Microsoft Drops Surface RT Name, Cites Confusion

Did Redmond drop the RT branding from its Surface tablet because of customer confusion? According to a Microsoft Surface manager, the answer is yes.

Product marketing manager Jack Cowett recently told an Australian news publication that there had been some confusion about the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro. The new Surface RT model is now called Surface 2 in an attempt to lessen this buyer confusion. The new Windows 8.1 model of Surface is now called Surface Pro 2.

He said that the company wants to "make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people."

Is the Difference Professional?

Earlier this month, Microsoft reported that the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 were EUclose to selling out,EU although no figures were released as to how many units have been made or sold.

There have been numerous reports of consumer confusion about the Surface RT, given that it runs RT-specific applications, and does not run legacy Windows applications except a RT version of Microsoft Office. Surface Pro, on the other hand, runs Windows 8 and can handle legacy applications.

Even some store personnel were reportedly confused about the distinction. But, since Pro is now the only word separating the two products, a key question is whether buyers will be confused in another direction -- thinking that Surface Pro 2 is the Surface 2, but in a professional or business model.

Whether or not the new branding works, the Windows RT operating system does not have an optimistic future. The major computer manufacturers have abandoned the platform, leaving only Microsoft and possibly its new Nokia subsidiary to release more RT devices. Several computer makers, such as Asustek, have not been shy about voicing their displeasure with the RT platform or its branding.

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