Fate of Microsoft's tablet OS in question -- again

Device makers based in Asia are not keen on Windows RT. That has become painfully clear.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
Microsoft Surface RT tablet.
Microsoft Surface RT tablet. Microsoft

Reports that Windows RT is headed for the dustbin of failed Microsoft operating systems has become a month -- if not weekly -- ritual for Asia-based sources.

This time Digitimes has gone so far to compare RT to the fate of Hewlett-Packard's failed WebOS.

"Microsoft's Windows RT operating system may fall to the same fate as Hewlett-Packard's (HP) WebOS as most brand vendors have already stopped developing related products," Digitimes wrote on Wednesday, citing sources at hardware suppliers.

The last high-profile put-down of RT came from Acer's chairman earlier this month when he wondered out loud whether Acer would continue to make an RT product.

Microsoft has refuted claims about the demise of the OS, saying that Windows RT is a necessary disruption.

And it has been trying to improve its chances for success. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that Outlook would be part of the OS.

Microsoft is also offering educational discounts for its Surface RT and cutting prices for the tablet in Japan.

A new version of Surface RT is expected to arrive in the coming months too, packing a Qualcomm chip and possibly built-in 4G/LTE -- a first for Surface.

So, what's the fate of RT? At least for the foreseeable future, Microsoft will continue support Windows RT via its Surface RT tablet, lack of enthusiasm from device makers notwithstanding.