Microsoft recently decided to cut the licensing fees for its mobile-targeted Windows RT operating system as it was unable to gain much traction against Apple’s iPad so far. These efforts were made in hopes that if manufacturers are able to make less expensive devices, the platform could potentially show signs of life.
According to Bloomberg, this week’s Computex computer industry conference in Taipei will showcase Microsoft making a larger push to grow adoption of Windows RT. The operating system currently holds less than a percentage point of market share according to IDC, which would explain Microsoft’s actions.
As of right now, sources familiar with the company’s plans were unable to confirm the licensing fee cuts as Bloombergnotes that none were unable to tell just how much manufacturers would be paying to license Microsoft’s alternative system. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Windows RT was meant to give Microsoft a foothold in a mobile device segment dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Instead of doing that, Windows RT hasn’t helped accomplish that goal. Reports had consumers confused by the platform’s naming and styling, both of which were very similar to Windows 8. The latter is able to run legacy Windows programs and runs on x86 chip architectures while the former runs no legacy applications and runs on ARM chipsets.
The only relatively successful Windows RT device to date has been Microsoft’s own Surface RT. The device has seen slow adoption and Microsoft gave it an effective price cut by throwing in a $100 keyboard cover for free. Other device manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, and HTC have largely abandoned Windows RT as a platform and some players in the PC industry are said to be less than happy with Microsoft for failing to give them a viable means to compete with Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s tablet offerings. Acer chairman, J.T. Wang said the following regarding the matter:
We have some R&D projects [involving WinRT, but we will be very, very cautious in deciding whether we will do the launch and mass production.
Other manufacturers felt the same but continue to be cautiously optimistic or at least committed to releasing devices they’ve already developed. Dell is working on a Windows RT tablet and HTC is working on a 7-inch device running the system. Aside from these few plans, hardware companies are less specific on their plans going forward. We’ll have to see if Microsoft’s efforts make a difference.