Microsoft kills the Surface RT branding for new Surface

When Microsoft announced Windows RT, many criticized the company as it was incredibly close to the WinRT branding and not to mention that they were introducing a new ‘brand’ of Windows to the consumer for apparently no reason. At today’s Surface event in New York, it became apparent that Microsoft came to this same conclusion as the company is officially calling the Surface RT 2, simply the Surface 2.

The company will continue to call the Surface Pro the Surface Pro 2 but the dropping of the RT branding is a clear sign that Microsoft is hoping to reduce the confusion of the platform.

Without the RT moniker, Microsoft will still have to educate the public that the Surface 2 is not quite a full PC replacement but that it is still an incredibly capable machine since it ships with Office installed. Windows RT 8.1 still retains the classic desktop as well which could add confusion for those who want to install legacy applications but that’s another battle for another day.

It’s good to see that Microsoft if finally starting to come to its senses and reduce some of the naming confusion it has between products and hopefully, this is only the start. 

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Nope Panos Panay still said it's running Windows RT 8.1 OS, which means they haven't killed the RT branding. People still see "Windows" anywhere and get confused. They see the simulated desktop with a few apps and get confused as to why they can't install their favorite apps.

So instead of the confusion among customers starting at the store, it'll start about an hour later at home when none of their desktop apps install.

Amazing Neowin dedicated a whole article to a non-solution.

That's why they should have stripped the desktop out completely, then nobody would get confused. I mean the average Joe is pretty dumb to think this device runs the Win32 apps, but what can you do?

CygnusOrion said,
I mean the average Joe is pretty dumb to think this device runs the Win32 apps, but what can you do?

If a company is unable to educate the end-user it's their own fault really. Microsoft failed miserably to make a clear division between Windows RT and Windows 8 without expecting everyone to know the technical difference between ARM and x86 (which is insane). Apple doesn't have this issue with iPad and Mac. They never had.

Edited by .Neo, Sep 24 2013, 8:38am :

Well, I'd hate to work for their customer service, when people buy Surface 2 thinking they are buying a Windows machine... and then come the angry calls "I can't install anything on it!"

Adamodeus said,
Well, I'd hate to work for their customer service, when people buy Surface 2 thinking they are buying a Windows machine... and then come the angry calls "I can't install anything on it!"

Sure they can. Through the Windows store. There's a self help app on Windows 8.1 that'll direct them there.

The drop of RT designation is perhaps better selling, but certainly not less confusing.
In my opinion this would degrade the trust of people toward Microsoft brand.

Probably the right thing to do but when originally named maybe they should have called it something like Surface Tablet, then people might (i know, possibly asking a lot there) have found out it wasn`t a fully fledged pc/laptop replacement as is the Pro...
Still don`t think it will sell that many though, shame really because it`s a nice bit of kit

Didn't the original Surface launch as just "Surface" and the RT name added in after the Pro was released?

I think this is MORE confusing in fact.

mrp04 said,
I think this is MORE confusing in fact.

How? You have to remember that typical consumers do not know what makes them different and really don't care. All they need to know and want to know is Surface does X and Surface Pro does Y.

Xenosion said,

How? You have to remember that typical consumers do not know what makes them different and really don't care. All they need to know and want to know is Surface does X and Surface Pro does Y.

People have heard "Windows RT = no desktop programs" and now they drop the RT name. Now you have to do more research to figure out if it runs Windows RT or Windows 8.1. With the Surface RT name you knew right away.

Yeah, people DO care if they can't use desktop programs. A lot. Lots of Surface RTs were returned once people figured out you can install your own desktop software. Some people even said they thought it was deceptive but I think it was incompetence on Microsoft's part on making it not absolutely clear. NOW it seems deceptive to hide the fact that it runs RT.

How? Because Surface 2 sounds like you're buying a Windows machine, which you are not - it's Windows in name only, because Windows programs don't run on it. "Windows RT" at least shows there's something different about it. Without RT, it's just Windows... but it's not, is it?

Its still all comes down to marketing. If MS makes it clear that the Surface 2 is a media device and not a windows desktop, then its up to the consumer to realize that. IF MS repeats the first gen and does not hammer that home, then its more failed marketing.

I'm shocked to see people now yelling about getting rid of the RT part of the name. I swear before this, people were yelling about how adding RT was stupid.

The claim has been that people were confused thanks to that name, but now people are saying that removing it is confusing. MS simply cant win on this.

My opinion is that it should have just been Surface from the start and I hope they stick with this naming going forward. I think its a lazy excuse to try and hold on to RT just because people were confused and somehow 'RT' actually lessened the confusion. If MS markets it right, it will clear itself up.

I really don't think that's any clearer. It should be a completely different name between the pro and the ARM based. It's like what they do with Skydrive and Skydrive Pro which constantly creates questions on forums.

I'm not sure it would be smart to try and create two brand names to separate these products.

As long as MS drive it home that Pro 2 means a laptop replacement and 2 means ipad-like media consumption, that can clear up the confusion. It comes down to proper marketing and customer education. MS dropped the ball with the first generation, so they need to really hammer that home this time.

I think the Surface brand name is just too good to abandon. Its a nice sounding name and there are not many nice sounding names for tablets.

trooper11 said,
I'm not sure it would be smart to try and create two brand names to separate these products.

As long as MS drive it home that Pro 2 means a laptop replacement and 2 means ipad-like media consumption, that can clear up the confusion. It comes down to proper marketing and customer education. MS dropped the ball with the first generation, so they need to really hammer that home this time.

I think the Surface brand name is just too good to abandon. Its a nice sounding name and there are not many nice sounding names for tablets.


True, call them Surface Media and Surface Pro.

I think that's the best way they can simplify the lineup marketing wise.

Surface 2 is much better than Surface RT 2.

Now you can simply say that the Surface 2 is the iPad competitor and the Surface Pro 2 is a laptop competitor.

trooper11 said,
I think that's the best way they can simplify the lineup marketing wise.

Surface 2 is much better than Surface RT 2.

Now you can simply say that the Surface 2 is the iPad competitor and the Surface Pro 2 is a laptop competitor.

They could have stated that fact when calling the device the Surface RT.
Surface RT iPad competitor, Surface Pro, is a full Windows PC.

Duh. It's what it should have been called from the beginning. There's no reason to have RT in the name when no one even knows what it means. It's just convoluted and typical Microsoft honestly.

They should just kill off the failed Windows RT platform entirely and just focus on the Surface being a lower-speced Windows 8.1 tablet with the Pro verison being as it is.

Lord Method Man said,
They should just kill off the failed Windows RT platform entirely and just focus on the Surface being a lower-speced Windows 8.1 tablet with the Pro verison being as it is.

I don't really agree. I like the cheaper alternative.

Xenosion said,
Duh. It's what it should have been called from the beginning. There's no reason to have RT in the name when no one even knows what it means. It's just convoluted and typical Microsoft honestly.

They should rename RT to Windows Core, because it is the "core" of windows.

Spicoli said,
I don't think they should kill it. They need to re-brand it probably under the Xbox name to make it clear it's an entertainment device like an iPad or a Kindle.

But it has Office, so that doesn't quite work. Something like Windows 8.1 Lite would make more sense to me.

The bigger confusion is going to be why full W8.1 tablets will be cheaper than this.

ians18 said,

They should rename RT to Windows Core, because it is the "core" of windows.

Unfortunately, the "core" of windows is what it's mostly lacking in RT... as the desktop mode where you can actually run apps in "windows" and that is locked down. Maybe they should have called it Snap.