Toshiba exec: Microsoft confused consumers over Windows 8, RT

Toshiba exec: Microsoft confused consumers over Windows 8, RT

Summary: The computer maker accused Microsoft of "confusing" consumers with multiple flavors of Windows 8, such as ARM-based versions.

Windows RT devices have not been selling well. (Image: CNET)

Microsoft has already taken a lot of flak over Windows 8, predominantly over its new design aesthetic. But more and more PC makers are lining up to point the finger at the software giant over its own marketing strategy.

At a product launch in Sydney, Toshiba Australia managing director Mark Whittard launched a ground-assault against Microsoft's marketing strategy, reports The Australian, claiming the software giant caused a "lot of confusion with Windows 8" with Intel-based machines and ARM-based machines.

That's likely because not enough people know what Windows RT even is. As a result, sales are down, according to Dell, and latest usage share figures shows that Windows RT barely registers on any meaningful scale.

He reportedly argued that customers who bought an ARM-based Surface tablet or Windows-powered tablet later discovered that they had to buy additional apps, because the software wasn't supported or included.

While he was speaking from his "personal view" that Microsoft "confused the market with a couple of different flavours" of the operating system, his words will still bounce back on Toshiba as the company he works for. As for the pricing, it "didn't make sense," he told the publication, as the price of laptops were significantly higher than the typical $399-$599 price range.

His argument is that the price gap between non-touch machines touch machines expanded to in some cases as high as $400, and questioned whether customers will find this "unpalatable."

Toshiba was late to the Windows 8 game, and pulled out of developing Windows RT-based tablets altogether before the software even launched. The PC maker instead decided to focus on Intel processors, ergo Windows 8 machines.

But Lenovo and Samsung, which both make Windows 8 and Windows RT-based devices, have already bundled in software to include the Windows Start menu, for instance, which remains one of the biggest gripes behind the latest Microsoft operating system.

OEMs are also complaining, reports ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. In his speaking to OEM sources, Microsoft is "destroying" the PC industry. Another OEM partner claimed the problems with Windows 8 has "handed over millions of customers to Apple."

Toshiba still represents a fraction of the overall market. What appears to be on the face of it is a PC manufacturer dousing Microsoft in flames, the PC maker is only just getting around to launching and selling Windows 8-based machines.

Whittard noted that Toshiba is only just getting around to selling Windows 8-based devices — not Windows RT — because it still had Windows 7 stock to clear from its inventory. Focusing on the business market, he said many businesses don't upgrade their machines to a new operating system "until two or three years later."

Topics: Mobility, Tablets, Toshiba, Windows 8

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  • Interesting

    Despite this argument being said to death, Microsoft might as well reevaluate the features of Windows RT going forward. If they plan to continue offering the desktop, it'd be better to allow desktop applications to be submitted to the Windows Store. That way, all developers really have to do is compile their programs for ARM and then send them off, rather than have to go through the design process of standard Metro apps.
    • Agreed

      I like Surface RT, I really do. We have both Pro and RT in our shop and no one else wanted the RT so I grabbed it and rather like its quirkiness. But there are some things about it that MS really, REALLY needs to fix. Handing out APIs for VPN to security vendors would be one of them, allowing users to easily side load apps another. I run the jailbreak and frankly it makes no sense not to just allow the unlocked functionality baked in if you want it.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • Seriously?

        Rann Xeroxx wrote:
        "We have both Pro and RT in our shop and no one else wanted the RT so I grabbed it ... I run the jailbreak ..."

        You are operating your company-provided Surface RT tablet jailbroken for business use? Please tell me that you are not an IT staff member.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Start with the name

      Naming it "Windows RT" was so incredibly stupid. Totally indistinguishable from "Windows 8" to everyone who isn't a tech enthusiast. Should have named it in a way that indicates a totally different experience. Something like "Crystalite" or "Onyx" or "Mercury" or "XTatic". Perfect opportunity to create a new image for a modern, younger, digital-oriented consumer demographic, hopefully not too late to re-brand. On the other hand, I'm fine with "Windows 8" for the version that includes backwards-compatibility.
      • Exactly right

        They should never have called the tablet version of Windows "Windows" at all. They should have completely rebranded it. But they were scared. All their marketing department knows how to do is call everything "Windows". "Windows RT" was the stupidest name in the entire history of product naming. And I have been saying that since the very first day they announced what the name was going to be.
  • Too boring

    The FUD against Windows 8 continues, and its getting really boring. Lets exam today's FUD

    "1. The computer maker accused Microsoft of "confusing" consumers with multiple flavors of Windows 8, such as ARM-based versions. "

    - Does two version of Windows 8 - Intel / ARM make it "multiple" and "Confusing" ???

    2 . " Another OEM partner claimed the problems with Windows 8 has "handed over millions of customers to Apple."

    - There are no increase in Apple machine sales.

    3. " He reportedly argued that customers who bought an ARM-based Surface tablet or Windows-powered tablet later discovered that they had to buy additional apps, because the software wasn't supported or included. "

    - Really, What Software is that ???

    Toshiba's inability to bring well designed tablets/ Laptops is Toshiba's problem and not Microsoft's. Blaming Windows 8 for Toshiba's failure is too childish
    • Lets leave it at this

      RT is not selling - whoever's fault it is and for whatever reasons (of which are very obvious). It will be discontinued soon. That's life - lets move on.
      • Unlikely

        I find it really unlikely that Microsoft is going to discontinue Windows RT any time soon. Even if all OEMs abandon it, Microsoft will continue updating and selling its Surface RT tablet because it's where they want things to go in the future. Besides, they need the kernel for Windows Phone so they'll have to keep the back-end updated regardless.
        • One Problem

          I have done a little hunting on prices of Windows RT Tablets and Windows 8 tablets. Now, let's break it down further and note that some Windows 8 tablets run on Atom processors, and others don't. Atom processor tablets get nearly as good battery life as ARM tablets, and cost often as little as $100 more than a Windows RT tablet. Look at the Dell XPS 10 and Latitude 10. The same is seen when looking at other tablets. I am afraid that one of the reasons why Windows RT is not selling is because Windows 8 Atom tablets provide better value.

          To me, the only Windows RT tablet that makes sense to me is the Surface. I want the touchcover. I have tried it out, and it is big enough for my big fingers. The keyboards offered with other Windows RT tablets, like the Asus and the Dell are not big enough for my fingers. I do not know if that is a big problem in the market as a whole, but I think my earlier point is.

          Windows 8 may be the big problem for Windows RT. Unlike the Surface and Surface Pro, with their $300 price difference, the difference at most other OEMs is much less, if they are running Atom processors.

          I think it would be funny if Microsoft's wedge in to the tablet market turned out to be Windows 8, rather than Windows RT.
      • Declining the Advice

        Toshiba chose to not offer RT devices, thus, it doesn't matter to Toshiba if RT devices are a hit or not.

        Ultimately the decision to enter a product category depends on one's belief that there's a way to profitability that is worth the effort. Is it unreasonable for Toshiba to note (or whine) when a key vendor is pricing its os high and producing competing devices?

        One note about handing over millions of customers to Apple. In an article about tablets, this complaint is refuted with "Well Apple's not selling more [Macs]." That's true. Apple, though, are absolutely selling millions of more iPads. You know, that alternate version of OS X on ARM? That toy that cannot replace a laptop because it doesn't have Word? Shall I list other things that are irrelevant?

        Now I don't think Windows 8 in general really makes any difference there, so "Microsoft chasing" is not a correct assessment. Plus we all see that with Windows 8, Microsoft is working its tail off to be sure that Apple has to compete with Windows devices in the mobile space.

        I do think the math is pretty simple. Microsoft decided to halt the unprofitable pc race to the bottom by setting it up so that the number of OEMs will be decreasing. That's why we will not hear Lenovo complaining. Maybe that's why Dell gets a loan, so it can outlast its price undercutters. That's why we will hear from the Acers and Toshibas. I think at this point, it's time to recall a line from the movie The Zero Effect. "There aren't good guys and bad guys, just guys."
    • New software

      I think some of what was said was correct and other parts not so much.

      1) MS should have left the "Windows" name of the RT tablet and not marketed under that name. That did confuse people (not everyone hangs out on tech blogs) and even tech people at work still ask me questions when they see I have an RT. Then there is the whole "Metro vs Modern UI" thingy. Do you know of anyone who calls it Modern UI, other then MS and a few bloggers, I don't. Confusing.

      2) Number 1 leads to number 2 in that no one seems to bat an eye to buying new software for their iPad or Android but seem to think they should be able to run their x86 Win apps on RT. MS should have buried the desktop on RT (let it be there if you hack it out) and leave no doubt that this is not Windows.

      3) MS is moving into a crowded market. They should have had the best, the very best Metro apps available but instead released with even the core apps kinda sucking and failing. Even today they really should pump millions and millions into helping 3rd parties develop some of the best apps out there. I look at Metro apps and it just seems like most of them just stink.
      Rann Xeroxx
    • There's no market for it

      A tablet, any tablet, for close to $1000?
      Come on!
      As far as RT, the writer is spot on!
      There are not enough techies - even on ZDNet - to make it a viable product.
      And consumers - THAT'S WHERE THE MARKET IS - *ARE* confused.
      Even people posting here don't realize that RT is NOT an X86 product and that, just because it's "Windows 8" it will NOT run Windows apps.
      • RT tablets cost $1,000?

        I don't know what demented world you live in, but every RT device released has been under the $700 mark.

        RT is not Windows 8.

        Windows 8 will run any Windows application, so-long as it follows development standards.

        RT is not an X86 product, nor is it a "version" of Windows 8.
        • Still to expensive

          Yes, I don't know how you pay $1000 for an RT-based tablet, but regardless, they came out of the gate about $200 too expensive. Combine that with the poor marketing and you have a product launch disaster. Which means no market share, which means nobody is interested in building apps for the thing, making it all the harder to make the reboot work this year. Plus, the built-in metro apps, especially the Mail app, are dreadful, still.
    • Hey OwlllllNet the Windows 8 METRO UI on a laptop or desktop is CRAP

      and you know it. Only you Loverock Davidson, Willie Ferret, Ye and Todbottom3 are still waving your banners all day long here on Zdnet trying to rederick that dead fish (Windows 8 & Surface RT)
      Over and Out
      • Yeah right, 100 million and counting in just 6 months.

        iPads/Android tabs will soon fade away...
        • Re: Yeah right, 100 million and counting in just 6 months.

          Guess how many Android sold in that time...
      • You talk like an idiot "Over and Out".

        What an absolutely abysmal attempt to make it sound like the whole world except the meager few you mentioned hate Windows 8. Just an absolutely futile, pointless and idiotic shot at it.

        Just one huge and stinking pile of FAIL.

        In fact such an obvious and lousy fail without even a miniscule amount of credibility to it Im not even going to point out the reasons why we all KNOW as an absolute fact now your simply dead wrong. So if you really do not know why its so easy to call MASSIVE FAIL on your garbage post, go ahead and look it up dimwit. Or suffer or whatever. I could care less.

        All that matter is that MOUTHS like you need to be called on their crap and if they care to figure things out for themselves after, then fine, if not, who cares. Although, for some bizarre reason, you appear to have forgotten that only people on the internet can read your post, and therefore can just as easily find out the truth from many sources online, I haven’t forgotten that, so, you just go ahead and look some things up dumbo.
    • Here are a couple of reads for you

      Assuming you are able to comprehend any of it of course.
      • Windows Phone

        I'd love for that person to be right about Windows Phone becoming more important or even replacing Windows RT going forward. I love my Windows Phone; I tolerate my Surface RT. Windows Phone is really starting to get some app momentum; for Windows RT, all I hear is the chirping of crickets.