Windows RT: Commenters hate Microsoft’s name for the Windows 8 tablet package

‘RT? Really?’

Ears must be burning at the Windows marketing department after the vast majority of commenters are unleashing a world of hate that Microsoft came up with Windows RT as the name for its hardware-software bundle for ARM devices.

“Add yet another giant FAIL to those special people who name things at Microsoft,” posts a commenter IDed as brianm76 on the Windows Team Blog.

“RT? really?” writes Jarrod. “Maybe MS should defend that by stating what it means. RT=Real Turd? Really Trying? Random Touch?”

BACKGROUND: Microsoft details 4 versions of Windows 8 

Windows RT is a bundle of ARM hardware and the new Windows 8 touch-friendly operating system that features Metro style apps, noted for their clean graphic design. Windows RT restricts users from installing apps that haven’t been approved by Microsoft, and includes a subset of Microsoft Office apps, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

In announcing the package of hardware and software earlier this year, Microsoft referred to it as Windows on ARM (WOA), and Windows RT replaces that as its commercial name. Windows RT is expected to be available in stores by the end of the year.

Criticism of the new name bled over onto Twitter, where the comments were no more kind. “I was just making a joke on how absurd Windows RT is by using the "<brand> + <technology_name> = confusion" formula,” writes Jeremiah Morrill.

“However 'Windows RT' is a stupid and pointless name for something that should be called 'Windows 8 ARM',” tweets Jack Morris.

More than one found it amusing that RT is also the designation affixed to Twitter comments to denote a retweet from someone else’s post. “Windows 8 for ARM (mobile) devices will be called RT. Makes sense since most of their use is for ReTweets anyhow,” writes Christian Walde.

That may be bad for Microsoft, writes another. “Funny thing, by naming it "Windows RT" there will be no way for Microsoft to be able to track if people are RT'ing it,” says Scott Hanselman.

 One tweeter professed to find a dark meaning behind the name: “CONSPIRACY: If you take the R and T in Windows RT, and +1/-1, you get SS, the initials of Steven Sinofsky. COINCIDENCE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” writes Rafael Rivera. Sinofsky is Microsoft’s Windows president and main promoter of Windows 8.

There is plenty of sarcasm to go around. “Windows RT seems to have been named after WinRT, Microsoft's programming model. Because that can't get confusing at all,” writes Paul Paliath.

“I can imagine walking in to Best Buy or other places,” comments darrenwbaker on the Windows Team Blog. “Here are the (A)ndroid tablets, here is the i(P)ad and here are the WIndows 8 and Windows 8 RT devices....HUH? What’s the difference John Q Public will say...”

But some of the criticism is constructive.

One written by cmac83 warns that the name won’t help when the devices are inevitably compared to iPads. “Windows should aim for simplicity in its naming.  Windows RT simply won't work. Keep in mind that part of Apple's success has come from creating an image of simplicity, which brought comfort to the swarms of people who were slowly transitioning to tech tools from no previous experience.  Simple names, pure white backgrounds in all packaging and advertising, etc.”

Microsoft should emulate others of its naming conventions, one commenter writes. “You guys are doing a phenomenal job with Windows Phone, Windows 8, etc., which makes the naming of "Windows RT" all the more maddening,” writes Michael Jenk. “You're trying to simplify the rest of the "Windows Live" properties, which I applaud, but then you go with Windows RT? Does. Not. Compute.”

Suggestions for better names: Windows Tablet, Windows OK (because OK is Esperanto for eight), Windows 8 ARM, Windows Slate, Windows Touch.

Some call for more features to be included with Windows RT, such as the ability to have the devices readily join business domains that is included in another flavor of Windows 8. “What a shame.  If only they had decided to include domain join and active directory on windows RT.  Then they may finally have had something to compete with Apple for the enterprise environment,” writes leahy268.

Adding a full suite of Office apps would also help attract business customers, says a commenter tagged Jadestar: “Office for Windows RT: Where is Outlook and Access? Without Outlook, Blackberry still has the upper hand which is retarded because RIM is all but dead and nobody uses [Blackberries] anymore. [I]f windows is serious about the business market with phones and tablets, these applications are a must.”

Schools, which are increasingly buying iPads, could be attracted by fuller features on Microsoft ARM devices. “No domain join or AD support on Windows RT? Seriously???” writes Schikitiar. “So, Microsoft, how do you expect to compete with Apple in the education market?  …  I have urged my school to resist iPad's simply because I expected MS to make the no-brainer move of supporting AD auth on their (no longer) iPad killing platform.  This is just ridiculous.”

Some say to be careful about picking a different name.: “To all those asking for Windows RT to be named "Windows Tablet" or something similar, do not seem to realise that Windows RT is not restricted to tablets only, but any device using a compatible ARM [system on a chip],” comments Martin Anderson on the Windows Team Blog.

GoodThings2Life says the name is an improvement over previous Microsoft branding efforts. “I don't give a rats rump roast what you guys call it... I'm just thrilled to death to know that you've finally ended the complete NONSENSE of Home Basic/Premium/Ultimate/Professional/Enterprise/Blah/Yakety/Schmackety/etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter!/Tim_Greene)

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