Joy Turns to Despair When Retailers’ Confusion Spreads to Customers.
12 November 2012
Microsoft recently launched one of the largest marketing campaigns of all time, celebrating their 3 new similar but very different platforms. The 3 new platforms, Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, and Windows Phone 8 all look and act similar, they are a major leap from all previous versions of Windows but familiar on the surface (pun intended). Windows 8 RT really is Windows 8, but only runs certain apps from the Microsoft version of the iTunes Store Simply called Windows Store, this is due to the CPU on ARM that is on RT devices not being Intel based. So all 3 run applications or apps that will only work on one of the 3 types of devices,
This means for example a Windows RT tablet will not currently run Microsoft Outlook, (or any other Windows 7 application) but has other special RT only Microsoft Office Products on it, Windows phone8 doesn’t run outlook but like RT will sync with your mail. Many believe this confusion could have been avoided had Microsoft just released the Phone OS to tablets rather than offering a 3rd hybrid, Widows 8 RT.
The confusion is not limited to consumers retailers also are having some challenges getting across the differences in the 3 platforms, especially Windows 8, and Windows 8 RT.
As a long time agnostic tech fan boy, I was excited when Windows 8 had its official launch recently. I have been using it sometime via the Microsoft MSDN developer licensing program. Here the mission was simple, to see and buy some dedicated Windows 8 hardware, tablets or laptops running Windows 8 with an Intel i5 or i7 chip, instead of ARM, (RT8) or Win8 on an Atom CPU with Windows 7 that has now been upgraded to Windows 8. First thing I saw was an ad for some of the high street stores showing these new ‘wares’. Unfortunately, none of the retailers understood there was a difference between RT and Win8. I asked for a touch screen laptop or tablet, to my delight I saw an RT device (did not know it was RT at the time. To the retailer Windows 8 was windows 8. Hmmm. It turns out that none of the new windows 8 devices were anything new. I tried to explain the Win8 vs RT differences. RT will not run outlook email, only apps from the windows store. Windows 8 devices will run windows 7 software.
I had a bit of an argument when the sales assistant and his manager insisted to me that RT and Windows 8 ran the same software. Look RT has Office on it and mail. Yes but mail is not outlook and only RT apps run on RT. I am mistaken I was told. This was now the manager, and I just shook my head and left. Thanks Harvey Norman (or Hardly Normal as I call them) . At the Good Guys, another retailer, it was easier, sorry mate nothing in yet. It was only at Office Works, that they actually apologized as they only had one touchscreen laptop in. Hey but he knew what I was asking for.. well done.
This is the problem. How does Microsoft expect consumers (those not beta testers since Windows 1) to understand RT vs Windows 8 when the retailers do not.
Microsoft needs a good 3 item commercial, that does not pretend to be 3 devices at the same time.