Dell didn't want Microsoft to call ARM OS "Windows RT"

Microsoft first announced its plans to offer an OS that would run on ARM-based processors in early 2011, but it wasn't until 2012 that Microsoft settled on "Windows RT" as its actual brand name. Now, a new report claims that a top executive at Dell tried to get Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to use another name to describe their ARM OS.

The Australian Financial Review reports that, during last week's Dell World conference in Austin, Texas, the head of its PC division, Jeffrey Clarke, said that he had spoken to Ballmer earlier this year. Clarke told Ballmer that since their ARM OS could not run older Windows programs, the OS should be called something other than Windows RT.

Clarke said that Ballmer's reason for choosing the name was that Microsoft's Windows brand was too important not to use it for the ARM OS. However, some people who have purchased Windows RT devices, such as Microsoft's Surface tablet, have reportedly been confused because they are unable to run older Windows programs on the tablet.

Dell is now selling its own Windows RT tablet, the XPS 10, but the ship dates for the tablet are currently set for late December or early January, depending on the configuration.

Source: Australian Financial Review | Image via Dell

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I feel like if they really saw touch as their future, they would have separated the names completely. They wouldn't have had a desktop environment on the RT version and would have had a more fine tuned experience on the touch side of things.

That being said, I'm still on the fence on rather they should have had legacy and Metro as two separate products. However, they should have renamed their product line based on something more like "Windows Legacy" and "Windows Future".

If anything, it was a mistake to not reference RT as a Windows 8 product. The idea behind WP8, W8, RT was to have everything together. Naming is a huge part of that. They could have at least has Windows 8 and Windows 8 Legacy Edition.

I can't see why they didn't just call the OS "Microsoft Surface." Yes Windows is an important name, but it does create issues with compatibility confusion, and the lack of Windows name didn't harm the Xbox brand (some would say it was an advantage)

TechieXP said,
He never said it was, can't you read?

Since you are struggling to grasp the concept, I shall point it out just for you
Pygmy_Hippo said,
... the lack of Windows name didn't harm the Xbox brand ...

Considering Xbox is not Windows, why would they include the name?

Difficult, I know.

Yeah, I don't exactly understand what else they would have wanted it named. Remove the word "Windows", and you lose the brand identity.
At least it's not called Windows 8 RT, then consumers would be really confused!

I so underatand them.
Windows RT is one of the worst consumer product name Microsoft came up with lately. There's something stale in the marketing department and Microsoft just can't get rid of it.
What a mess.

The article above said,
However, some people who have purchased Windows RT devices, such as Microsoft's Surface tablet, have reportedly been confused because they are unable to run older Windows programs on the tablet.

Just like they were confused about not being able to run Windows programs on Windows CE, Windows Mobile or Windows Phone?

Not really... Windows RT sounds like it could just be yet another version of regular Windows, probably doesn't sound that different from XP or ME to most people. Your examples on the other hand, well, few customers will ever see a device that runs Windows CE so that one doesn't matter and Windows Mobile and Phone both have(or had) names that will have a meaning for your everyday consumer and that name coupled with the device it's on won't give consumers the same expectation of it being full on Windows.

It should have been called "Window", without the 's'.

I picture this alternate reality news piece:

"In anticipation of the upcoming release of Microsoft's next operating system in 30 days, Steve Ballmer today presented last minute unexpected revisions to the IT giant's next big OS. In his keynote Ballmer stated that due to a recent poll ( with wide dissatisfaction from desktop users with more than 50% preferring the previous OS Windows 7, Microsoft is changing the name of the upcoming OS from "Windows 8" to simply "Window" to avoid confusion and provide clarity to end users. This believed to be in large part due to the Start "menu" changing to a Start "screen" which does not allow multiple simultaneous open "Windows". Microsoft has already changed this new Start screen's name from Metro to Modern to help assure users this was -not- a step backwards, but forward as "Modern" suggests better than "Metro", which users felt caused PTSD by bringing up thoughts of suicide whilst trapped in traffic. Ballmer boldly pointed out multiple simultaneous "Windows" were no longer needing in our Post-PC world, as Apple has demonstrated with their highly successful iOS, which supports only a single application at a time even with their most recent iOS 6 released last week. As Ballmer went on to suggestt, the name change from "Windows" to "Window" will also help highlight the efficiency and time saving potential between it and it's preceding OSes at tasks such as logging out, shutting down, deleting your user account, and migrating your data from 'Window' to another OS such as Android and Apple provides. The name change will also affect the ARM processor versions formerly labeled "Windows RT" which stood for 'Windows run-time' to "Window PP" which stands for 'Window Post-PC' and touts an "Upgrade to iOS" and "Upgrade to Android" built into the new Control Panel and expected to present an "OS Selector" on first boot in the UK where anti-competitive laws no longer target Microsoft products.. Many power users have expressed their appreciation for Microsoft being candid about the changes to their operating system while others feel the move is deceptive as upgrading from Window to another OS is not free."

Actually you *can* run more than one Windows Store apps at once. When you launch more than one apps, you can drag and slide the app to the left/ right edge and making room for another app to be shown.

Search for "windows 8 snap" on YouTube and you can find a lot of demo, for example:

I can't believe people still claiming that "you can run ONE app in start screen". WRONG.

edit: added a demo

Edited by alxtsg, Dec 17 2012, 9:11am :

Yeah, because a self-selecting survey of technical users of an operating system is totally representative of the population as a whole. So much so that Microsoft will have to either change everything back to the way it was or just give up.

Of course, Windows still has the desktop, and even if you just look at Metro multiple 'windows' can be open at once (if not on-screen). But nice try at being clever.

In what way is the confusion bad for Microsoft?

So a small percentage of people who otherwise wouldn't have purchased the devices in the first place are going to return them or complain? That is a far better outcome than having most people avoid the platform altogether because they think it has nothing to do with Windows.

The two operating systems look and function identical with the exception of backwards compatibility. Given the functional similarities I'd argue that they didn't name them similar enough. Maybe it should have been "Windows 8 RT" and "Windows 8."

I think its more important that at point of sale the fact that RT can't run legacy apps than its name. Most 'consumers' won't even know what it runs. The amount of people I know with ipads that don't know what iOS is astonishes me.

To be fair, Dell are the ones that'll have to explain the difference to consumers and deal with the fallout of a customer who bought a Windows RT device expecting to be able to run all their old apps.

RT, short for runtime is a rather technical name for something that was supposed to be aimed to the consumer market.

Anything would have been better!

But the RT isn't what they didn't want. They didn't want them to call it Windows, because it can't run Windows programs. There is nothing wrong with RT, just like there was nothing wrong with XP.

You don't get it, do you? XP came from "Experience" while "RT" comes from RunTime, a technical name given for a product that will later go on the consumer market just like Mark said.

If they hadn't already tarnished their "Mobile" name, that would be an obvious choice.

Windows Go would work but they're already using Windows To Go to describe a feature in windows.

Windows Metro would be perfect but they're kinda ****ing themselves over with their naming schemes really.

"Windows S" Could work, S for surface which I imagine would be relevant because pretty much all ARM based Windows machines support touch.

"Windows Touch"?

The options are really endless actually but they decided to go all technical on people.