(Rumor) Microsoft Surface Making OEMs Leave Windows on Arm RT

Written by John Ponio    Friday, 29 June 2012 15:43

Microsoft Surface

Last week Acer's founder Stan Shih said that Microsoft's Surface tablet was a ploy, that it was just to drive competition to drive Windows 8 adoption, and that Microsoft would drop the Surface fairly shortly after its release. The reason he thinks this is because Microsoft is a software company, not a hardware company, and they could make more money off of licensing Windows 8 RT than by selling their own tablet. Well, new rumors out of SemiAccurate (the "semi" coming from the site's focus on the semiconductor industry) say that OEMs are doing the exact opposite of what Stan Shih said, and they're getting off of the WART (Windows on ARM RT) bandwagon because they can't compete with the Surface.

SemiAccurate claims that Microsoft pretty much stabbed OEMs in the back. They helped each company develop their own WART tablets, and built the Surface with all of the OEM tablet's weaknesses in mind. On top of that, they put some serious restrictions and a hefty price tag on WART, making competition with the Surface very difficult for everybody else. Microsoft doesn't have to live with the restrictions they imposed on OEMs, and of course they don't have to pay for Windows 8 licensing. HP says that Microsoft is charging $85 for every Windows RT license, which is about 14% of the rumored price of the Surface ($600). OEMs just can't compete with the Surface, which is making many companies cancel their WART tablet plans. HP is the first, according to SemiAccurate, but they've heard "just about every OEM out there is scrapping one or more WART designs, with most renewing Android efforts with every resource at their disposal." 

If this is true, it's quite shocking. Either Microsoft will make a killing from the Surface, being the only one in the market, or the Surface will flop and make Windows 8 flop. It's interesting that it's about the exact opposite from what Stan Shih said. Time will tell who is right, but I'm sure we'll hear more and more rumors and/or announcements as it gets closer to the Windows 8 release.