Dell wanted Microsoft to drop 'confusing' Windows RT branding

By Danny Palmer
17 Dec 2012 View Comments
Surface with Windows RT

Dell urged Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to drop the Windows brand from the tablet-based RT operating system because it thought it would lead to confusion.

That's what Dell vice chairman and president of its PC arm Jeffrey Clarke told analysts at last week's Dell World Conference in Texas last week.

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Clarke said he told Ballmer that the OS for Microsoft's tablets should be called something other than Windows, because the brand suggested the system is compatible with other Windows applications. He argued that because Windows RT can't run regular Windows applications, it should have a different name.

Windows RT doesn't run regular Windows applications aside from Office 2013, which has seen the new operating system criticised since its release. RT looks very similar to Windows 8, but doesn't have as much functionality. Many users have purchased Microsoft's Surface tablet believing the device to be running on Windows 8, when in fact it is based on RT.

Clarke told the Dell World Conference audience that Ballmer said the Windows brand was too important not to be used with Windows RT.

Windows RT has struggled to win admirers following its release, while the chief of the company's Windows division, Steven Sinofsky, resigned shortly afterwards.

Some application developers haven't had much success either, with one in particular abandoning the Windows RT platform after making just £52 from it in a week.

But despite misgivings from the firm's vice chairman, Neil Hand, vice chairman of Dell's tablet division, told the Australian Financial Review that it's up to PC and tablet producers to teach consumers the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8.

"Making sure we educate the market place on the differences was going to be a necessary action no matter what. Just calling it something different is not going to solve the problem," said Hand.

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