Anyone buying now knows the difference with Windows RT

There’s been a bit of commentary in the last few days about Microsoft’s messaging with respect to the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8. The concern seems to be that Mum, Dad, Grandma, or the family cat will run out and buy a Surface on release day and then hassle you asking why a legacy application like TaxaBlaster2005 doesn’t run on it.

In reality, anyone who has pre-ordered a Surface or likely gets an RT device this side of the holiday season knows which Tram they are getting on and isn’t going to accidentally end up in Bundoora. While some journos might have rung up a couple of Microsoft Stores and chatted to some sales droids that weren’t on message (say what you want about the Apple Stores, the sales droids there are unlikely to run off into the Dune sea babbling on about some mission), it’s pretty reasonable to assume that anyone wandering into a Microsoft store in the next few weeks to drop some cash for this kit knows what they are getting themselves into. They will know what RT does. What it doesn’t do. And they’ll know why they want it.

Today’s consumer isn’t the technical illiterate of years past. There are people driving cars who weren’t born when Windows 95 was released. Today’s first adopters are smart people who aren’t dropping a few hundred bucks on a device they’ve never seen or haven’t researched. I bet if you polled most people who walked out of a Microsoft Store with a Surface over the next few weeks, they’d be able to tell you a fair amount about the device they purchased because they would have done the legwork before they splashed out and purchased the thing.

By the time the general public becomes interested in Windows RT devices, which probably won’t be next week or even next month, the droids at the Microsoft Store and other retail outlets will know how to answer questions about the devices.

Microsoft doesn’t need to put up a special website saying “You Really Need To Know The Following About Windows RT” because the information is already out there.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Oct 19, 2012
Uh, this is sarcasm, right? In the comments for Surface articles on certain 'hip' gadget websites there are people thinking they are going to be able to run bittorrent clients or plug in random hardware devices into this thing. They expect that something like a jailbreak is going to let them put whatever desktop apps they want on it. These are the early adopter types and they have no clue. God help them when they try to play some obscure video file format on WinRT.
on Oct 19, 2012
I think you are giving way too much credit for normal people. Anyone outside of the "tech world" are going to be clueless. They are buying a Microsoft product and expect Microsoft software they own to work on it. We are going to see considerable confusion for the mid term. This is a misstep and Microsoft has done a horrible job communicating what the RT does.
on Oct 19, 2012
Hear hear! The difference isn't even that complicated. Windows RT gives you a 'pure tablet' experience where Metro is king, but you get just enough 'Windows' in there to make it more flexible and powerful than an iPad. Windows 8 is for those who just can't live without My-Home-Finance Pro 2004 .. or whatever (and of course, Windows 8 will be great for business users, I don't want to belittle the need for legacy, it's important in the business arena).

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books for Microsoft Press, founded the Melbourne System Center,...
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