ARM, which makes the chips used for the Microsoft Surface and other Windows RT tablets, isn't particularly worried that Windows RT hasn't set the world on fire. ARM CEO Warren East expects that eventually Windows RT will become popular. But he also believes that Chromebooks may point the way towards how future PCs will work.
ARM CEO Warren East told Computerworld that even though some people don't believe Windows RT has been a success, he expects that the operating system will eventually succeed. He said:
"I'm well aware there is a perceived wisdom that RT hasn't been as successful as lots of people thought it was going be. Quite certainly I'm sanguine about it."
I'm not sure he should be so sanguine. The most recent figures show sales of Windows and Windows RT tablets are dismal. A new Canalys report says that "only 3% of pads shipped in Q4 2012 used a Microsoft operating system." The report singled out Windows RT as being particularly problematic:
"The outlook for Windows RT appears bleak. Hardware OEMs are ignoring it due, in part, to a pricing strategy that does not align with the economics of the pad market. We expect Microsoft to rethink its pricing strategy for RT in the coming weeks. Dropping the price by 60% should get OEMs back onside."
East, though, believes that Microsoft will eventually straighten things out, and ship plenty of RT tables.
He also had very good things to say about Chrome. In fact, he believes that it may well point towards the future of how PCs will work. He told Computerworld:
"Google and their Chromebook is a great example of a browser with a tiny little operating system. It just shows what can be done."
Despite the poor sales of Windows RT tablets, ARM is well-positioned for whatever the future brings. If low-priced Chromebooks catch on, ARM succeeds. ARM chips also power Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Firefox OS, Android and iOS.
I don't agree with East about Windows RT tablets succeeding. But that represents such a small percent of ARM sales, that if RT fails, it won't hurt ARM that much.