To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Windows RT is dead

The final device to run Windows RT is removed from sale

Microsoft has put the final nail in the coffin of Windows RT with confirmation that it will no longer make the Surface 2 – the last device launched to still be using the failed operating system. Windows RT was a version of Windows 8 for devices running ARM-based processors, once seen as crucial to Microsoft’s prospects of breaking into the tablet market.

However, the operating system was beset with problems from the start. Although Windows RT had the traditional Windows desktop, third-party manufacturers were barred from developing software for it. Microsoft’s own Office applications were the only desktop software ever produced for Windows RT.

Microsoft also failed to clearly explain the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8 to consumers, with reports of many Windows RT devices being returned to retailers because buyers wrongly assumed the operating system would run regular Windows applications.   

Third-party manufacturers only ever offered lukewarm support for Windows RT, and when initial device sales were disappointing, it was quickly dropped from product line-ups (although there’s still some residual stock of third-party RT devices if you shop around online). In the end, the Surface tablets were the only new devices still shipping with Windows RT, but even Microsoft decided it wasn’t worth the bother with the launch of the third-generation Surface last summer, when a Windows RT version was omitted from the line-up for the first time.

After posting healthy sales of the Surface hardware earlier this week, Microsoft quietly confirmed it would cease manufacture of the Surface 2, effectively turning the lights out on Windows RT. Although Microsoft did suggest there would be an update to Windows RT at last week’s Windows 10 event, it said that it wouldn’t get all of the new features being added to Windows 10. 

Unless Microsoft takes the unlikely decision to revive Windows RT for future Surface products, it seems the game is up for RT as a standalone operating system, even if Windows will still continue to run on ARM processors in the future. 


Read more