Offering users two different tablet-ready operating systems is a misstep by Microsoft Corp., according to analyst firm International Data Corp.
Rather than divide its resources in promoting Windows RT and Windows 8, the company would be better off shining the light on the later OS for its tablet push to avoid user confusion, said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC.
Additionally, he said, Microsoft has struggled explaining to users why they should favour Windows RT over Apple’s IOS or Google’s Android operating systems.
Windows 8 tablets will account for 2.8 per cent of the market by the end of 2013, representing 5.3 million units. The OS will double that number to 7.4 per cent or 25.9 million units by 2017. By contrast, IDC said, RT will only capture 2.7 per cent of the market or 9.5 million units by 2017.
Ironically, in an earlier report, IDC identified Windows 8 as one of the key factors behind the slowdown in PC sales last year.
IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker said PC sales in 2012 shrunk 3.7 per cent largely due to the growing popularity of tablet devices, lack of interest in Windows 8 and dismal economic conditions which restricted IT expenditures.
That report described buyer reception to Windows 8 as “underwhelming.”
IDC latest report projects that 93.2 million Android-powered tablets and 87.8 million iOS-powered iPads will hit the shelves this year.
Windows 8 is compatible with software that PC users run but Windows RT ‘may look like Windows, but in fact it is not,” according to the IDC analyst.
For instance, RT can only run Windows Store apps. It cannot run legacy software such as those people use when working in Windows 7, Windows Vista of Windows XP.
Microsoft also allows Office and Internet explorer to run on “restricted desktop” on Windows RT but prevents other office suites and browsers from doing so.
People are not warming up to Windows RT’s value proposition, according to Mainelli, Microsoft and its partners will be better off concentrating on improving Windows 8.