Sales of Microsoft Surface RT media tablets have disappointed not only market analysts, but even partners of Microsoft Corp., who intended to ship more hardware for the slates. Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, said that he expected the platform to be much more competitive and said that Microsoft has to find a way to make it much more popular than it is today.
“Windows RT is disappointing to us because we expected to have sold more than we did. Everybody expected to have sold more than we did,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, during a talk to analysts and market observers at the GPU Technology Conference.
The world’s largest software company only sold about 1.1 million Surface RT media tablets (with Nvidia Tegra 3 inside) as well as 400 thousand Surface Pro business-oriented slates, according to a report, which cites people with knowledge of Microsoft's sales. Microsoft started to sell its Surface RT tablet in late October, 2012, whereas the Surface Pro only hit the market in mid-February, 2012. Despite of higher price, it looks like the latter is in much higher demand than the former.
The reason of higher demand for Windows 8-based tablets is simple: there are many programs that run on this OS. By contrast, there are only several thousand apps (designed for Metro UI/NET Framework 4.5) that run on Windows RT natively. Software developers are also not really eager to support Windows RT since the installed base is pretty low. By contrast, it is hard to overestimate the importance of importance of an ARM-compatible PC-like platform for Microsoft.
“Is Windows RT important to Microsoft? Is ARM important to Microsoft? I cannot believe the answer could be 'I am not sure’. It is too important [...] because there are a large number of [ARM-based mobile] devices [incoming]. They have to find a way to get into that ecosystem because it is so disruptive. I think it's of some importance to Microsoft to continue to invest in RT,” said Mr. Huang.
Nvidia is extremely interested in the prosperity of Microsoft Windows RT since this could be yet another successful ecosystem, in addition to Google Android, for the company’s Tegra application processors that the company pins a lot of hopes on.