No room in the market
I’m all for innovation and clever new ways to thinking about old problems. Our society is changing to take greater advantage of the opportunities afforded by devices that are always there, always have power, and always have connectivity. The PC has to change in the face of that change, and it is changing.
The problem that I have with Windows RT and why I pitched my tent in the “Windows RT is worthless” camp is as follows -- the way that it’s been done, there simply isn’t room in the market to allow Windows RT to thrive. The price points are too close to normal Windows laptops. The central proposition of Windows RT -- “It’s mostly like Windows, but you can’t run most Windows software on it”, is broken. There’s nothing compelling about devices that are based on Windows RT that creates any form of market. And that is why I think it's worthless.
No crystal ball required
It’s easy to take potshots at Windows RT, version 1.0. But it takes only a bit of vision to look two or three years into the future and see its path to success.
My worthy opponent argues that Microsoft should have started with its phone operating system and scaled it up.
The trouble with that strategy is that you end up removing some of the most important bits of what a secure, robust mobile platform should have, including a real file system, support for multiple user accounts, and the ability to shift effortlessly between consumption and creation on a single device.
Today, Windows RT is admittedly an early adopter’s product. Oh, you can do a lot today with web-based services and first-gen apps like the Kindle reader and Skype, and Office 2013. But in a few years Windows RT will be the mobile version of Windows. As ARM technology continues to evolve and developers (including Microsoft) ship more robust apps for the platform, it’s easy to see a future where the RT side of Windows is more important than the legacy side.
Maybe then we’ll be debating whether it’s time to retire that old, quaint legacy version of Windows.