Toshiba exec: Microsoft confused consumers over Windows 8, RT

The computer maker accused Microsoft of "confusing" consumers with multiple flavors of Windows 8, such as ARM-based versions.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
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."

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