Microsoft is reportedly planning to cut the price of its Windows RT software for tablets. Bloomberg reports that the move is designed specifically for RT and small-sized tablets that use ARM-based chipsets. Microsoft's RT operating system is just over six months old, but its use from PC makers has been limited. Earlier this year, rumors suggested Microsoft has been offering price breaks on its Windows and Office software to increase the development of smaller Windows-based tablets.
A restricted Windows RT launch is due to expand
The rumored Windows RT price cuts are a clear sign that Microsoft now wants more PC manufacturers to use Windows RT. Microsoft restricted the launch of its ARM-based software to very specific third-party partners, with rumors that the restrictions would lift earlier this year. Nvidia was said to have picked Asus and Lenovo, while Texas Instruments partnered with Toshiba, and Qualcomm with HP and Samsung.
Microsoft is facing growing criticism over Windows RT, with performance issues, a restricted desktop mode, and a lack of devices mainly to blame. Opening up Windows RT to additional manufacturers could improve the perception and reception of Windows RT. The software giant has had to defend Windows RT recently, claiming its part of a strategy that will get "stronger over time." Despite Nvidia describing Windows RT as disappointing and Samsung cancelling its plans in the US and parts of Europe, HTC is rumored to be persisting with a 7-inch Windows RT tablet and Dell is still backing the OS. If Microsoft's price cuts can convince others to create small Windows tablets then we'll likely see a lot more ARM-based devices later this year. If not, and OEMs stick with Windows 8 for 7- and 8-inch devices, then the fate of Microsoft's ambitious ARM project is far from certain.