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Microsoft Surface software shouldn't be Windows, says Dell

Dell is reported to have urged Microsoft not to use the Windows name for software in the Microsoft Surface and other tablets.

Tablets shouldn't bear the Windows name -- that's according to Dell, which begged Microsoft to come up with another name for the software in the Microsoft Surface and other tablets.

Dell boss Jeffrey Clarke suggested to Microsoft top dog Steve Ballmer that extending the Windows name to tablets was a bridge to far. Clarke reasoned a Windows logo on the back would suggest tablets ran the same software as laptops and computers -- when in fact they run a different operating system with fewer features, and only selected apps from the Windows Store.

Microsoft decided instead to keep the brand for tablets, electing to simply present the tablet software as Windows RT. Windows RT is optimised for the low-powered ARM processors found in most tablets, and is presented as a stripped-down version of the full-sized Windows 8 software designed for the powerful Intel chips found in laptops and desktop computers.

Sadly, that's proved confuddling for some consumers, who bought the Surface expecting PC power. According to Financial Review, Microsoft has had to relax its returns policy for perplexed Surface buyers after they discovered they didn't have quite the access to apps they were expecting.

Apps designed for Windows 8 are called Modern apps -- known as Metro apps before Windows 8 launched -- but must be specially recoded for Windows RT.

Some tablets will run the full-fat Windows, allowing you to install regular programmes just like on your PC, from other sources and not just Modern apps. The Microsoft Surface Pro, for example, is an Intel-powered tablet that will run Windows 8 when it arrives in the new year.

For more on Windows, check out our nifty 50 Windows 8 tips, or take a look at our history of Windows

Should Microsoft stick with the Windows brand, or think of a less confusing name for tablets? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.