News of Nokia’s forthcoming Windows RT tablet has turned from a trickle into a torrent in the past day.
On paper, it all sounds interesting enough. A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 32GB storage space and a Full HD screen.
But there’s one major, inescapable issue: Windows RT. Microsoft’s pared-back tablet software has been nothing short of a disaster.
Redmond is believed to have spent around $900 million on advertising and marketing its own Surface tablet devices, including the Surface RT, which has struggled to sell.
Total revenue from Microsoft’s Surface business came to just $853 million in the past year.
The company took a $900 million hit when it slashed the cost of the slates and is now facing a class action lawsuit from investors who claim they were misled by senior execs about the health of the Big M’s tablet business.
Word is the company has stacks of Surface RT devices unsold in warehouses, with sales reaching a piffling 1.5 million by March this year.
Considering Apple’s sub-15 million iPad sales were seen as a damp squib, that’s some shocking figures for Steve Ballmer to contend with.
Throw in the fact that Windows RT devices can only use Windows apps that have been made specifically for its Metro interface, and you’re looking at Nokia leaping into the abyss.
Stephen Elop has quietly managed to steer the Finnish phone maker to some kind of safe ground.
Lumia sales are up and critical acclaim abounds. But that could all be undone by this new Nokia tablet.
Clearly, consumers don’t want Windows RT tablets. It’s why Asus announced last week that it was giving up on the OS.
“It’s not only our opinion,” CEO Jerry Shen told the Wall Street Journal, adding that “industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful.”
So, why is Nokia making this move? Perhaps because it’s now little more than the mobile arm of Microsoft.
That may seem harsh, but if it really wanted tablet success, it would use Google Android, ramp up the hardware that it does so well (maybe a swanky camera and detachable keyboard) and go for broke. Instead, it’ll be in the same position it finds itself in with Windows Phone.
Trying to convince developers to come on board when there’s no reasonable chance of financial success for them. With the new Nexus 7 and forthcoming new iPads and Kindle Fires, Nokia faces an impossible task.
Enterprise customers aren’t interested, neither are consumers.
This is a poor move for all parties. Microsoft needs to realise Windows RT is dead and Nokia really should know better.