x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA
  • Hidden picShow menu
  • Home
  • News
  • Are Microsoft Store employees misleading customers about Windows RT?

Are Microsoft Store employees misleading customers about Windows RT?

Are Microsoft Store employees misleading customers about Windows RT?
Yesterday brought the launch of Windows 8 as well as the official launch of a number of Windows RT tablets. We went to a local Microsoft Store to check out the new devices, and were surprised at some of the information being given out by store employees. By far, the worst bit of misinformation was that one employee told us that Windows RT is "nearly identical" to Windows 8.

For those of you who don't understand the difference: Windows 8 is the full fledged Windows that you'll find on most desktops and laptops, but will be available on higher-end tablets and convertibles. It can run any Windows app available including both the new apps written for the Modern UI, as well as "legacy apps" like all of the programs that you may find out on the web. Windows RT is more like Windows Phone for tablets. The only apps available for an RT device are the ones found in the Windows Store, and the only non-Modern UI programs that currently exist for RT are Microsoft Office apps. 

Even worse, the Windows RT apps catalog isn't just dependent on developers writing Modern UI-only apps. The Windows Store has app restrictions similar to what we saw in the early days of the iOS App Store (Apple has been forced to open up a bit, and hasn't blocked major apps since it attempted to block Google Voice and got a letter from a senator). If you have a Windows RT device, Internet Explorer 10 had better be good for you, because that's the only browser you'll have access to. Additionally, the built-in Mail app for Windows RT doesn't support POP3 e-mail, which could make it difficult if not impossible for some users to set up their e-mail.

This is why we were so surprised on our visit to the Microsoft Store. We went in hoping to see some proper Windows 8 hybrids, but those weren't in yet, and apparently won't be released until the Surface Pro is released, which isn't for about 3 months. After mentioning that, the Microsoft Store did his job and tried pointing us to Windows RT devices, the trouble was that in doing so, he said "Windows RT is nearly identical to Windows 8." We questioned this, and got the response, "The only difference is that RT doesn't have access to 'legacy apps'." 

Maybe we take issue with semantics a bit too much, but "nearly" is a very dangerous word. You could say that the NBA and WNBA are "nearly identical", but that would be giving the WNBA a bit too much credit. Fuji apples and Pink Lady apples are "nearly identical". Visually, Windows RT and Windows 8 may be "nearly identical", but functionally, Windows RT is the handicapped brother of Windows 8.

We fully understand that the employee was doing his job and just trying to make a sale, but customers still deserve the option to make an informed decision. If this is the information that Microsoft is directing employees to give out, we're afraid that is a major distortion of reality in order to make a sale, and could lead to quite a lot of disappointed users in the time between now and when the real Windows 8 tablets arrive. It's one thing for Apple to say that its products are "magical" because that's a very subjective thing to say. But, claiming that RT is "nearly identical" to full Windows 8 is objectively false and misleading. It was also troubling that we had to question that statement before getting the explanation, and even then, the explanation downplayed the impact of having no legacy app support, which is a dangerous choice by Microsoft. 

The average consumer may not necessarily care about the limitations of Windows RT, but that doesn't mean that those limitations should be glazed over by Microsoft Store employees. There is a difference between trying to make a sale, and trying to create a good customer. A company can mislead customers all they want, but in general those decisions will come back negatively, because customers will be disappointed in the products. If a company is more honest, and explains things properly, some customers may decide it's not worth it, but those that do buy will be happier with their purchase because expectations have been set properly. A happy customer is more likely to recommend products to others, and you begin a virtuous circle of good service. Not explaining the limitations of RT to customers is potentially starting a circle of disappointment with users, who will then tell friends about their problems, and cause more problems than just one disappointed user. 

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment on the topic, but Microsoft's PR company doesn't work on weekends, so we have to wait on a potential response. 

91 Comments
  • Options
    Close





posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:01 15

1. darkvadervip (Posts: 365; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)


That's just as you said an employee trying to make a sale. This strory is a waste of time.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:40 39

10. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Trying to make a sale doesn't remove the responsibility to allow customers to make an informed decision.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:51 18

15. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1237; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


How was the employee wrong exactly? That's pretty accurate to me to say "RT is nearly identical except for legacy program support".
Its technically not wrong.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:59 16

18. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Legacy program (Office for example) support is a pretty big deal. If you were 'induced' to buy RT thinking you could just install your desktop version of Office and everything would be hunky-dory, I imagine you would be a bit torqued to find out that isn't exactly true.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:20 16

20. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


As I said in the article, all the employee said before I questioned him was that "RT is nearly identical to Windows 8". If I hadn't questioned him, it would have been left at that, and I would have been left to believe that's all the info there was.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:11 4

19. jimjam (Posts: 320; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)


I think anyone who goes into any store without information expecting the store clerks to give it to them is nuts.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 15:30

49. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


You are, it has nothing to do with their "Resolutionary" display, that was just a poke at Apple; "i" Take my shots whenever "i" Can.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:27 4

21. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1237; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


I know legacy support is a big deal but they said rt does not have it. Therefore you'd be an idiot to go home and try to download your own Office program.Since they said it doesnt have that support? I don't understand why someone would try that. And if they didn't know what legacy programs are then they should ask or better, have already done their own research before buying a $600 product.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:35 8

23. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1237; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Well if someone says, "it's nearly identical", isn't the automatic response "well what makes it different? Plus, who doesn't do research on a $600 purchase?
I just feel like you are trying to find an issue before there even is one. Im just tired of all these articles hating on Win8/RT before it has a chance.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:40 2

25. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Apple store employees are pretty honest. So are the VZW corporate store employees I have had dealings with. The corporation has an obligation to ensure that its employee representatives fairly present information about its products and services.

When the iPhone 3 (maybe 3GS, it was the model that implemented 3G data service) was first released, I had a similar experience where I was interested in the data transfer speed. In the area where I live, AT&T had not upgraded its service to 3G. I went into the store and asked if there was 3G service in my area. The response was to open up AT&T's service coverage website and the answer was there for all to see. There was no attempt to 'sell' me on the new iToy.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:44 15

26. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"Im just tired of all these articles hating on Win8/RT before it has a chance."

But it is okay to knock iOS for its 'features' (iMaps)? Or Android for its lag?

When does an OS have to be able to stand on its own and be compared against other competing offerings?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:56 3

28. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Michael, I have had the same experience at the Apple Store in SOHO on several occasions, why the double standard; a misinformed consumer is what many of these companies count on and it's how they thrive in sales.

I just came out of Best Buy near Columbus Circle and, although the Windows' in-store rep' was helpful, he seemed to be at a loss when it came to a few if my questions. To his credit, he tried.

My conclusion on Windows 8: it

it's visual appearance is ghastly;
those damn tiles are an "eye" sore;
it's confused, like your Dear Lord Tim Cook Hail Mary said it was - it's doesn't know what it wants to be, simple or complex?
it might be good for someone who's never had a computer before and has NO basis for comparison.

The bigger question is: Microsoft hasn't really had any success with their Mobile platform since Windows Mobile 2003SE and WM6/WP6, respectively (WM5/WP5 was a bust), what makes them think that the end-user is going to adopt Windows 8 (which is more like a hybrid) if their Platform has been a bust since, essentially, 2008??

I never thought I'd say this but, I would buy a Macbook Pro and it's Resolutionary Retina HD super display before I'd buy those crapppppy tiles.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:17 1

31. cj100570 (Posts: 204; Member since: 12 May 2009)


And the employee wasn't being misleading, it is "nearly identical". Anyone with common sense is aware that the term "nearly" means not the same.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:36 1

36. darkkjedii (Posts: 23599; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Well said bro. Well said. +1

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:46 2

39. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"I never thought I'd say this but, I would buy a Macbook Pro and it's Resolutionary Retina HD super display before I'd buy those crapppppy tiles."

Maybe I am reading your comment too literally, but.... How is the resolutionary display of the MBPR analogous to the UI of Win8? The MBPR is an improvement on the spec of the previous edition of the MBP; Win8 according to many reviewers is a work-in-progress.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 15:05 2

46. Pings (Posts: 304; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


The UI is UGLY! I will be sticking with Windows 7 until Windows 9 comes out. When Microsoft ditches the ugly UI of Windows 8 and returns to the desktop.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 17:13 4

56. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I don't understand the hatred that is out there for the Tiles. I like the UI of WP, and I like Windows 8. There are some things about the Win8 UI that are strange, but I love all of the keyboard shortcuts. I've been using Win8 for a few months now, and I definitely prefer the UI to iOS.

That said, the Surface is a weird tablet. I played with it again today, and the size is just strange. It's a far better notebook than it is a tablet. The Type Cover is pretty sweet though.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 17:17 2

57. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Nearly is a very dangerous word. You could say that the NBA and WNBA are "nearly identical", but that would be giving the WNBA a bit too much credit.

Fuji apples and Pink Lady apples are "nearly identical". Windows RT is the handicapped brother of Windows 8.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 17:29

58. Pdubb (Posts: 248; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)


Makes no sense how is it confused? It has two flavors in one package. It's kinda like peanut butter and jelly or Reeses peanut butter cups better yet strawberry lemonade. Mmmm strawberry lemonade!

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 18:31 2

60. Hemlocke (unregistered)


Absolutely. It's time to stop giving Microsoft a pass, or trotting out "Just wait until Windows/Windows Phone XXX is released.' They have botched this, as usual, and they continue to hold back information. "Office is installed on every Surface" is another instance of omission. Office PREVIEW is installed. Microsoft has some tough days ahead.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 18:35

61. Hemlocke (unregistered)


Ballmer said "No compromises," but Surface appears to be all compromises. It is like a gimped laptop withinferior hardware and aalmost no software (And the only Metro software is Office Preview, so not even the actual Office suite. ).

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 19:25

62. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


I'd have to sit down and really give it a good test, without a quasi-sales guy over my head. I just have to get passed those horrific Tiles which, ironically, were one of my main turn-offs with Windows Mobile two years ago. Hence, I switched to the little green guy.

With any platform, I have to know that I can tweak and be able to run programs without restrictions or conflict; I see alot of potential for incompatibility with Win8 and traditional 32-bit software (and, don't even think about hardware). There's a reason I don't run 64-bit (at the end of the day, you always have to go on a scavenger hunt for a 32-bit).

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:06 5

64. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Heh, Windows RT is the Handicapped brother of Windows 8.
So hilarious :P

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:07 2

65. someones4 (Posts: 625; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)


Correct me if i'm wrong: Is Rt inferior to the normal windows 8? if so, what's it for?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:10 3

66. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Apple Store Employees are only Pretty honest because They know all their products are famous And very Well known so there's no point in lying

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:39 1

67. Deicide (Posts: 82; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


Please tell us how it is ugly? Or are you just stupidly conservative? Even if you do not like the Live Tiles, MS is not forcing you to use it if your processor is a x86/x64 architecture. You can always stay at the desktop if you need be. You can even add the start button back. MS is not ditching the Modern UI any time soon.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:40 1

68. tedkord (Posts: 13235; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


It's hideous, looks like something from an old Atari cartridge game. It's garish. The colors make it look cheap, like a toy.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 20:49 5

69. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)


"But it is okay to knock iOS for its 'features' (iMaps)? Or Android for its lag?"

In a word. Yes. Because these weren't technically truth. They were the truth. There was no subjectivity about those statements, they were fact. You may not agree with what the sales person stated but what he/she stated wasn't false. Now a great sales person would explain the nuance a bit better. But in every job there are those who aren't as articulate as others. That said, let's hope these types of confusing situations are cleaned up.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 00:01 3

70. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


sorry, but i got to agree with joshing4fun. It's the customer's responsibility to ask anything to the employees, and the employee's responsibility to answer sufficient enough.

saying "it's nearly identical" is a marketing strategy. It's up to the customer to ask, "what's the difference". And that sir, is what you just did. And the employee, on the other hand, answered your question. It's not their job to tell everything in a single answer.

As i see, the employee didn't mislead anyone. He just chose to give sufficient answer. And using the word "nearly" doesn't mislead anyone. It's up to that person to ask for more. If the employee mislead the customer, he should have said, "windows 8 rt is windows 8 for tablets". that would be misleading given that there's a major difference between the two.

It's your job to ask, and it's their job to give answer that would sufficed.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 00:44 1

71. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


The attitude you are advocating, while technically 'correct', is not likely to engender good will toward the Win8 brand. Right now, MS needs all of the goodwill toward Win8 that it can get.

Protection from all of the little things that don't work outside of the store environment is one of the reasons for no-questions asked return periods in many states.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories