In 2012, Microsoft released two operating systems that were to be used for different devices that were somewhat similar in certain lights. These two operating systems also offered different features. Essentially it was down to Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 is designed for personal computers and tablets when they are equipped with x86 and x64 processors. Windows RT, on the other hand is for tablets (not using x86 and x64 processors) with ARM units. ARM units are also a type of processor, but when in tablets they typically cater to a significantly weaker model for users who don’t intend on carrying out intensive work.
Customers see this a little differently, however. Seeing the name Windows and not understanding what Windows RT was truly offering, many thought, even after much attempt at explicit explanation by Microsoft, that they were getting the entire Windows 8 operating system for a lot less money. Full functionality isn’t what they found, though, and many were disappointed finding themselves with a Windows tablet which wasn’t capable of running windows software.
From a business perspective, many companies didn’t see what was going on, and due to this, were selling many products that were unfortunately fooling their clientele. Samsung was different in this regard. They recognized the confusion potential and decided to not even sell devices using Windows RT in the United States, because most customers wanted full Windows functionality. Samsung Executive Mike Abary mentioned in 2013 that it would take a lot of work and heavy lifting in order to educate the customer, and eventually determined that it wasn’t worth the effort.
On a technologically bright side, the headaches that this caused Microsoft made them put a lot of focus into Windows 9 to try to move on away from Windows 8 and Windows RT as quickly as possible. A full release is expected in April 2015 and there is already going to be a preview build this month. What looks like the resurrection of the “Windows Everywhere´ campaign from last year, Microsoft wishes to bring all versions of Windows together and labelling them simply, “Windows,” in what is being seen as a sprawling reorganization.
This is going to force Microsoft to either automatically update everything to the newest version of Windows for everyone for free, or is going to cause a lot more confusion that having Windows 8 and Windows RT. The first option wouldn’t be selected as it would obviously cost Microsoft a lot of money to make either huge update packages or various customized packages for people still on Windows Vista, as an extreme example. Having “Windows” being a cover name would force those who want the detailed specs to likely have to dig through a lot of sources that aren’t referring to what they’re looking for. Another problem Is continuing the model. Would Microsoft then release Windows 2, then 3 then later 7? That would be impossible.
Microsoft has answered the latter in stating they plan to stop releasing new versions every so often and focus on bringing updates and patches to Windows 9, like OSX. There’s pros and cons to this model as well. Often times, people enjoy the new and big. Compare it to video games. World of Warcraft, released in 2004, has had multiple expansions, which have added new professions, classes, zones, combat abilities and enemies. Many of the players, however, just see it as the same game that’s been buffed around the edges – kinda – in an attempt to make it more casual friendly and that the expansions/updates don’t really add to what remains as the same old game. Microsoft runs a similar risk to a larger audience.