Fed-Up Asus Shuns Windows RT, Shifts Focus To Intel-Based Windows 8 Tablets


Asus Chairman Jonney Shih has distanced his company from Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM chips and powers Microsoft's Surface RT tablet.

In an interview with AllThingsD Tuesday, Shih said Microsoft's slow Surface RT sales, and Asus' struggles selling its own VivoTab RT, haven't inspired confidence in Windows RT.

"The result is not very promising," Shih told AllThingsD, adding that Asus will focus more on Intel-based Windows 8 tablets in the future.

[Related: Is Windows RT At The End Of Its Rope?]

Microsoft declined to comment on Shih's remarks.

Asus is one of just four OEMs that launched Windows RT devices in North America. Now only three are selling them: Lenovo earlier this month pulled its Yoga 11, a Windows RT laptop-tablet hybrid, from its online store.

Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Toshiba have all either delayed or scrapped plans to sell Windows RT tablets. In a June interview with The Wall Street Journal, Acer Chairman J.T. Wang predicted that Windows RT won't be "influential."

Windows RT hasn't proven a compelling option for consumers or businesses, Andy Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, told CRN.

"It doesn't run standard Windows applications and there's a dearth of meaningful apps that it does run," Kretzer said in an email.

Joe Balsarotti, president of Software To Go, a St. Peters, Mo.-based Microsoft partner, described Windows RT as "an ill-conceived product" that wasn't designed with customers' needs in mind.

"Just because Microsoft puts their name on a product doesn't mean the masses are going to accept it," Balsarotti told CRN.

Microsoft hasn't offered any data on Windows RT license sales, but the Surface price cut and $900 million fourth-quarter charge spoke volumes about how the OS is being received.

IDC expects Windows RT tablets to amount to a puny 1.9 percent of worldwide tablet shipments this year, accounting for 3.6 million of 190.4 million total devices shipped.

Despite the gloomy outlook for Windows RT, Microsoft still feels good about the direction Windows 8 is headed.

Earlier this month, Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's World Wide Partner Group, told CRN that OEMs are more up to speed with the Windows 8 touch interface than they were when they released their first wave of Windows 8 hardware.

"Looking at what is now out there for [Windows 8] hardware, it feels like the hardware partners and that ecosystem have finally caught up with where we need to be from a touch perspective," Roskill told CRN.

PUBLISHED JULY 30, 2013