One question that came up was the fate of the Surface 2, previously called Surface RT, which runs an unusual version of Windows called Windows RT.
The Surface 2 uses an ARM processor, not a processor from Intel. That gives it long battery life but also means it can’t run all the millions of Windows apps that software developers have created over the years. It can only run new Windows 8 apps from the Windows Store.
And that means it’s not much of interest to Microsoft’s biggest market: enterprises, because it can’t run their Windows apps. Microsoft is clearly gearing its Pro line of Surface PCs for business users.
Microsoft hasn’t released information about how many of this type of Surface PC it has sold, but there’s reason to believe it’s not a big hit. Based on the revenue numbers for the Surface division, we’ve estimated that Microsoft sold 1.5 million Surface tablets of all varieties last quarter. Some percentage of that would be the Surface 2.
This has given rise to constant speculation that Microsoft will one day, and probably soon, kill RT.
But Microsoft keeps insisting that it won’t. In today’s Q&A when asked about the fate of Surface 2 and RT, the team predictably answered, “Windows on ARM continues to be an important part of the Windows strategy.”
The team sidestepped a question about why it doesn’t offer a tablet on the Intel Atom chip, Intel’s competitors to ARM, which should allow all those Windows apps to run on a low-cost, low-power tablet. One Redditor suggested that it was because the new chip isn’t really powerful enough to run most Windows desktop apps.
Microsoft had no real comment to that. It offered this as an answer,
“Intel is a great partner to us, and we continue to look at all roadmap options to bring you the best products possible. … We will continue to evaluate options for the future.”
Maybe that has something to do with it.
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