Microsoft: Surface RT branding caused "some confusion"

Last month, Microsoft decided to ditch the "Surface RT" brand for its second generation Windows RT tablet, labeling it as simply the Surface 2. Now Microsoft has admitted that the original Surface RT branding was perhaps not the best decision the company made in terms of marketing the product.

The Australian website ARN reports that Jack Cowett, Microsoft's marketing manager for Surface, made some comments about the name in a new interview. He said, "We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro."

Microsoft hopes to avoid that with the new Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, the latter of which uses full-fat Windows 8.1. Cowett stated, "We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people."

Of course, Microsoft is still selling the original 32 GB Surface RT and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In Australia, Microsoft will sell the 32 GB and 64 GB Surface 2 for $529 and $639 AUD, respectively, while in the US, prices start at $449 USD.

Microsoft is currently the only PC maker still selling products with Windows RT, although Nokia's rumored Lumia 2520 tablet is supposed to join Surface RT and Surface 2 when it goes on sale later this year.

Source: ARN

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What made the name "Windows RT" even more stupid was the fact that they also introduced a new API in Windows 8, called "WinRT" or "Windows Runtime" which is the intended successor to the .NET Framework and Win32 APIs. Coding to this API guarantees portability between ARM/x86 platforms. This has nothing to do with the product "Windows RT."

LMAO! MS can't get *anything* right here recently (well - the past 3 years), and they just keep digging that hole deeper. I am sticking by my statement that Balmer shorted his stock.

long post, sorry..

True, the RT label for the tablet and SDK naming (you know what I mean) has been critisized to death before it even came out. Page after page on the MS blog, people blaming MS for confusing the hell out of customers when this would arrive in the stores.

Endresult: it did, and they threw a lot of money away.

In the adds they should really show the difference between the two OS's, and explain better only the Pro runs the 'normal' desktop apps as well. No dancing kids and hipsters, no easy on the lap kind of typing. No... show what it is and can do. With the extra stuff compared to iOS and Android.

So...
Big sign above Surface: Will only run apps from the MS App Store.
If you want more, have a look at the Surface Pro -->
Big sign above the Surface Pro: Will run every app from the MS App Store -AND- all the Windows desktop software you're used to.

How I normally explain it to people is like this:

The Surface is like the MS version of the iPad, but with the additonal ability to connect to printers, USB sticks, extenal HD's etc. by USB port. Also it has a card reader, so you can easily copy your photos to the tablet by swapping the card. In addition, you get a tablet version of Office on it a as well.
For software/apps you go to the MS App Store in the Start Menu, just select something and install it. No hassle involved.
And with a MS account you can save all your important tuff in the cloud if you want, easily retrieved and looked at. Also you can have multiple accounts on the same tablet. Perfect for kids and parents.

The Surface Pro is like a ultrabook, aka small laptop, with a detachable keyboard. Just like a regular laptop, you can run all your favourite Windows software on it. In addition you have the Modern apps like the 'regular' Surface, coming from the same MS app Store.
And like the 'regular' Surface, the Pro has the ability to connect to printers, USB sticks, external HD's etc. by USB port. Also it has that card reader too.

Explaining takes two minutes, and lightbulbs go off. The additonal USB/cardreader is very interesting for people, and the "it just has a 100K apps" is irrelevant for most of them.

What I do find interesting is why people expect a iPad NOT to run OSX apps. It is an Apple right? Why can't I run my 'desktop' application on my Macbook/MacPro and not the iPad?

Why do people expect that from Windows?

People were explained and tought by Apple this was a -DIFFERENT- system. If MS gets this through the thick skulls of Windows users they have something on their hands.

Also, the tech press should also help in this matter, most of the time the difference between both tablets/systems is ignored completely. People have to be educated, nobody is stepping in with the knowledge already there......

Microsoft Marketing should be fired. Of course the RT Label was confusing. The average Person does not care about specifics, thats why apple is that hugely successful. The chances by Walking in their store and to get what you were looking for is very high. Every Marketing stunt that distracts from that experience weakens the product line and brand in General.

RT did exactly that. Hell even I had Problems knowing all the differences. I had to look them up. Thats unacceptable.

and what do they do now? Just calling it Surface 2? Lol yeah right, this will confuse People even more. RT is too Close to the full Version to be easily distinguished. MS will never be able to explain RT/Full to the average customer with Marketing.

Let's be honest. That crippled Windows Version is a failure. In the right time everyone will admit that. Until then, it seems to exist.


EDIT: it is even bloody dangerous what MS is doing here. They create a brand (RT) or a different Version of the widely known and understood Windows and attach that to it. This bears the risk that it applies a negative experience and understanding to their cash cow. this is very very dangerous.

someone buying the surface 2 who is not fully Aware of all the Features/missing Features might be disappointed after the purchase and will likely be ****ed. either at MS or at himself of not knowing it. either way, it might be that he gives up the MS brand and switches to a competitor who has a clearer and more Logical Marketing.

Edited by typu, Oct 13 2013, 12:34pm :

Serious question here because I don't understand this tech jargon. Why did Microsoft develop RT in the first place? Why couldn't they just Put Win 8 on everything?

They wanted to "compete" with the ipad, and a full priced windows 8 tablet wasn't going to cut it.

Gates has been pushing tablets for 15 years now and is STILL failing to sell them (much like their attempt to sell an MP3 player that also failed).

Now in a moment of genius, they have turned their failure mode onto their flagship OS!

dvb2000 said,
They wanted to "compete" with the ipad, and a full priced windows 8 tablet wasn't going to cut it.

Gates has been pushing tablets for 15 years now and is STILL failing to sell them (much like their attempt to sell an MP3 player that also failed).

Now in a moment of genius, they have turned their failure mode onto their flagship OS!

What? Where is Gates still trying to sell tablets? Microsoft developed Windows RT as a means of running Windows on ARM/SoC devices. Hot and heavy Intel devices were rejected by consumers after Windows 7's release.

Dot Matrix said,

Hot and heavy Intel devices were rejected by consumers after Windows 7's release.

So that's why they are marketing the Surface Pro… /s

Surface Basic, Surface Pro would have been better. Surface and Surface Pro is def not to trick people but it's guaranteed that people will get tricked and not know the difference unless the sales associate clearly explains it....even then people will still have problems.

Supporting student at a community college, the biggest issue was confusion about the Surface not running standard windows software.

Microsoft did do a poor at branding the difference between RT and Windows 8.

I petty your students....... Don'they know how to use Google?

They can find and install eveything, but when Wikipedia is down for a day or they have to find out something about specs they fail miserably??

Also, shouldn't it be your job to inform these kids also, as you support them with these kinds of decisions?

Dutchie64 said,
I petty your students....... Don'they know how to use Google?

They can find and install eveything, but when Wikipedia is down for a day or they have to find out something about specs they fail miserably??

Also, shouldn't it be your job to inform these kids also, as you support them with these kinds of decisions?

If they ask us, we make it clear what devices can and cannot do in regards to school. There not required to talk to us before making their own computer equipment purchases. We're a small staff that support during peak enrollment of around 30,000+students, as well as supporting staff and faculty.

I'm just giving you my first hand experience with RT. We also have students confused why Android Tablets or iPad's can't do everything they want for school as well.

Community College is different then for profit colleges. We accept everyone from all backgrounds, economic situations, and technical literacy. We're unable to require them to have specific equipment. We have labs on campus they have access to, as well as a growing our remote virtual desktops so they don't have to purchase certain software there learning.

Edited by Jason Stillion, Oct 13 2013, 9:52pm :

It didn't help situation much either that most tech "journalist" helped fan the flames by deliberately pretending to be confused between RT and normal windows, and continually whining about RT not being able to run x86 desktop apps on an arm processor when MS made it clear RT only ran metro apps from the windows store- something they never whined about when apple made the ipad.

Many consumers wouldn't know what an ARM processor is. Since there's no "will not run Windows x86/x64 software" warning label on a Surface RT box, that definitely would cause confusion.

Microsoft should rename the ARM-based Surface to something else (without the word Surface in it).

I agree that MS needed to rethink the branding and what to actually call RT but it's not 100% on them if the people selling and buying the devices are, well, not educated. Since MS blundered, at least inform your sales staff that RT is not 8. As a consumer, do the damn research as to what machine is right for you. I'm tech savvy and I STILL ask questions about hardware/software. Some of the blame lies with the people selling/buying the product.

On that note, Surface Lite sounds good. That would be a clear distinction between the two. Maybe for Gen 3 if Gen 2 is meh. I just hope they keep making them.

Seriously MS, hire me, I've got some ideas. I do marketing and the wife and I even talked about moving to Redmond. Lets talk about this.

Whether its called Surface RT, Surface 2 or Surface Lite, it will not change the reality that consumers will still need to be educated about the features of the product and that education must come from MS via ads and the various sales people around the world.

None of the suggestions laid out get around the fact that consumers need help understanding the differences. This doesn't have to be a bad thing unless no one is willing to simply tell people that the Surface 2 is for that ipad like experience of media consumption and touch first productivity while the Surface Pro is a windows laptop without the built in keyboard.

I mean really, if everyone would just remind people of that fact, it would go a long way to fixing the confusion problem.

I didn't find it confusing. Do people also get mad at Microsoft when they buy 16 GB of RAM and then realize that it won't work with a 32-bit edition of Windows? How do we draw this line between an uninformative name and end-user stupidity?

Most users don't know how to upgrade their own ram and if they were to buy a computer with 16GB of ram it would come preinstalled with 64bit windows.

Relativity_17 said,
I Do people also get mad at Microsoft when they buy 16 GB of RAM and then realize that it won't work with a 32-bit edition of Windows?

Umm who are these people that do this?

RT... The problem is that it made users, including many here, think that it was a lesser version of Windows 8.

In reality it is just Windows 8 running on ARM. Sure Microsoft doesn't allow developers to create Win32 ARM based Applications for it, but beyond that it is truly Windows 8.

Why did this 'lesser' version hurt RT? Well, many users didn't think it could run Flash or many other websites, which it can. They also don't realize that a lot of printer and generic USB drivers were included so that most peripherals work just fine. They also don't realize that all the Windows 8 features are there, like Multiple Users, etc. (These are things the iPad and Android device can't do and by putting the RT in their class, hurt it.)

Simple...

"Windows 8" = Windows RT (you can still access desktop apps quickly via Remote Desktop)
"Windows 8 Pro" = Windows w/ the best of both worlds


Also... I find it very strange how people here (not regular consumers) don't understand the concept of RT. RT is actually amazing (I have a Surface RT)... but people are still used to the old Windows concept where they only think Windows is only desktops/laptops. RT is meant for Tablets and mobile devices (think iPads and Android tablets/phones). You can't run desktop apps on those. However, Microsoft built a solid tablet OS (RT) that gives you the power of most desktops but in a light tablet form (with the ability to remote desktop into your desktop apps).

Edited by j2006, Oct 13 2013, 2:42am :

j2006 said,
Simple...

No it isn't.
j2006 said,
RT is meant for Tablets and mobile devices (think iPads and Android tablets/phones). You can't run desktop apps on those.

And that's exactly why it's not simple. There's no disclaimer on the "Windows" or "RT" part to say ANY of that. That's the point.

When people see Windows they expect Windows, with very little exception (edit: the exception would be windows mobile devices on phones where you obviously wouldn't expect Office 2013 to run on it, it would be absurd). You can say ignorance isn't an excuse, but really, after selling "Windows" and backwards compatibility as a fundamental principle of your platform for the last near-20 years, that is MICROSOFTs problem to solve.

j2006 said,
Simple...

"Windows 8" = Windows RT (you can still access desktop apps quickly via Remote Desktop)

I know that you can also access to your pc using either android or ios with some apps (PhoneMyPC for instance).
Although if it works better on win RT , that could be a good selling point.

j2006 said,
Simple...

"Windows 8" = Windows RT (you can still access desktop apps quickly via Remote Desktop)
"Windows 8 Pro" = Windows w/ the best of both worlds

Problem is Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro both refer to the standard version of Windows (both run desktop apps as usual). It's Windows RT that is SPECIFIC to ARM tablets.

Why not just call it what it is "Windows ARM"

The issue is they have 2 operating system that look identical but are very much different. This is why trying to find any name that isn't confusing is impossible.

warwagon said,
Why not just call it what it is "Windows ARM"

The issue is they have 2 operating system that look identical but are very much different. This is why trying to find any name that isn't confusing is impossible.

They aren't two different operating systems, and the fact you think they are is one reason they have a problem.

99.9% of the code is identical. The way NT is designed, it is written to the NT Architecture, which is then translated by the HAL to the actual architecture. There are just as many differences between x86 and x64 as there is between x86 and ARM versions. People don't consider the x86 and x64 to be different versions, because they aren't.

So there is very little code outside of the tiny HAL that has to be changed.

This is one of the really good design things about NT, as when it is running even on x86, the code is not written to x86, it is written to the NT Architecture uses the HAL to translate the differences. (The same is true of ARM, x64, etc.)

The only 'differences' are like the transition of x86 to x64 and UPPER layer software, not the OS that were not recompiled/ported to the different architecture. So with WOA, the only upper differences are what pieces of UPPER software haven't been recompiled for ARM.

warwagon said,
The difference in the OS's is one runs all of their windows software the other one does not and that's confusing for consumers.

Exactly, that is the only real difference and it only applies to legacy applications as more development comes from the Modern UI/WinRT frameworks.

This is becoming less of an issue as time goes on with more Windows Store based Apps that are universally compatible.

Uses Metro UI 50 percent of the time, and Desktop on my Windows 8.0, soon to be 8.1 Desktop PC, Sometimes in mornings I play a Metro UI game, or check email with the mail app, or weather, or open IE in metro to read a few new sites, Also use Metro UI on my Windows 8 Phone, Desktop i'm in about same amount of time.

Eventually wouldn't mind getting a Surface Tablet to replace my older XP laptop, and have the complete circle of Windows 8 Devices, Desktop PC, Phone, and Tablet.

Will be nice once the apps are cross platform, and intergreated Phone and Windows 8.1 App store, so can check out phone apps and Desktop Metro UI apps as well.

Of corse it caused confusion, the desktop MUST also cause confusion. Idiots, what were they thinking and why? Were they thinking at all?

The biggest confusion I get is when you tell someone that the Surface Pro doesn't have Office built in, nor does it come with a keyboard.

I honestly think the gaps between the Surface RT and Surface Pro are too wide. By comparison, a Yoga 11s sits at $800 with 128GB SSD, i5 processor, Windows 8... While I don't care for Lenovo, they've sold those laptop/tablet hybrids pretty well finding some middle ground.

Fritzly said,

Only if you are in the desktop....

Honest question, when you open an app via a tile and it opens in the Modern interface, what would you call it besides a Window?

thatguyandrew1992 said,

Honest question, when you open an app via a tile and it opens in the Modern interface, what would you call it besides a Window?

A full screen app; when Windows was launched the idea was to have multiple windows open on the screen, therefore "Windows".

Fritzly said,

A full screen app; when Windows was launched the idea was to have multiple windows open on the screen, therefore "Windows".

So then when you have two metro apps snapped they're windowed, if we're following the same logic here.

I get what people want, but from what MS has seen, most users have 2 windows open side by side, or just go from one app to the other. The people who have 3+ scattered all over the desktop at the same time are actually the minority.

Having said that, I expect them to keep evolving it to where we do get actual windowed desktop like apps in the future, maybe with v9 though.

If Microsoft persist with more tablet **** on our PC's throats, consumers alone will "retire" the Windows brand in favor of other OSes.

Mortis said,
If Microsoft persist with more tablet **** on our PC's throats, consumers alone will "retire" the Windows brand in favor of other OSes.

Um. The MetroUI isn't "tablet ****" only.

GP007 said,

So then when you have two metro apps snapped they're windowed, if we're following the same logic here.

I get what people want, but from what MS has seen, most users have 2 windows open side by side, or just go from one app to the other. The people who have 3+ scattered all over the desktop at the same time are actually the minority.

Having said that, I expect them to keep evolving it to where we do get actual windowed desktop like apps in the future, maybe with v9 though.


No, not exactly... Metro allows you to "slice" your screen, not "windowing" it. I am too quite sure that we will get the ability to have windows in Metro as well as, like you, that we will see it in W9 together with more functionally Metro apps.

I was never confused with Surface RT and Surface Pro before. I am now starting to confuse Surface 2 and the Surface Pro , thinking that the Surface 2 is the Surface Pro 1's successor. I think Microsoft should call the Surface RT, Surface Lite because it runs a lighter version of Windows 8.

I agree, the Surface RT should be "Surface Lite", which (IMO) makes it very obvious that it's a cut down version of Windows 8 (well, not really, but hopefully you get my meaning). The major downside to that however is that it makes the Surface RT sound like a non-premium device, which may make people less likely to buy it.

Maybe Microsoft could market the Surface Pro and Surface RT separately and distance the two from each other. They can market the Surface RT in the realm of Arm tablets and in that field. The Surface Pro could be marketed with regular laptops and PCs. The Surface Pro and Surface RT are definitely not the same.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Surface Lite is better cause it has a lighter version of Windows 8

God, that would make explaining it to customers so much easier.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Surface Lite is better cause it has a lighter version of Windows 8

sounds like a diet cola

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
How about the New Windows

Windows, windows, windows.

Here an idea: HOW ABOUT SOMETHING NON-WINDOWS BRANDING for a thing that doesn't run Windows apps?

Mortis said,

Here an idea: HOW ABOUT SOMETHING NON-WINDOWS BRANDING for a thing that doesn't run Windows apps?

Microsoft Tiles .... Open a Tile, close a Tile .... Let's replace windows by tiles ...

Microsoft is the king of horrible branding. My favorite was "Windows Live Mail", which is a POP3/IMAP email client which isn't even specific to hotmail/wlm, and "Windows Live Mail" which is webmail (rebranded hotmail). Whoever came up with that needed to be slapped.

ViperAFK said,
Microsoft is the king of horrible branding. My favorite was "Windows Live Mail", which is a POP3/IMAP email client which isn't even specific to hotmail/wlm, and "Windows Live Mail" which is webmail (rebranded hotmail). Whoever came up with that needed to be slapped.

Windows Live was a horrible brand. What did Windows Live even mean? Windows Alive? The other Windows was dead? Meaningless.

ViperAFK said,
Microsoft is the king of horrible branding. My favorite was "Windows Live Mail", which is a POP3/IMAP email client which isn't even specific to hotmail/wlm, and "Windows Live Mail" which is webmail (rebranded hotmail). Whoever came up with that needed to be slapped.

Live Movie Maker
Live Photo Gallery
Live Messenger

Did you assume these were only for Hotmail/Live too?

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The problem is two totally different things having the EXACT same name. "Windows Live Mail" an email client and "Windows Live Mail" unrelated webmail service.

It would be like having two things named "Windows Live Photo Gallery" that were actually totally different things.

Obviously Live Movie Maker and Live Photo Gallery are different things...I wasn't just talking about the "live", I was saying that they were literally both called "Windows Live Mail"

ViperAFK said,
I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The problem is two totally different things having the EXACT same name. "Windows Live Mail" an email client and "Windows Live Mail" unrelated webmail service.

It would be like having two things named "Windows Live Photo Gallery" that were actually totally different things.

Obviously Live Movie Maker and Live Photo Gallery are different things...I wasn't just talking about the "live", I was saying that they were literally both called "Windows Live Mail"

Ok, so then does Outlook.com and Outlook also cause this level of confusion, or does it achieve the opposite of giving Outlook users the confidence of Outlook as an Email/Web service?

(See I think Microsoft was trying to get people to see the products with the same confidence. Although I agree with you that the Live branding failed.)

Mobius Enigma said,
Ok, so then does Outlook.com and Outlook also cause this level of confusion, or does it achieve the opposite of giving Outlook users the confidence of Outlook as an Email/Web service?

(See I think Microsoft was trying to get people to see the products with the same confidence. Although I agree with you that the Live branding failed.)

I'm not sure that I would describe my feelings about Outlook as confidence.

The way that the email servers are setup where I work, it makes Outlook run incredibly slow. On the other hand, Outlook has always been a bit of a hog on its own. I know it's doing a lot for me, but it's doing a lot of unnecessary things for me too. At least for the first two statements, I suspect that a lot of people are in the same boat, but they probably blame the software for server-side issues too.

I think where Microsoft got it right with Outlook.com, as compared to Windows Live Mail, is that it's a single word that is already mentally associated with email. On the other hand, Windows Live Mail does not roll off the tongue (four syllables for a single product, ignoring the clashing with another product?), nor did either one exist much earlier than the other to create a mental association--whether it be good or bad.

ViperAFK said,
Microsoft is the king of horrible branding. My favorite was "Windows Live Mail", which is a POP3/IMAP email client which isn't even specific to hotmail/wlm, and "Windows Live Mail" which is webmail (rebranded hotmail). Whoever came up with that needed to be slapped.
Windows Live Mail only ever referred to the client software. The webmail service was ALWAYS called (since rebranding) Windows Live Hotmail.

How can a company as successful as Microsoft be so stupid?

The confusion is around Windows RT. Microsoft needs to bite the bullet and rename Windows RT something that consumers understand... like, um... Windows Mobile (and, yes, I know... they've used that before... but that was before the mobile boom & not that many consumers actually remember it). Or maybe not calling it Windows at all... because, basically... it isn't. Windows runs legacy apps. RT does not... so give it a new name.

They need to get rid of 'Windows' branding altogether on their non PC devices, Windows means PC's, Windows means work, Windows means business. Tablets should be fun devices. If they want to crack the consumer market and be more like what the iPad means to people then Windows must go.

MS has a problem here because other than Windows and Office they don't really have any other strong brand names that are really suitable. Xbox won't work. I see why they stick to Windows but I do think its a problem for them.

derekaw said,
Windows means PC's, Windows means work, Windows means business.

Um. Windows means more than that. Way to play into those old Apple commercials. Sorry, but my PC can do more than just spreadsheets.

derekaw said,
They need to get rid of 'Windows' branding altogether on their non PC devices, Windows means PC's, Windows means work, Windows means business. Tablets should be fun devices. If they want to crack the consumer market and be more like what the iPad means to people then Windows must go.

MS has a problem here because other than Windows and Office they don't really have any other strong brand names that are really suitable. Xbox won't work. I see why they stick to Windows but I do think its a problem for them.

You say that, yet that is how they are marketing the Surface tablets: tablets running windows where you can both have fun with the game apps and also be productive with office/skype/desktop browser.

I would disagree with changing the "windows" name but I personally think that the RT/Pro name is better than the current one. That said, they should name the RT version as "Windows Lite" or something easy to remember/infer from. (I actually think this is a much better name since not only is RT a "lite" version of windows, MS is also making their surface rt tablets physically lighter and thinner due to the differences between that of the rt and the pro version.)

derekaw said,
They need to get rid of 'Windows' branding altogether on their non PC devices, Windows means PC's, Windows means work, Windows means business. Tablets should be fun devices. If they want to crack the consumer market and be more like what the iPad means to people then Windows must go.

MS has a problem here because other than Windows and Office they don't really have any other strong brand names that are really suitable. Xbox won't work. I see why they stick to Windows but I do think its a problem for them.


^ This.

Does anyone know why it causes confusion? I feel like RT helped made it clearer that it's not the full version of Windows. I almost feel they drop the RT to trick people. I know this sounds weird, but someone sees Surface 2, and maybe they think it's normal Windows, and Surface Pro 2 is the same thing with more ram. Ya know?

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Does anyone know why it causes confusion?

Just more marketing BS by Microsoft, as you say, it made it clear it was a LOW performance device and doesn't run normal windows programs.

No surprise people didnt buy it.

Now they will be complaining the new Surface 2 doesn't run their windows programs, and it dog slow. Microsoft seem to think they can get the suckers to part with some more money by deceiving them.

The problem isn't with Surface itself, it's a problem with the name "Windows RT". Think about it this way; what the hell does "RT" even mean? This is especially important when you consider that they also released WinRT at the same time, the latter being the new Windows API that came with Windows 8 and RT.

So already we've got Windows RT, the variant of Windows running on ARM devices, and WinRT, the Windows Runtime available on both Windows 8 and Windows RT, and the Surface RT, which runs Windows RT, but also looks like Surface pro, which looks the same, but doesn't function the same.

I can see how it could be pretty damn confusing for someone that was fairly computer illiterate.

I don't think they'll be fixing the problem by dropping the "RT" name though, if anything, it could add to the confusion! To me, Surface RT and Surface Pro at least suggested underlying differences. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 just sound like the same device, with the pro having more RAM or something. Look at the Galaxy and Galaxy Ace brands. The Galaxy and Galaxy Ace both run the same programs, the Ace is just smaller and less powerful.

dvb2000 said,

Just more marketing BS by Microsoft, as you say, it made it clear it was a LOW performance device and doesn't run normal windows programs.

No surprise people didnt buy it.

Now they will be complaining the new Surface 2 doesn't run their windows programs, and it dog slow. Microsoft seem to think they can get the suckers to part with some more money by deceiving them.

Why? It's called the "Surface 2" not "a Windows 8 Pro PC"... if you noticed with Windows, they are making the same change. Windows 8 is the new Windows, Windows 8 Pro is what you run to run your desktop apps. And in case you didn't know, you can still run desktop apps on your RT via Remote Desktop which is freakin' sweet.

Majesticmerc said,
Think about it this way; what the hell does "RT" even mean?
I wish I can tell you but it is not a politically correct term. Let's just say it rhymes with larded.

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Does anyone know why it causes confusion? I feel like RT helped made it clearer that it's not the full version of Windows. I almost feel they drop the RT to trick people. I know this sounds weird, but someone sees Surface 2, and maybe they think it's normal Windows, and Surface Pro 2 is the same thing with more ram. Ya know?

Because most consumers wouldn't expect 'Windows' to not be 'Windows'...

In fairness, I don't think the current naming convention solves this either...

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Does anyone know why it causes confusion? I feel like RT helped made it clearer that it's not the full version of Windows. I almost feel they drop the RT to trick people. I know this sounds weird, but someone sees Surface 2, and maybe they think it's normal Windows, and Surface Pro 2 is the same thing with more ram. Ya know?
I have witnessed multiple people not understand what Surface RT was actually capable of doing at the Microsoft Store. Unfortunately, the employees explained it as good at web browsing only (rarely mentioning the full Office suite).

Microsoft made the mistake and they assumed that the people that wanted a tablet, but didn't already have an iPad (or wanted to stick with any one they had), were actually informed consumers. The only people that knew what Surface RT actually was capable of doing were people like us reading the news.

Generally speaking though, I don't think most consumers actually consider the OS on tablets. Would the average user care that their tablet runs iOS versus some weird version of OS X? Would they even know? I don't honestly think so. Microsoft's problem isn't the naming of the tablet, but the marketing of it.

They are kind of in a bind, because to advertise the Surface 2 as a weaker version of the Surface Pro makes it look like an unattractive choice (the iPad mini is weaker, but the small-ness of it makes it more acceptable and represents the major difference). But to not advertise it that way is what creates the confusion. I don't honestly think that the average user will ever be able to understand the difference between ARM and x86, which is what prevents some applications from running on a Windows RT computer/tablet. But that's the key: it's not that Windows RT is weaker than the full OS, rather it's that it simply cannot run things not compiled for it (and they still block the desktop except for themselves, which I think is a big mistake made in an attempt to hide slowness of Tegra 3 and likely try to make it obvious that it's not the full OS).

Microsoft needs to find a way to say, "Surface 2 is a low-power tablet that can run a subset of Windows applications as a result, similar to the iPad" in words that average consumers will understand. At the same time, I'd like to see Microsoft racing to push ARM to be able to run anything that's not too demanding of the CPU (e.g., I'd love to be able to download and install git plus my IDE of choice (software development tool), which might require Java depending on the project, and use a Surface 2/3 to do it), at which point it just becomes a recompile-and-upload action for developers of those applications. They need to stop forcing everything to be Metro for that to work though. I love Metro, but I also like being able to work in the mostly more complicated applications that let me get my work done (IDEs).

Edited by pickypg, Oct 13 2013, 6:53pm :

"Microsoft needs to find a way to say, "Surface 2 is a low-power tablet that can run a subset of Windows applications as a result, similar to the iPad"

Average consumers want an iPad, they don't want a Windows tablet device, if they wanted a Windows tablet device then Windows devices like RT would sell better. I am sick of all the excuses about the marketing message, its the same with Windows Phone. Its not marketing, average consumers don't need office, they don't need legacy Windows apps, they don't need windows at all and they never did. The Windows brand has little to no cachet with average consumers now. Average consumers only used Windows because there was really no other choice, now there is choice Windows is losing out.

j2006 said,

Why? It's called the "Surface 2" not "a Windows 8 Pro PC"... if you noticed with Windows, they are making the same change. Windows 8 is the new Windows, Windows 8 Pro is what you run to run your desktop apps. And in case you didn't know, you can still run desktop apps on your RT via Remote Desktop which is freakin' sweet.
Actually, Windows 8 AND Windows 8 Pro can both run desktop apps. Problem here is that there was little explanation for what RT meant for both OS (as in Windows RT) and physical tablet (as in Surface RT). On the Surface 2 tablet, it still runs Windows RT, so there still needs an explanation as to what this is.