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By | Paul Kunert 9th August 2013 15:59

Asus boss flushes down tabs, says 'Windows RT has not been successful'

End of the assembly line for ARM-powered Win 8 tabs from Taiwanese giant

It takes a big company to admit it's wrong - and Taiwanese PC maker Asus has finally conceded that it can't keep making Windows RT tablets that folk simply don't want to buy.

"It's not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful," said Asus CEO Jerry Shen told the WSJ ahead of its earnings call with analysts for the second quarter of 2013.

Shen said it will make only Intel x86-compatible Windows 8 tabs from now on after writing down ARM-powered RT stock - although he stopped short of confirming the amount of stock written down.

Vendors hardly flocked to push out the Surface RT, a family of Windows 8-powered touchscreen-laptop-tablet devices specified by Microsoft: HP and Acer steered clear of the new computers while Samsung, HTC and Lenovo all pulled their models.

And who can blame them - these companies are in business to make money and at last count, IDC said that just 0.5 per cent of Q2 2013 tablet shipments were Windows 8-powered RT devices. That equates to 200,000 machines worldwide.

Even Microsoft had admitted defeat of sorts by slashing prices of RT devices for partners and students, and writing down its Surface RT tabs by $900m.

Redmond is now billing itself as a services and devices company: it's not been very successful at the latter, in the tablet space anyway.

Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys, said Microsoft's RT licence price for computer manufacturers was too high relative to the Surface price tag, and it prevented the hardware makers from being competitive.

But further than than that he said the lack of ARM-compatible applications for RT hardly encouraged people to buy into the operating system. "It was a case of trying to get people to buy into an OS that didn't have anything behind it," he said.

Asus revenues for calendar Q2 fell five per cent year-on-year to NT$89.6bn and net profit dropped one per cent to NT$4.82bn. ®

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