I’d like to start with a short breakdown of the current Windows 8 offerings: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows RT. The first three are compatible with Intel chipsets while RT is only available on ARM-based devices. Windows RT can run a basic version of Office 2013 that comes preloaded with the operating system, but it cannot run traditional desktop applications based in the x86 architecture. The other three versions can run everything, however.
Confused? I hope not, because I did my best to explain it as clearly as possible. But if you are, don’t sweat it, you’re definitely not the only one still confused about it. Dell executive Jeffrey Clarke saw this coming earlier in the year, and went as far as informing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer of the potential confusion this would cause. Clarke informed Ballmer of the dangers of calling the tablet operating system Windows RT, because its incompatibility with other versions of Windows would only lead to confusion.
Ballmer’s response was that the Windows brand was too important to not be used in the name of the tablet operating system. As we all know now, this was a mistake on his (and the company’s) part as confusion regarding the new operating system is mostly due to Windows RT. Microsoft had to extend their return policies for their Surface tablet after users started to realize that their new device wouldn’t run any of their usual Windows applications, save for Office.
Windows RT arguably isn’t a bad operating system in itself, however, but the currently limited app selection is certainly not enough for most people to use it as their only device. Especially when they’re expecting something else entirely — a full Windows experience.
Know anybody still confused about Windows 8 and Windows RT? Do Microsoft a favor and tell them the difference!