Say good-bye to Windows RT...finally

One of Microsoft's least-loved products will ride off into the sunset.

The operating system that no one wants appears to be in its final legs: Windows RT won't be upgraded to Windows 10. Microsoft says it will upgrade RT, but without many Windows 10 features. Don't expect RT to last long past that. So bid it an unkind farewell.

At Microsoft's Windows 10 press event yesterday, it said that anyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices could upgrade for free to Windows 10. Notably absent from that announcement was any mention about what happens to those with Windows RT devices. The few poor souls who actually own one (including me) were left wondering what would happen to their machines.

Microsoft today sent out a statement saying that "We are working on an update for [the Windows RT version of] Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10. More information to come." The Surface Pro line, which uses true-blue Windows, will all be upgraded to Windows 10.

This should surprise no one. The only surprise is that Microsoft has been hanging on to Windows RT this long. RT runs only the touch-based part of Windows 8 --- the part that most people hate. It can't run traditional desktop applications. Who would want it?

Not many people. Steve Ballmer was forced out of Microsoft in part because the company was forced to take a $900 million writedown because of unsold RT-based Surface tablets. The few manufacturers that considered making RT-based tablets pulled the plug, including HP and Toshiba, who killed their plans when they saw how badly RT devices would sell. Dell actually released an RT-based tablet, and then stopped manufacturing it because of poor sales.

That leaves Microsoft as the only man standing making RT-based tablets. And Microsoft won't commit development resources to update RT to Windows 10.

So the evidence is clear. Windows RT will die, and join other unmourned Microsoft products like much-hated Clippy and the ill-fated Kin phone.

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