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.
According to statistics compiled by IDC, Microsoft is already the fifth largest tablet manufacturer and is responsible for most of sales of tablets running Windows 8 and Windows RT.