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Windows 8 RT could really hurt Android, here's why and how Microsoft could screw it all up

Last night I was at a +Qualcomm event and got a good look, finally, at a great tablet device running Microsoft Windows 8 RT. I was holding the +Samsung USA ATIV Smart PC. Samsung posted a bunch of photos of it over on its Facebook feed:

I shot a few photos (attached to this post) and one of them is of the Samsung sitting on top of my iPad, which is the latest generation. Yeah, the screen on the Samsung isn't quite as sharp as the Retina display on the iPad, but it does have one advantage over the iPad: it's a 16:9 form factor, so nicer for watching HDTV videos.

That said, the build quality on the Samsung matches the iPad in every way and goes beyond it in one important way: it joins up with a keyboard dock which makes it look similar to a MacBook Air. 

The Verge has a good look at it, with lots of specs:

Here's what I like about the Samsung.

1. Better UI than iOS or Android. Microsoft did do a very nice job of rethinking the touch UI. We can argue whether there's some ugliness underneath the pretty skin, but I don't think that will matter that much because for most people they will stick in the "new" UI, which used to be called Metro.
2. The build quality is top rate. If Apple shipped this tomorrow as a new form factor I'd believe it. It doesn't have the problems of poor build quality that its Android-based tablets have. It feels solid, smooth.
3. Speed seemed to be very good.
4. The Qualcomm employee who was holding it says battery life matches or beats the iPad. We'll have to wait to see real world tests, but I bet that the engineers did their jobs.

Things I don't like? 
1. I'm fairly locked into the Apple ecosystem now because of AirPlay. Even our NewTek Tricaster uses AirPlay and at Rackspace we're planning on buying Apple TVs for our conference rooms so you can walk in with an iPad or a Mac and project wirelessly on the monitor. Yeah, you can claim DLNA does the same thing but it isn't nearly as nice and it doesn't work on our Tricaster. Not to mention I have Apple TVs in every room at home now.
2. The apps on iPad are, well, just way way ahead. I don't believe Microsoft is going to be able to even get close to iPad for at least another year. Except in one important area: Office. If you are still addicted to Outlook and Excel, that's going to make these devices very attractive.

The one big question that remains is price. This is where Microsoft might screw it all up.

See, Samsung isn't alone in showing off new Windows 8 RT machines this week. Dell, Asus, HP and others showed them off, too. I'm looking forward to reading reviews in +SlashGear  , +Engadget  ,, +The Verge   and other places as these make their way to market.

Why does that present an opportunity for Microsoft to screw it all up? Because Microsoft is going to sell its own Windows 8 RT tablet too. 

Next week I'll be at the Amazon Kindle launch event where we're expected to see a much improved Kindle Fire for $199. We're hearing lots of rumors that Apple is gearing up for a $299 launch of a new mini iPad, too. 

So there is extreme price pressure on Microsoft. Let's say Ballmer wants to sell its Surface RT tablet for $199. That will decimate the chances that anyone else will be able to sell these tablets for much more. Maybe the Samsung, thanks to its nice build quality, could go for $299 in such a scenario, but I don't think most people would go for it if it was priced anywhere close to the iPad. iPad 2 is already $399. Apple could easily reduce price to keep its competitors from making much money. 

But it really depends on what Microsoft does. If it prices its own tablet very low, in order to gain market share and get developers excited (extremely few Venture-backed developers are working on Windows 8 apps) then it will really piss off the other OEMs unless Microsoft starts pouring cash toward them to help them lower their prices too.

Microsoft is also doing a HORRID job at evangelizing and getting developers excited about Windows 8. I've been checking in with lots of the famous app developers and very few, other than Pulse, which was paid by Microsoft, are even working on apps yet. This is not the Microsoft evangelism efforts of the 1990s where developers were slobbering all over themselves to build apps.

So, why will these hurt Android? Because Android doesn't have the best tablet apps either, and it doesn't have the big stick of Office. Also, Android is harder to develop for, particularly for those enterprise developers who have been building .NET apps for a decade or more now.

This will be a very interesting year to watch. I'm getting slightly more bullish each week about Microsoft's efforts here, but they still have some HUGE hurdles ahead. The lack of apps other than Office is gonna be glaring. The price is a HUGE question. And Amazon and Apple both are setup for product launches between now and Christmas, so the entire market could switch overnight. 

Remember how I was so excited by Palm one year at CES? They had a great launch, showed me a great OS and a great device. But it didn't ship for six months. In between that launch and ship Apple brought out a new iPhone that took all the oxygen away from Palm.

I'm worried that Microsoft will see the same thing happen to it, too. 

How about you? Let's keep Apple out of this. Does Windows 8 RT make it more likely or less likely that you would buy an Android tablet? For me it makes it less likely, which has got to worry Google and friends.
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The only way Windows could hurt +Android would be to go open source and have no licensing fees. I don't think that will happen but if it does, great!
There is room in the market for both, no?
+Robert Scoble Win8 could be the best ting out there, but until Microsoft starts rebuilding some relationships with devs and dev shops there will just be no longevity.
I'd welcome a strong 3rd player, but am still doubtful till I can get my own hands on one of these MS tablets.  Glad to see MS hasn't just thrown in the towel.
First, because you earned it: So, now, no matter how superior other platforms get, you'll have a problem because you let the evil empire suck you into their completely restrictive non-standard infrastructure. GOOD JOB, SIR!

My thoughts: Yeah, I know of almost nobody working on Windows 8 support. I've heard good things about Windows 8 when actually coupled with a touchscreen, but the lock-in, like Apple, would probably prevent me from touching an RT device, at the least. Honestly, I don't think Microsoft is going to be able to compete on price. I think they know it'll screw their partners, and I doubt the device they've shown off can be sold that cheaply anyhow. Google pulled off dirt cheap with the Nexus 7 because they left off a bunch of features their OEMs could market at a premium.
Y Jang
MS product always has potential to hurt those new mobile OS because they have a lines of product most of users got already familiar with. 
but steve jobs said that after his testing the current ipad screen is the best and anyone who says different doesn't know what they are talking about
The future is web apps anyways, in 5 years it will all be a mute point. It will just be a full on browser war by then!
Once the new iPhone hits, if they do go 16:9 (finally, Apple's been really really behind on screens, Retina Display marketing aside), I'd expect the next iPad to be 16:9 as well.
+Phil Edge Windows RT has something Windows Phone 7 didn't: Unified UI with desktop. Windows Phone 7 was "early" in that regard.
+Robert Scoble Highly disagree with you, everything will be possible with web apps soon, camera access, gyroscope access, any hardware on the phone will have an API to access it, just as fast as a native app.
+Robert Scoble +Stephen Fuller Bear in mind it's not just RT: you have the same TIFKAM on Windows 8, which will eventually run on hundreds of millions of x86 PCs. And maybe on Windows 8 phones and Xboxes as well....
+Robert Scoble just kidding. have an ipad myself and movies look pretty bad on it. it's like the old 4:3 TV's. nice for reading though. how is 16:9 for reading?
+Elijah Lynn The Chrome team's made a lot of advancement in web apps accessing system resources, and Google in general has really redefined the web app (Google Play Music is an INCREDIBLE web app, it's smoother than iTunes, and it's in your browser!), but to be honest, given the choice, I'd almost always take a mobile app over a website on my tablet, and I don't see that changing for a long while.
I dont get it. Microsoft is the most populare OS today. And every time microsoft has come out with a new version there has been a buzz that never live up to the expectations. Let's face it. It will never be as Windows 95 98 times again. The competition today is much more open. Today you can use any kind of OS and still be able to do the things you want on a computer. Windows 8 looks OK, but its not anything new. It is just what we expect or a bit less.
+Elijah Lynn how do you use a web app with no internet? like when i take the train to work 100 feet under NYC?
I would be very surprised if the Surface is less than $499.
+Jake Weisz Yes, right now, it is a no brainer, it is not even close yet. I am saying that in 5 years we are going to see quite a bit change, already companies are starting to compromise and just build a web app since they don't have the resourced to build native on iOS and Android + their web app. Yes, it is horribly slow right now and not nearly as good of a user experience but it is coming. 

The future is web apps, not now but the future.
16:9 is not as great for browsing the web and images. And I don't think Office apps on tablets will be an important factor anytime soon. But I could be proven wrong. Time will tell.
Like you said, its all about the Apps.  I too, have not heard anyone I know of talking about doing development on WIndows 8. I find it hard to believe that MS doesn't just look back in its old playbook and realize that the OS with the most developers on it wins.  Whatever happened to MS evangelism?
+Lasse Sørnes Windows 7 has been the best selling PC operating system of all time, and as the new corporate standard, it is going to keep selling. I'd say that it had surpassed expectations, though it's hard to tell. (There are always plenty of idiot Microsoft haterz who attack every release of Windows, regardless of logic or merit.)

The claim that "Windows 8 looks OK, but its not anything new" is obviously not true. Check out the Building Windows 8 blog for loads of examples.
My only problem with RT is that it's moving away from what got me most excited about Win8 - one platform for everything. The prospect of a tablet that's also a laptop was intriguing to me, but RT will not have complete API access or the ability to support every app that runs on the desktop, which was the factor I thought would make me ditch my Android tablet. I know there will be developers who build great apps on RT, but I doubt it will catch-up to the iPad, which is more appealing if I decide not to use Android.

The things I do on my tablet are read Pocket/Pulse/Currents and ebooks, browse Twitter/Google+, and play games like Dead Trigger/Ski Safari/Riptide. Android doesn't have much success in the tablet market to begin with, but I'm not so sure RT will pull away that many Android users (on a consumer level, at least). 
Once you get to know android youll never look back.
+Robert Scoble maybe developers will start creating tablet optimised web apps that are cross platform rather than native apps.
+Elijah Lynn Actually the opposite is happening. A lot of companies tried to build mobile web apps and are now switching to native. I don't know anyone that is switching from native to web. Its all the other way around.
I think that I would be more likely to buy a Windows RT tablet than an Android Tablet. Provided Microsoft has the few core apps that I use in the store. The other factor is price. Pricing is going to be critical. The lead that is buried is the App store in Windows 8. The appification of Windows will put them on par with OSX now. Especially for the budget conscious consumer. Given a choice of spending my money on a retina MacBook Pro to replace my current MacBook Pro or Windows. I opted for Windows knowing full well I will upgrade the machine to Windows 8. I used some of the savings to buy Photoshop and Lightroom for Windows. And still have money left over. 
I bought an Android tablet (Nexus 7) after knowing all of the above except the new Samsung tablet. I like the idea of WinRT devices, but mostly because I've been hearing some average users say that they're interested in them, especially at the possible $199 price. They could be a great device to tote to a meeting. But I personally don't really need another limited arm-based tablet. I would be pretty interested in the full Win8 tablets though, but without being able to code for iOS on them, they can't replace my primary MacBook Pro.
It's sad to hear that developer evangelism is so bad on the west coast. I've heard it from others too. Here in Florida, we've had multiple packed Windows 8 development camps and quite a bit of excitement about building apps for the Win8 family. It is a bit different developer audience though, made up of a lot of developers that work on corporate line-of-business apps. 
+Robert Scoble Whether its DOA or not, I'd say Surface can't and won't be less than $499 for a variety of reasons.
I see this being a hit with the over 40 crowd that came up using only Microsoft computing. The Elitist will still carry ieverything as a status symbol and the rest of us will go with the hip open source option. And lastly the CEO types that need FBI type encryption will use RIM playbook.
+David Shellabarger Funny, just noticed you are an Android developer so it would make sense you would perceive what you say to be true. As a disclaimer, I am a web developer so it would make sense I would perceive what I say to be true. In the end we are both biased towards our craft.

Guess we we will see what happens in 5 years! I am placing my bets on the web. Nobody knows until it happens!
UI aside.  With previous versions of windows the entry price was MSDN & Visual Studio (if you wanted to be first to market). Now if you want to be W8 you also get MS eating the icing off of every sale you make in the app store (30% or so if I heard right). It's also a bit of a risk since you could potentially get rejected from app store inclusion. Most developers for touch interfaces are already comfortable with apple or android. In this environment there isn't much incentive to develop for W8 first (or exclusively), so W8 support is likely to be something you add after you've established your primary market. Developer adoption is likely to be slow in this case. You already see evidence of this from Valve and some other game developers.

The other thing that I see a problem with. W8 is coming to both PC and ARM at the same time and I don't see MS making it extremely obvious that legacy apps won't run on W8 ARM devices. It's easy to envision some consumer rage when the average (clueless) consumer buys an ARM device and comes to realize it won't run their favorite W7 apps.
I have an iPad and the Toshiba Thrive Android tablet.  I am a Microsoft partner and developer. There are ways to develop cross platform that probably won't work with Windows RT or will take at least 8 months or more to adapt.  From the software side, Windows RT has no compelling story in the marketplace.  From the consumer side, Android has the low end and broad market and Apple represents the high end.  Where is Microsoft's story?  Right now the Microsoft's marketing is very immature and unconvincing.  They don't only seem to have lost two major markets, they seem to have no clue how to play competitively there.  If Microsoft has not convinced their early development partners to spew apps like a firehose, things look bad no matter what the price point is.
Price point for Windows tablets from various manufacturers is key. If they go ever near the price of iPad, the preference will definitely Apple. iPad will be still most used and desired tab for next few months.
Apple is slightly more likely to be hurt by RT than Google but only if Microsoft gets smart and goes into hardware big time. They have no hope of competing with Google as the search wars clearly show. They may have no hope of competing with Apple either but its to early to say and the Surface was certainly a nice opening shot.

In any case they can't compete in a world where their two chief competitors use their OS's to either sell hardware or generate ad revenue as they currently depend on the OS for their profits.
+Robert Scoble I think they're a year or two late for me. When Windows & came out and they talked a good deal about tablets running Windows 7 I was excited. But then it never happened, and my excitement went away... 

I was really excited about the possibility of having a tablet that ran  the stuff I ran on my laptop. 

As my phone gets better I have really less and less need for a laptop (there are still a few things I do that tablets phones can't though so I haven't gotten any kind of tablet yet).  I'm betting by the time windows rt has the apps that I already have on Android, there won't really be any need for me to have a laptop anymore, and therefore no need for a laptop/tablet crossover.
+Robert Scoble Also who I think this tablet is good for? People who are still heavily into windows and haven't really gotten into the smartphone/tablet market yet. This is a good... transition piece?
+Jason Stewart My excitement died when I dealt with the Windows Pocket PC by HP back in the early 2000's. Then I learned about GNU/Linux and the open source movement and have been hooked on the concept ever since!

So I'll address the point list of likes:

1) "Better UI" is entirely subjective. I know people that have raved about the new Office button lay out but I absolutely hate it. I will go out of my way to uninstall the latest office to put office 2003 or 2008 on it...that's how much I hate MS's attempt to reinvent the wheel every 2 years on the office suite. As for the OS, there is a reason why Linux and Apple is gaining share...MS has been upgrading their OS superficially for for too long since XP (which arguably the guts of which are still hiding all all these newer OS's). That said, the touch paradigm is still unexplored country when it comes to finding the right UI/UX paradigms that are efficient for every application. Ultimately all you want is a quick dashboard that gets you to the apps you want to use quickly....that is pretty much commodity now. The multi page slide paradigm with icons. Microsoft turns their icons into "tiles" and calls that an innovation...but designers (another thing I do) are not at all fooled. The invariant of "take me to my stuff" is still common to both of them. So this is a non starter as a dominant reason to buy a Windows pad over an Ios or Android one.

2) Build quality is something that the tech. bloggers seem to love harping about effusively that the consumer really doesn't care that much about. As long as the device doesn't shatter into glass when it drops (oops...Apple) it's good enough. Interestingly, the Samsung devices being made of what the bloggers have called "inferior" plastic in many reviews are precisely why those devices are almost never seen in the wild with broken screens (as I've seen countless times with IOS devices) why? Apple's use of rigid, energy transmittive metals in their cases (the so called good stuff) means that such shocks are directly transmitted to the relatively fragile glass when the device hits the ground, inflexibility is deadly to a glass screen surrounded by a metal case. This is simple physics at work...but hey you want to have a "heavy" feeling phone for some take the good with the bad. Anyway...this is an issue to only the fraction of fan boys like Scoble...most people want their device NOT to break...and if that means putting it in light plastic than so be it.

3) Okay...and? Has he used the Nexus 7 yet? It's probably the fastest Pad on the market right now, hands down. Android pads have a huge evolutionary advantage as they are being made by many different manufacturers all going "survival of the fittest" on know, competition breeds innovation and advance. Sure if Microsoft gets more manufacturers to put their OS in hardware they can be there to...but if they are going to be requiring a license fee per device to do that...oops! they'll be hamstringing themselves compared to Android which is available free. In this regard Apple is behind (and this is why they should have opened iOS to other hardware makers as I predicted 4 years ago when Android/G1 phone was just a twinkle in Google's eye) and will continue to fall behind...possibly Microsoft will eclipse Apple ...say 5 years down the line...but they don't have a chance catching up to Android.

It's 2012 and I can say completely, I nailed it.

Anyway...diversity in speed will be just as if not more present in Android devices (Nexus 7 is quad core).

4) Battery life, very important metric but one that is about to be irrelevant (within 5 years) thanks to the debut of some seriously advanced super dense battery tech. made possible by those awesome carbon nanotube and graphene materials invented in the previous 5 years. Expect doublings of battery life for everything once people get to devices that last a day or two without a charge...then it won't really be that much of an issue. So this isn't really a major selling point...also keep in mind screens are the major battery killer...better screens mean better life. The commodity sourcing of screen tech like IPS panels and OLED means that the power advantages that come from each new generation get spread over a host of products from different manufacturers...again quickening the rate at which it becomes a commodity non factor issue.

Robert got one thing bang on right near the end, he says that Microsoft is doing a horrible job of getting developers excited about the pad and that is correct. I don't know anyone that wants to develop for a windows machine that isn't in financial services. I am consulting a startup that built something on .Net ...seriously. However one reason we (developers) are not excited is because we see Microsoft as the Titanic...just after it was hit by the berg. and was taking on water but just before the crew realized she was going to sink into the cold North Atlantic depths.

We don't want to be on that ship! ;)
+Robert Scoble The reasons Surface will be $499 or higher:

Surface can be DOA. It's a reference device. It's a "we're showing up our manufacturers so they have to do better". Outside tech circles, Nexus devices aren't actually that successful of products, statistically. (Up until the N7, I suppose, but we don't have numbers there yet.) It's purpose is to roll out the hot stuff from Microsoft, and build excitement. That it did.

Above or below, not both. You have to leave a market open for your manufacturers. If you sell a premium device, you have to let them undercut you, and sell to budget. If you sell budget, like the Nexus 7, you have to leave off the premium features. The Surface is a premium device, spec and build-wise. If they price it like a budget device, their OEMs will leave them. Microsoft can't survive without it's OEMs unless it is prepared to change over to become a vertically-integrated consumer product factory overnight.

The device itself. It beats out on specs other $400-500 devices, and includes a keyboard dock type thing, which generally costs around $100-150. Honestly, I'm not sure they could sustain any sort of profit selling below $499, and given the aforementioned OEMs, they can't afford to sell their first party device at a loss.
+Robert Scoble possibly- but again I think they're a little too late for that. They might stop people who haven't gotten on board with android phones already... But I don't really think they're going to steal someone away who's already on android (and bought a lot of apps).

At this point, I think Android users are kind of like how Apple users were before... At this point Android is big enough that we have almost everything we do covered by Android and the apps there, and the few things we needed MS for we've found out own work arounds... Just "It's compatible with Windows!" isn't a big enough draw anymore.

A couple years ago when I bought my first Android phone? yeah maybe. They missed the boat though.
Let me throw a particular point into the mix here (joke: Microsoft cancelled Mix...).  Windows 8 RT email app does not support POP email servers.  Does this give you confidence in the platform?
The natural base for MS tablet is MSFT desktop/Laptop users - but that in and of itself would be the biggest challenge for MSFT. MSFT may not be so enthused to cannibalize its hugher yielding destop user base to sell to a low yielding tablet space. Android is appealing to a lot of people who are unhappy with MSFT. There's no compelling reason for this constituency to move into MSFT. Android tablets are that bad - any more. With Kindle and Nexus 7  - a very huge number of people are already using Android tablets. Millions of people are already into Android ecosystem and if Google is seen to be consistently improving on the tablet front - opening up a new tablet ecosystem for MS ( with the aim of succeeding spectacularly)would be very hard. 
+Robert Scoble I will never understand your obsession with "Retina Display" screens, Robert.

The Surface is hands-down, the sexiest piece of hardware we've ever seen. I don't want it, but I can admit that. The market here is going to be developers and tech enthusiasts who will buy it (regardless of price) because it looks cool, and they want to try it out. It's like when all the devs get their hands on a Nexus and start writing apps for it the moment they get home.

I honestly don't think the Surface is intended to be a consumer success, which is why I don't think you'll see it undercutting on price.
+Elijah Lynn / +Robert Scoble - I'm fascinated by the "native" versus HTML5 debate in a discussion about Windows 8/RT, since in this case they're basically the same thing :-)
We've heard this magic $199 price point as a rumor, but as far as I know Microsoft has been very quiet about what the price of the Surface will be.  The Nexus 7 is a very good tablet at that price point, and it's widely expected that Amazon will announce a Kindle Fire successor in the same price point.   If Microsoft can match that price point, it might have a chance, but if it strays higher, bargain hunters will go to the Nexus/Kindle (or other tablets from manufacturers like Samsung) and Microsoft will have to compete against the iPad, but hampered by the lack of the infrastucture/ecosystem that Apple enjoys.

But it is Microsoft, and their pockets are deep.  They bought Skype for $8.5 billion, without a clear path to profitability, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that they could try a strategy of loss in the tablet space.  If I were a stockholder though, I'd be a bit mystified by this strategy.
+Robert Scoble I don't think I'd gain any benefit from a higher resolution screen than I have, to be honest.

You're definitely right about the market confusion. If people can't even tell iOS and Android apart, they'll never figure out the difference between RT and 8 Pro. It'll just people tech people saying "Sorry, you can't do that, you need the $1000+ one for that." And they'll be angry about it.
After playing with Windows 8, I have very little faith in this release. On a desktop the clunky, unintuitive UI bogs down what is otherwise a pretty bulletproof OS. On a tablet, I see the entire system hogging resources and lacking the customization of (jailbroken) iOS devices and Android. MS is just not very good at cohesive, unified releases. They seem to have some great ideas, but very rarely are able to package them without making the whole deal seem over complicated or uninteresting.
I'm still as likely to buy another Nexus 7. A Tab 10.1 or Note 10.1? Yep...I'd skip those types of tablets but I'd buy another Nexus 7 and a Windows tablet.
Windows on my phone or tablet. No thanks!
+Robert Scoble I never said that. There's a reason we support JS, C/C++, and C#/VB. But what I meant is that the JS apps are indistinguishable from the others. What do you think the in-box apps are written in?
 I'm considering buying my wife a tablet for Christmas. I'm an Android guy and she's comfortable with my Galaxy Tab, and I've always considered the Windows phones to be lacking. But I do agree that the Metro interface is very compelling. I'm going to keep my eye on the reviews, and I will definitely consider a Windows tablet. 

To answer you questions specifically, it lowers the probably of my buying an Android tablet from 100% to about 75%, based on what I know now.
+Robert Scoble I must be going to Hell.  I installed Win8 on my laptop last weekend and I'm still adding major items to the "bugs me" list.  The difference between RT and Win8 Pro is literally whether it will run legacy apps or not, because RT is the new OS and Win8 Pro gives us the "legacy" desktop.  Anything besides Intel chips won't run the "legacy" desktop, you only get the new OS, which drops 22 years of Windows architecture at the app level for a very restricted app environment fine-tuned for mobile phones.  Everyone here is correct, Joe or Jane User will wonder what the heck they brought home when it won't run Chrome or show their video files or sync with their Google calendar.  They'll wonder why their machine insists that they have a Microsoft Live account, or why so many of the pre-installed apps are advertising other products or are billboards for XBOX music, video, and games.  Dang, I didn't intend to rant on so much.  Sorry.
+Walter Lounsbery The Windows Runtime platform is not "fine-tuned for mobile phones." It was designed and written from the ground-up for building world-class applications for all the form factors Windows 8 (and Windows RT) run on. What sort of restrictions do you think the platform has that would limit you as a developer?

As for confusion, how many people are confused that their iPad doesn't run Mac apps? I think not many.
+Brandon Paddock Are you going to tell people that Win8 RT apps are totally portable because they are written in HTML5 and Javascript?  Or are you going to confess that these apps use proprietary hooks into the Microsoft OS, use special CSS and HTML syntax?  If somebody makes a portable library, I'll be a huge customer, but I'm not writing that myself.
+Robert Scoble agreed that Microsoft should target enterprises with Win8. It's what they should have done with Windows Phone from the start. Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync all native and built in and offer a great experience, that's a huge advantage over even iOS from a mobile enterprise standpoint. I do think they squandered that opportunity.

IT leaders have embraced iOS, but have never been fond of the control that has had to be given up as a result of trends like BYOD. And yes, MDM and MAM are bridging those gaps, but any Windows Enterprise back end would prefer being able to apply Group Policy to as many devices as they can. I do hope Microsoft smartens up because while they do have a huge uphill climb to compete with iOS, taking mind and market share from Android is a winnable short term battle for them.
Developers may be familiar with .NET but they are not familiar with using .NET with this form factor. Before WP7, and arguable the XBOX, MS wasn't too restrictive with design conventions, developers could essentially do what every they wanted, and as a result there has never been that much unity of interface on an MS platform. XBOX followed by WP7 certainly changed this and they have put in place a very consistent convention system that is still very new to developers.

This is all to say uptick on programs on RT will be slow at first as it has been with every platform. You're right MS has an opportunity to come in and establish itself as a major player given its ability to leverage Office. At best I'd say MS has come close to leveling the field with Android. The question then becomes who has the better app store relationship to developers. Given that You'll be restricted to MS on RT while there are at least two competing stores on Android, there may be more enticements available to developer in the Android space. 

Then there is the fact that any device manufacturer can sell the same device that runs RT as and Android device as well. People may experiment with a hybrid Win8 device if they can afford the price premium but at this time there are very few compelling reasons to jump platforms to RT even from XP or Win7, Office not withstanding.
From my perspective This isn't Microsoft's opportunity to win, it's Android's chance to lose.
+Brandon Paddock I totally disagree.  The entire UI is speced for dropping the screen into a phone and allowing effective touch.  That's why the buttons and tiles are so friggin big on a tablet or PC.  Don't split hairs by trying to divorce the OS from the UI when this platform is dedicated to an architecture that tries to span so many devices.  Even the heavy requirements on file storage, quick hibernation, and so on are all driven by the smart phone environment.

If you like, I might agree that Apple users can be confused at times.  But I doubt if your scenario has any bearing on any discussion.
Let me dispell any confusion on a certain point.  I actually applaud Microsoft's efforts to span such a wide variety of devices with a single OS.  It is revolutionary and would benefit developers in that platform.  But if it disturbs customers and doesn't catch on, there won't be much market.  It is a huge gamble for the entire company.  Symbolized by the change in the Microsoft logo recently.
+Walter Lounsbery Have you looked at the platform? The HTML and CSS is exactly the same you would use in web page targeting IE 10. As an app, your JS is able to call into the Windows Runtime API set which offers rich platform-specific capabilities, but how much of that you use is up to you. Most apps will want to do some of that, for instance to plug into Windows contracts like Search and Share, or to leverage features like automatic roaming of app settings for the user. But that kind of app is exactly why I think "HTML5 versus Native" isn't as meaningful when it comes to Windows.
+Brandon Paddock You are skilled, sir.  As you know, IE 10 is the browser supplied with Win8.  Will it be supplied for Win7 and older?  Probably not, because it is an app only suited for Win8 and above.  So much for portable apps.

So lets talk about those apps.  You can run an app on HTML5 on Win8 without benefit of the Win8 RT OS hooks.  We call that a Web app in the normal world, not a Win8 app.  And that Web app might not run in Chrome or IE9 or other browsers.  But use those hooks or special CSS or special Javascript or special HTML5 syntax, and then it definitely won't run on anything else.  Until some portability layer comes along as I've talked about.  If the market for Win8 develops, the portability layer will be written by somebody, but early adopters get the pain in the meantime.

So far I have only talked about facts.  It is really necessary to get a handle on facts if you decide to bet your software development business on the huge bet that Microsoft has made.  If you work for one of those firms, then all you have to worry about is whether they made the right bet to continue sending you a paycheck.
There is a different appeal to each OS, it's really quite simple. Apple = completely locked down, not much of what you want to do yourself besides what apple wants you to do. Android = complete freedom, do whatever you want at the cost of 'easibility'. Microsoft = the middleman, much easier to do what you want but configured at a standard that everyone is used to. BTW I am making this comment on an iPad which i will be trading in for a Surface. There is a certain level of control that I, and I believe a lot of consumers would appreciate, would like to have in my devices. Not too much, and definitely not too little.
+Walter Lounsbery Why do you think IE10 won't ship for Win7?  MS knows that it will take years for all the Win7 PC's to be upgraded or replaced... I don't think they're willing to continue losing market share to Chrome or Firefox which is exactly what will happen if they don't release IE10 on Win7.

Are you just referring to the Metro version of IE10?
For me: wide choices of pocketable hardware forms and customability of Android phones; and big screen and affordability of Windows desktop and laptop.

Tablets are too cumbersome to hold, too big to easily fit in the pocket, not mobile at all. If I have to put a device in a bag, keyboard and mouse are a must.
This is well said. I've been saying the same thing. 
In my opinion:
- If you like the new Metro UI, like me, you will buy a win8 tablet instead of an android tablet. I've used a win8 tablet for 2 weeks (an intel machine) and it was really great to use.
- If we exclude apple here, android today is not really a "big" tablet os. I now people who are using a galaxy tab 10" and are afraid or are bored of system/apps. They use it for some basic surfing etc., but it is not really fascinating them.

If i ask people which smartphone they want to buy, you are hearing iphone or samsung. But if i ask them about tablets, most people are really not thinking about android tablets. Currently, the nexus 7 gets some buzz, but 199$ means for every other OEM it has to compete with it, so the margins are low and maybe many tablets will have a bad build-quality etc. And many people who wants to buy a 7" nexus 7 have the opinion that a second screen 10" or a bit more is also necessary. And in this area many people are really waiting for a win8 tablet.

In my opinion if the PRICE really matches the competition, win8 will be a hit. 199-299$ must be the entry range...
I dont think android has as much to fear as everybody thinks. Because it is windows microsoft will only sell their operating system with liscencing fees where android is open source and doesnt cost the manufaturer anything.
As always, eventually, once MS gets past the marketing and actually has a product, it'll keep throwing the cash until it wins.  THIS is the biggest threat to ios, Android, and anything anyone else comes out with.  
The MS operating system makes it less likely that I would buy a droid system. I too am an Apple snob. I spend my days on a PC and my nights on Apple products. 
+Walter Lounsbery +Robert Scoble You guys are both right with regards to RT, I doubt it will have a significant dent on the tablet market, but ..... the PRO version will be a game changer, it will blur the boundaries between tablet and notebook, and we know that  netbooks are dead.

The enterprise and average consumer will get a win8 desktops and notebook with metro UI, and don't forget Windows is the dominant OS. => In one year there will be more Win8 machines than all the tablets sold to date (Use Vista as a reference), and all these will support metro UI. That's a huge market share to be ignored by developers.
Combine that with development tools that nobody can beat, I predict there will be tons of apps for Win8. And once there are apps, even RT won't be as sucky anymore.

I am just confused to the order these two products are released, MS is just setting itself up for a major disappointment this Xmas, but it goes inline with all their recent decisions, whenever there is something promising they mess it up. That company need a major shakeup at the top. Despite that, I am betting that MS will make a comeback, just not in the next few months.
But people forget that Microsoft is still used in the corporate world more than any other PC.
What OS is running all this VMware and Citrix? But we all know PC's are dying and the corporate world is going towards ThinClients and Tablets. But once Microsoft releases its Android\IOS Microsoft Office app.....Do it microsoft! Microsoft will have nothing to worry about.
If WP7 couldn't hurt it, I don't imagine Win8 will either. I literally don't know ANYONE who intends to buy a surface tablet or anything Win8 powered.
I think Win 8 as +Robert Scoble said could topple the market in Microsoft's favor. Apple has been integrating iOS features into it's Mac OS X ever since it's debut. It is clearly leading to a touch based laptop. Microsoft was able to beat them to it. Integrating metro from WP7 into the OS. But I question wether they (MS) did too much too fast. There are several usability issues and several users feeling very displaced in win 8, especially in the desktop interface. 

Tablets / Slates, whatever they are called now are a different story. I have had a Samsung slate now for awhile and absolutely love it. Win 8 CP runs like a dream on the i5 and I can do real work on it anywhere I would have tried to do work on my iPad. 

So my questions much like +Robert Scoble's are: 
1. Did MS do too much too fast and miss the little things
2. Can user's adapt to such a different interface in one leap (kinda points to the last question) 
3. Do user's want a full fledged "Windows" tablet (I do)
4. Will users understand the difference between RT and Slate.

Full disclosure (I am a windows fanboi, secretly loving my apple products, secretly wanting MS to come up with another great innovation) I guess it's not so secret anymore :) 
Consumer confusion, and that MS is /maybe/ going to end up with a decent OS by WP8.   Not my cup of tea, but I can see how people will like that UI on a phone.
Bno Hwa
What ever people believes do not be tempted to throw the adoption of old camera with time print on captured images non-radio, this is to combat the evil way of technology. But you have to fully trust UKRTELNet (IBM & Google & Microsoft &Motorola & US.Robotics shall be put into deeper scope since not only they played the deployment role as the skin for the next autonomous digital age, & to recap this, a duty as Chief from unintended changes) for doing this to combat falsehood from 'local' 'authorities', mainly set top boxes, other newly streaming capabilities that's been discovered. There will be needs over unique life node factory ID & life node local ID proximately 64kb to record past&present algorithm ables to sync GPS signal to nearby SAT. Provided by the UN(qualified & signed by FTC with it's draft agreed by local authorities)  in everyone's Identity Card. Hope everyone sees this not as a threat but not only as a trend either but as a trust for your loved ones :) Thus time to cashout would be attained to unite as ONE #progressive  age that we all has been hoping for ages!!!!! d(^_^)b FTC Engineers & accompanied by local & official authorities should review applied patches all across the country mainly portable unpatched VSAT if technology is involved. Yet this hadn't occured, yet taxes still goes uncertain. Taxes shall not be involved
Yes it needs to have a $199 to $299 price point with some good apps! The key is Microsoft will be able to sell this to the government and corporate world that already runs Microsoft. Android is almost nowhere to be found in these environments, iOS too. It's all Microsoft. (speaking of tablets and computers)

That could change if apple and google get serious and start to focus a little bit on the cooperate world.

Consumer-wise? They will go apple and android.

iE10 still sucks compared to chrome.

But I think Microsoft is on an upswing. So I won't count them out.
Android is crap, everyone knows it but mysteriously ignores it.  The SDK is absolute garbage, doing even remotely simple things in Android is the most horrific development experience known to man, the code is absolutely riddled with bugs, workarounds, perofmance issues, obsoleted code that will never go away for back compat.  The whole platform is a rushed disaster of garbage, it can be improved but never fixed. The issues go way too deep into the subsystem to ever be completely addressed to the point where it meets standards of Windows Phone 8 or iOS.  But its relatively cheap comparatively which has been its main advantage thus far, if Microsoft can offer the same price points on it phones through sheer volume or subsidizing agreements then they will crush the living day lights out of Android.
+Eric Malamisura Actually, iOS is crap and everyone knows it and no one is ignoring it.  76% of the worlds phones are running android and it is expected to hit 85% by summer 2013.  Fuck apple.
When did Android dominate the tablet space? I thought the Apple iPad was still at 60-70 percent market share. Sure the Google Nexus 7 is going strong and the Amazon Kindle Fire is doing good, but they still have not beaten the iPad.
Oh and people forget how big a splash the iPad mini really can be. It will all depend on how Apple prices it.

Microsoft actually has a chance. Everybody is going to buy Windows 8 on their PC's because it is a cheap upgrade.

If Microsoft can come out with a $199 tablet running Windows 8 RT, they have a real chance to knock out Android in the tablet space or at least halt Android's ascension. Android has just gotten its wings in tablets. They need to watch out for Microsoft more than Apple.

I dont understand how Office would be a killer app for windows rt were almost all this tablet os are design to consume media and people are not really interest in doing excel while watching tv on their sofas I can see windows in a more business way for mobility but not as a competitor of the kindle
RE^ As someone who ditched the ipad because I couldnt do my work on the couch infront of the tv, I beg to differ with the last comment.
I currently use W7 on a tablet and infront of the telly is where most of my work is now done (including typing this post)!
Furthermore, a few expansion accessories /keboard / dock / etc and your tab becomes your desktop.
Not to mention how usefull having access to your regular software is while on the road or traveling. The ability to do work away from home or office is essential for me
Awesome all answered many of my questions...
Apps are the key.  I'd consider a Windows RT device if I could run all the freeware/shareware/donationware apps that I run on my Windows laptop and most of the commercial ones (with no re-licensing/re-purchase penalty). 

Apparently it's not out of the question, Microsoft has simply failed to allow compatible apps to run, a stunningly dumb move: 
Hacker finds way to run desktop applications on Windows RT

I was searching this morning for Windows RT Windows 8 compatibility in light of last night's Nokia announcement.  Sad to see that inn a year there's been no progress on the compatibility (app availability and app migration cost penalty) issues with Windows RT. 

Therefore, I'll be very interested in seeing what Apple announces today (starting in 4 minutes).
Windows 8 RT doesn't stand a chance.  Microsoft just needs to concede that they lost the phone and tablet war and soon the desktop war.
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