Windows RT has not been all that successful since it first launched late last year alongside Windows 8. The new operating system was billed as a slimmed down version of Windows 8 for tablets that run on ARM-based chips and only support apps built for Windows 8. It was a good idea, but consumers didn’t bite. Manufacturers have been pulling their support over the last year, and one of the last few holdouts has finally called it quits.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Asus CEO Jerry Shen says that his company will no longer create Windows RT devices due to the financial losses his company has accrued due to supporting the platform. Much like Microsoft, the company had to take a writedown on its unsold Windows RT tablets.
Of course, Asus still values Microsoft as a partner and won’t be abandoning Windows 8 anytime soon. Shen says that his company will now exclusively focus on Intel/x86 machines. These machines run Windows 8 Pro and are backwards compatible with legacy software. Much of the criticism levied against Windows RT was that it wasn’t backwards compatible so a focus on Windows 8 Pro machines is a good bet.
Of course, the question now is whether or not there’s anybody actually supporting Windows RT anymore. It’s hard to say at this point. Microsoft lowered the display requirement so manufacturers can make cheap 7-inch Windows RT tablets, but the only manufacturers taking advantage of the lower display requirements are focusing on Windows 8 proper.
At this point, it looks like only Microsoft is keeping Windows RT alive. It’s already lowered the price of its current Surface RT tablet, and is even rumored to be working on an entirely new Surface RT for this holiday season. Even then, it’s hard to say how long even Microsoft will keep it up. It took a $900 million charge related to unsold Windows RT tablets during its last earnings report. Microsoft certainly has the cash to keep pushing Windows RT, but its shareholders and partners might not appreciate that very much.