From an interview with the company’s CEO:
Taiwanese personal computer maker Asustek Computer Inc. (2357.TW) said Friday it will no longer make Windows RT tablets, which run a version of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows 8 for ARM Holdings PLC’s (ARMH) chips, citing weak sales.
“It’s not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful,” Asustek Chief Executive Jerry Shen told The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of its post-earnings conference.
Mr. Shen said Asustek will make Windows 8 devices solely for Intel Corp.’s (INTC) chips, due to the system’s backward compatibility that Windows RT lacks. Critics of Windows RT have said the operating system lacks enough applications to compete with Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android or Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iOS.
The problem with RT is not its lack of backwards compatibility. It’s true that iPad could run iPhone apps at launch in 2010, but you really didn’t want to have to do that. It looked terrible, and the iPhone keyboard blown up to iPad size was even worse. What made iPad a hit is that it’s a damn good tablet running a rock-solid touch OS. The same is true for Amazon’s Kindle and some of the better-made Android tablets.
Surface RT runs a crippled version of Windows on second-rate hardware with (until very recently) a top-tier price.
That is why it failed.