Microsoft drops 'RT' from name of original Surface tablet

In February, Neowin reported that Microsoft rebranded its original Surface tablets, but it appears the branding changes aren’t over – Microsoft has now dropped the “RT” from its original Surface tablet’s name entirely.

Originally known as the “Surface with Windows RT,” Microsoft changed the ARM-powered tablet’s name to Surface RT on its website in February, also changing the “Surface with Windows 8 Pro” to simply become the Surface Pro. Now Microsoft has dropped the “RT” from the original Surface’s name, similar to the Surface 2 lacking the operating system moniker in its name.

In both instances, Microsoft didn’t formally announce the name changes, instead deciding to simply change the branding on its official Surface website.

The name change follows statements from Microsoft’s Surface marketing manager that the Surface RT name was puzzling for consumers, which is why its new ARM-powered tablet dropped the "RT" portion of its branding. “We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro,” Jack Cowett said earlier this month. “We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”

Microsoft has faced criticism in the press for its branding of both the Surface tablets and its signature Windows operating system. Windows RT, the ARM-based version of Windows 8, faced media complaints and consumer confusion over the fact that it’s incompatible with traditional x86 desktop applications, despite carrying the Windows name.

Several outlets have suggested Microsoft refer to Windows RT and Windows 8’s new Start screen interface as something other than Windows. The original name of the interface’s design language, “Metro,” is unlikely, as reports indicated Microsoft dropped the brand because of a trademark dispute with an unnamed company, believed to be the German retailer Metro AG.

The company’s Windows Phone operating system underwent a similar name change shortly after its announcement in 2010, going from “Windows Phone 7 Series” to Windows Phone 7 following complaints about the name’s length. In that rebranding, however, Microsoft formally announced the change.

Source: Microsoft via The Verge

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I guess the idea is to just confuse people into buying Surface tablets. People who will be so ****ed off that they can't run normal Windows software on their new tablet that they will probably never buy another Microsoft product again. Great idea.

Should just name it Surface Zune...because it'll be joining it soon. MS seems to enjoy confusion sales and losing loyalty or even neutrality in the process. Love watching this train wreck.

as a note, i successfully upgraded my daughter Gabrielle's RT tablet to 8.1 before they took it down. Her tablet is rock solid and she has had ZERO system issues. I did inform her about it and immediately let me know if she started having issues. but we seem to be one of the owners that wasn't affected by the Win 8.1 RT upgrade issues.

I've been trying to think of a better name that wouldn't confuse the **** out of customers. The problem is the way they designed Windows 8/8.1 it's not possible. They created 2 OS's One that runs all of your legacy apps and one that does and both look identical.

Maybe for the regular surface they should call it "Windows 8 : Zero Compatibility" or Windows 8 ZC for short

Maybe they should have called the OS for the Surface, just that, SurfaceOS or something similar. Then, there wouldn't have been as much confusion. Surface Pro would run Windows 8, and Surface would run the SurfaceOS. Of course, that might make confusion the other way, since you have two devices with Surface in the name, but only one running SurfaceOS. It's a conundrum.

Conundrum indeed. I was thinking Windows Modern for the phone and tablet initiative, and Windows 8 for the laptops and desktops, but you still have people getting confused because they all look the same.

People saying Windows RT is crap clearly haven't tried it or used it enough. Windows RT works like the full Windows with exception of desktop apps. People need to sit down with a Windows Rt tablet for a few hours to see that it is a good OS. Windows RT has the potential to be better than Android and iOS, it just needs to time to mature and gain more apps.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Windows RT works like the full Windows with exception of desktop apps.

... And this is the trap that Microsoft built. Include a touch-designed Start Screen on top of basically Windows 7 codebase, so that people think that "that's Windows at it's core". No, it's just a damn Start.

The REAL Windows is that when you enter in desktop mode and the RT has no such thing.

Having a stripped-down Windows NT kernel, still it's not "Windows".. but Microsoft seems to have this obsession with "Windows" brand. Oh, well...

Mortis said,
Having a stripped-down Windows NT kernel, still it's not "Windows".. but Microsoft seems to have this obsession with "Windows" brand. Oh, well...

It's not a stripped-down Windows NT kernel. It's the full thing. It simply has a flag set to only allow signed code.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Windows RT works like the full Windows with exception of desktop apps.

Can anyone else spot what's wrong with this statement?

rfirth said,

It's the full thing. It simply has a flag set to only allow signed code.

Really? Sweet! I'll get my x86 apps out.

I still don't get why people desperately want to run x86 apps on a Surface... Most x86 apps are not touch-friendly and I doubt the CPU is strong enough to run the useful apps smoothly even if they are runnable. Also, one advantage of not being able to run unsigned code is that it's harder to get infected on the Internet, which is a selling point that sadly most people ignore.

While I do understand that some x86 apps may be able to replace some missing apps (VLC!!!) in the store, I think Windows RT is the right direction to go (at least for tablets) as it suits ordinary people who just use the device for checking Facebook, playing games and maybe editing some simple documents.

People who cannot live without x86 apps should get a notebook, not a tablet.

Mortis said,

... And this is the trap that Microsoft built. Include a touch-designed Start Screen on top of basically Windows 7 codebase, so that people think that "that's Windows at it's core". No, it's just a damn Start.

The REAL Windows is that when you enter in desktop mode and the RT has no such thing.

Having a stripped-down Windows NT kernel, still it's not "Windows".. but Microsoft seems to have this obsession with "Windows" brand. Oh, well...


So much ass talk.
The real Windows has no real desktop, the REAL windows is Windows 1.0.
Everything else is an addition or upgrade.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
People saying Windows RT is crap clearly haven't tried it or used it enough. Windows RT works like the full Windows with exception of desktop apps. People need to sit down with a Windows Rt tablet for a few hours to see that it is a good OS. Windows RT has the potential to be better than Android and iOS, it just needs to time to mature and gain more apps.

This is very true. The potential is there and it shows flashes of what it can be more often than not.. But there are little things that need to be worked on. On my iPad 2 if I'm at the bottom of a web page and I touch the little space right below the clock, it zips back to the top of the page ( a feature I LOVE).

Decided not to bring it to work with me today, as I don't want to be distracted by the darn thing...

hin123 said,
I still don't get why people desperately want to run x86 apps on a Surface... Most x86 apps are not touch-friendly and I doubt the CPU is strong enough to run the useful apps smoothly even if they are runnable. Also, one advantage of not being able to run unsigned code is that it's harder to get infected on the Internet, which is a selling point that sadly most people ignore.

While I do understand that some x86 apps may be able to replace some missing apps (VLC!!!) in the store, I think Windows RT is the right direction to go (at least for tablets) as it suits ordinary people who just use the device for checking Facebook, playing games and maybe editing some simple documents.

People who cannot live without x86 apps should get a notebook, not a tablet.

They don't want to run x86 apps... they want to recompiled desktop apps for ARM. Or run .NET 4 apps as many don't need to be recompiled as they aren't compiled for a particular architecture. Sure maybe AutoCad isn't a good candidate for running on a 10" ARM device, but a lot of useful desktop apps can run just fine once the signing restriction is removed (and recompiled of course). Current ARM CPUs are in the same class as the new Atom.

I've said it probably a hundred times by now... the Surface (RT or Pro) are not strictly tablets, they are convertibles. More like the replacement for Netbooks. Pretty soon the vast majority of Windows devices will be Intel-based, with no restrictions to the desktop UI. Are you going to tell all these people they shouldn't be running "x86" apps on their x86 tablets too? And that they are going to get infected all over the place because Windows 8 has no signing restrictions?

Basically people like me with a Surface RT just want Windows on ARM to be more open like Windows 8 is. I have yet to get infected while running with the signing restrictions removed. And my desktop apps work just fine. I want to be able to use both UI... touch for simple things when in tablet mode, and the desktop UI for when I've got the kickstand out and using it as a netbook.

Well you know why they don't want to open it up though. The main reason is not really about malwares infecting your machine.
WinRT gives the App developers an infrastructure to make fluid, responsive and power efficient programs/apps. Granted that you could make fluid, responsive and power efficient programs before also but there were lot of plumbing that you (the developer) had to build on your own to get that efficiency.

Check out this channel9 video, explains their vision in details:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows...un-Kishan-Windows-App-Model

they dropped the name because no one is buying (RT= really terrible ) an they are trying to trick poeple an saying yeah this is the same as this surface. They get home oh wait wtf cant installed chrome hmm whata joke shieet box.

That makes sense. Because during setup it ask me if I wanted the Surface to basically mirror my PC downstairs or set this up fresh without binging over my apps and start menu layout.

I chose to have it mimic my regular windows 8 look. All marketplace apps are pulled for you. But you still have to install them. Faster if done from the market and install all in one shot.

Surface 2 is nice. Fast and snappy. Its been in my position for about 3 1/2 hours now. It did lock up once on me (not a good start MS).

I'm liking it, but its missing that it factor. I'm not big into Apple, but my iPad 2 is my baby. I could have upgraded to another iPad but felt it wasn't worth it. So I grabbed this Surface 2 (yep it was a spontaneous buy). Stopped at a Best Buy on my way home from visiting my dad. And had about 5minutes to male the purchase.

it is thinner than Gen 1 Surface. Lighter as well. My rig downstairs is Windows 8, so this is familiar ground for me. Just wondering if ill keep it or go back to my iPad 2 as my consumption device.

Connector is fine, new light ring is easy to spot it's working, and magnetic attachment makes tripping over the wire less consequential, as designed. Typing this on my new S2 right now, loving it...

ians18 said,
How's the power connector? Not the best part of the Surface RT.

There is NO brick and USB type cable. It is a proprietary plug just like Gen 1 Surface RT. There isn't event the free USB charging port on the darn thing.

I have a Surface 2 in my hand typing this. There is a desktop tile (but it could very well just be my profile) because I have W8 on my desktop PC. Your profile follows you if you want it to, so it very well be the case.

That makes sense. Because during setup it ask me if I wanted the Surface to basically mirror my PC downstairs or set this up fresh without binging over my apps and start menu layout.

I chose to have it mimic my regular windows 8 look. All marketplace apps are pulled for you. But you still have to install them. Faster if done from the market and install all in one shot.

vcfan said,
that must be the reason why. 8.1 RT by default shouldn't show it.
I didn't say that was the reason. I was just saying that if you want to have the desktop tile back, you can pin it to start yourself.

As for why they removed the desktop tile, who knows? Maybe some people complained that the desktop tile is not so useful in Windows RT (just like you are complaining the tile is gone now) so they unpinned it. Or they just randomly removed stuff just like they did in Windows 8. But a desktop tile is not that much of a big deal IMO.

They should have taken a cue from the Dodge Stealth, and called it RT Turbo. Or even better, the RT Twin Turbo.

Surface RT Twin Turbo has a nice sound to it.

“We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”

What better way to do it than have two different names? Surface and Surface Pro and less different than Surface RT and Surface Pro.

Instead of dropping RT, change it to something else.

ians18 said,
I suggested Windows Core earlier, they could also make a line of "Corebooks" to compete with Chromebooks.

The whole "Windows" brand is stupid for touch, as they have only 1 window. "Windows Core", maybe a nice idea, but still... this should not be named Windows.

Mortis said,

The whole "Windows" brand is stupid for touch, as they have only 1 window. "Windows Core", maybe a nice idea, but still... this should not be named Windows.

That's not really true as Windows 8.x allows you to snap multiple windows side by side.

jakem1 said,

That's not really true as Windows 8.x allows you to snap multiple windows side by side.

But they still aren't windows, at least compared to what most GUIs define as a window... it is just two (or more) full-screen apps with a split down the screen dividing them. Call it Snap!

ians18 said,
Really? I sent this tip in about an hour ago, no credit again

We have processes for claiming a story, proofreading and approval -- your tip was made well after everything was started. We give credit all the time; I'm not sure why you assume we're trying to not give it where it's due

ians18 said,
Really? I sent this tip in about an hour ago, no credit again

Make sure you're sending it to news tips, not general contact. The news staff can't see those.

Anthony Tosie said,

We have processes for claiming a story, proofreading and approval -- your tip was made well after everything was started. We give credit all the time; I'm not sure why you assume we're trying to not give it where it's due

I'm not mad or anything just found it funny that this happened to come out right after I sent the tip and there was no mention. You guys are pretty good about that.

ians18 said,

I'm not mad or anything just found it funny that this happened to come out right after I sent the tip and there was no mention. You guys are pretty good about that.


Ah, gotcha

shhh don't tell my daughter. I'm not springing for a surface 2. *sarcasm here** if anyone here DOES try to, I'll throw you off my balcony and tell the cops and my wife and kids some lady was trying to pimp herself off to me.. LOL /sarcasm.