Microsoft has finally said what most of the world has already guessed: Windows RT will die. It won't happen right away, but there's no doubt now that it's in the cards.
Julie Larson-Green, in charge of Microsoft's devices unit, said at the UBS Global Technology Conference last week:
"We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three."
That means the death of RT. Most likely, there will be one Windows to rule them all, running on all devices. And that means based on full-blown Windows, not half-baked Windows RT, because RT can't run desktop apps. Previously, Terry Myerson, who is now in charge of the Windows group for Microsoft, which includes Windows, Windows Phone, and Windows RT operating systems, said that there will be a single Windows store for all Windows apps, and that:
"We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices. And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices."
That certainly sounds like it ultimately means a single version of Windows running on all devices. But there's a chance that Microsoft could reduce the number of Windows operating systems to two, one for computers and tablets, and one for phones. But in that case as well Windows RT is the odd man out.
Windows RT has been, by all accounts, a dismal failure. It resulted in a $900 million Microsoft writedown, and a number of people have said that it was a contributing factor to Ballmer leaving Microsoft.
Windows RT will be missed by no one. Excellent, inexpensive tablets with long battery lives can be built using Windows 8.1, as the Dell Venue 8 Pro shows.
As to how long it will take to kill Windows RT, Microsoft isn't saying. But the market has already voted. People simply aren't buying Windows RT tablets, and so by the time Microsoft officially kills it off, it will be dead anyway.