Microsoft expected to drop Windows RT

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Microsoft expected to drop Windows RT

Three operating systems is one too many.

Microsoft is expected to kill off the ARM-based Windows RT to focus on marketing the operating system on Intel and Windows Phone devices instead.

The tablet-oriented version of the operating system has only managed to grab two percent of the tablet market this year.

Microsoft executive vice president of devices and studios Juliette Larson-Green said late last week said Microsoft would remove one of its three current operating systems, widely tipped to be Windows RT.

"We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three," she said.

She said Microsoft had failed to properly communicate its goal with RT — to deliver the full power of Windows with the simplicity of a tablet experience.

"I think we didn't differentiate the devices well enough. They looked similar. Using them is similar. It just didn't do everything that you expected Windows to do," Larson-Green said.

"So there's been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows. How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you'll see us continue to differentiate it more."

Canalys researcher Pin Chen Tang agreed that Microsoft has to address having three different operating systems for smart devices, which she said is confusing to both developers and consumers.

Microsoft's Surface RT tablets have sold so badly that the company is being sued by shareholders for what they called an "unmitigated disaster". 

Microsoft's traditional hardware partners have also abandoned the platform. In August this year, large Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer Asus stopped producing Windows RT devices due to weak sales.

Microsoft's market share in the tablet space is expected to be boosted by its recent acquisition of Nokia. Analyst firm Canalys has predicted Windows RT share will grow to 5 percent in 2014.

However, Nokia currently has only one device running running Windows RT, the 2520.

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