updated 11:51 pm EST, Thu January 10, 2013
Samsung joins HP, Toshiba on list of companies refuting RT at present
Citing poor market awareness of the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT, and other issues, Samsung has announced that it will not be bringing the Ativ Tab Windows RT tablet to the US market. The move comes just days after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted the tablet and Samsung as one of its key partners earlier this week during the unusual Qualcomm Consumer Electronics Show keynote.
Senior Vice President of Samsung's US PC and tablet divisions Mike Abary confirmed to CNet in an interview that Samsung wasn't able to find a "clear positioning" of Windows 8 RT in the marketplace versus the x86 architecture Windows 8 (also called Windows 8 Pro for tablets). Abary cited market research indicating that Samsung would have to do a great deal of consumer education on the difference between the two operating systems.
"When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait," Abary explained.
"We didn't necessarily attain the price point that we hoped to attain," Abary said. "It's not an issue on Microsoft's side. It's more an issue of how the product was built and some of the tradeoffs we had to incorporate in it."
"We want to see how the market develops for RT. It's not something we're shelving permanently. It's still a viable option for us in the future, but now might not be the right time," concluded Abary.
Electronista spoke with a manager at Microsoft who called the move a "betrayal" on the part of Samsung. "They were one of just a few of [Microsoft's] partners for RT, and they betrayed us."
Samsung launched the Ativ tablet in August, but said in October that it was still attempting to work out its Windows tablet strategy. In June, HP said it had no immediate plans for a Windows 8 RT device, and Toshiba in August said it had cancelled its first round of RT products, citing technical and development issues.