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Are Microsoft Store employees misleading customers about Windows RT?

0. phoneArena 27 Oct 2012, 11:57 posted on

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...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

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: 2703; 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: 1236; 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, 13:27 4

21. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1236; 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 28 Oct 2012, 21:39

84. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

But it's "nearly" true so he should be fine

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:20 16

20. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; 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, 13:35 8

23. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1236; 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, 13:44 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, 14:36 1

36. darkkjedii (Posts: 21186; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Well said bro. Well said. +1

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, 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 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 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.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 00:22

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

we're not talking about goodwill, we're talking about misleading a customer. and as far as i know, he didn't mislead the customer.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 00:53

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

You aren't the customer. An average customer likely won't know about legacy s/w not running on RT tablets.

At the end of the quarter, your opinion or my opinion won't matter. If sales are in the 10s of millions, it will be a succes. If not, then Ballmer will have another fail to celebrate.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 12:51 1

81. hellt1M (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)

completely agree with neutralguy and joshing4fun

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 03:37

88. jroc74 (Posts: 6004; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

To me, thats not a good sales person. In my time in the retail jewelry business, we were very truthful and helpful. Most customers didnt know a thing about jewelry.

It was like our job was to teach them a lil bit before they left the store.

If it were me, I would said its nearly identical and went into more detail with any additional prodding from the customer.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 02:06 1

74. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)

also windows rt has restrictions to only 1 browser active in system and flash doesnt work on every site, you have to use marketplace and oh yes hardware restrictions from ms to oems.
did i mentioned that for example torrent client wil never be in microsoft little app store?

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 20:05

89. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

To my knowledge Flash doesnt work at all in Windows 8 using the modern ui version of IE. Desktop version works fine, as does installing something like Chrome or Firefox, but I cant seem to get Flash to come up. Youtube worked, but Youtube is designed to use alternatives to Flash when its not available.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 12:49

80. hellt1M (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)

you are a moron!

you are a tech person. of course you are going to notice the little unrelated details. they are sales associates told to sell. for the average person going in to buy a suface tab it IS identical to windows 8. go home. turn on windows 8. besides being able to intsall legacy apps. and a few extremely minor other things.. what was so wrong about what the employee said. when you turn on the RT it will look and feel EXACTLY like windows 8. its whats under the hood that matters and the average consumer does give a frak. the guy told you assuming you were an average apple fan boy all you needed to know. that it is nearly identical to windows 8 and cant run legacy programs. discusssion over. you are officially a moron and everyone here that agrees with you.

i will now forever avoid any article you write because i will automatically assume you own an iphone and have no brain

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 14:05 1

82. bayusuputra (Posts: 962; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

michael, afaik, doesn't own an iPhone, and so far most of his articles are technically and politically correct, there may be some articles which are totally out of place, like this, but to call him a moron is just plainly rude.. he's one of, if not, the best writer of PA..

but, I, too, don't agree with michael here, although they said that these two are nearly identical, which they obviously are not, the sales person is technically right, because it's a marketing strategy.. well, we can say that technically an iPad is a blown up iPod, with its own set of apps that have the same functions, but designed to make use of the screen estate. But have you ever heard of a sales person goes about saying that the two are identical?

the concept of "near" is vague, 1000 miles is near if compared to 1 light years.. So if by near the person means it is of the same UI design sans the ability to run legacy apps, then it's still correct..

if that person said that the two are THE SAME, then they are misleading.. as long as they still state that there is a difference, well, they are not misleading.. and for a person making a $600 purchase, they will obviously ask what is the difference.. because, when you are presented with the Pro version with a higher tag compared to the RT, and the sales person says that the two are only "nearly" identical, but not the same, then people will most likely ask..

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 14:10

83. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

As others have mentioned, I do not own an iPhone. I own a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 7. My wife has an iPad and a BlackBerry. And, for a couple months earlier this year, I used an HTC Radar to get to know WP7 better.

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 28 Oct 2012, 00:45

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

Sounds more like the red-haired step-brother to me.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 13:11 4

19. jimjam (Posts: 257; 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, 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, 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, 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, 14:46 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, 15:30

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, 15:05 2

46. Pings (Posts: 303; 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, 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, 17:13 4

56. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; 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, 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, 20:40 1

68. tedkord (Posts: 11607; 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, 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, 18:35

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, 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, 17:17 2

57. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; 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, 12:03 9

2. tgtftw (Posts: 31; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)

For the average consumer, this wouldnt be bad information. All they want on average is access to the web to check email and facebook. Also maybe type up a resume' on office or make a card on publisher. For the power user, most obviously will do their research before buying anyway thus ahead of time that they wouldnt think twice about RT

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:17 1

32. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

By that logic, that average user would be far better off with android or IOS tablet since they, besides offering "access to the web, check email or Facebook ", also offer an incomparably greater choice of applications.

Windows fans hypocrisy - Oh world, behold the Microsoft Surface RT, it will finally give us WINDOWS tablet!!
When the reality of that windows version is pointed out , they actually take the argument that would perfectly suit android or iOS tablet in the first place

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:28

33. addy23 (unregistered)


posted on 27 Oct 2012, 16:10

53. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Here's the summary of reviews:


Overall, looks like Surface is far from that world beater tablet you guys cheered for.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:05 1

3. Savage (unregistered)

Apart from these, I have some doubts of my own. On the Windows website, it said that Windows 8 doesn't support DVD playback and you'd have to download apps from the app store. Also some additional purchase regarding Media Player or something. What was all that about?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:16 4

5. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I can confirm that Windows 8 doesn't come with a DVD player built-in. No idea why, because presumably devices running full Windows 8 would have a disk drive of some sort. There is native music playback with the music app, and video file playback too, just no DVD playback.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:51 2

14. Savage (unregistered)

Okay, I figured it out. Currently, those updating from Windows 7 have the option to keep the DVD software they used previously ONLY IF they are compatible with 8. Windows Upgrade Assistant will check that for you. Vista and XP users have to download it separately.


Still its a pain. My VAIO plays Blu-ray and I don't wanna lose that when I upgrade. Itching to try something new and Metro UI looks promising.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 15:22

47. MartyK (Posts: 816; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

Thank you Michael for pointing this out..

Why didn't the Sales person say," You can't get POP3 email",
and then explain to the customer what POP3 email are.

You didn't go far enough, IMO. you should call him out on this in front of the other customers!.

bring in this PC BS to the mobile world!!

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 17:11

55. pongkie (Posts: 538; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)

they didn't added the DVD player (software) because it only adds to the final price of the OS due to licenses. since there are windows 8 pc's that are comming out without any DVD player (hardware) they make DVD player licenses optional for those who only needs it.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:13 8

4. Peter27 (Posts: 233; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

Michael I usually like your articles but i don't understand why such a big shout in here?
as tgtftw said for average consumer it is not going to make difference as apart from not being able to run legacy programs and few other bits they in fact are almost identical.
I do not understand why so many negative articles about win 8. I absolutely love to see that they trying to innovate and the live tiles, absolute clean simplicity with the fact that pro version will be able to run legacy program, is the future of computers. Of course it will take a little while until consumers gets use to it, but I really think win 8 is going to be really successful in the future.
On top of that, nobody complained when we seen Apple advert with man asking "is my brother here yet ?" I tried it numerous time with siri. The answer I got was - I dont know who your brother is.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:19 9

6. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Windows 8 has some really nice things about it and some strange things. I don't necessarily have a problem with Windows RT or how it is set up, but customers need to know what they are getting. The average consumer may not understand exactly what the limitations of RT are, and it should be the Microsoft Store employees job to at least explain it better than "RT is nearly identical to Windows 8".

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:35 3

7. devildlm1 (Posts: 71; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)

You were spot on with this article. While most consumers would be perfectly fine with a RT tablet, a lack of understanding what legacy apps means can really hurt Microsoft. I do believe it is the consumers responsibility to learn about what they are buying but that doesn't happen often enough.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:29

35. addy23 (unregistered)


posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:53

44. c1c2c3c4c (Posts: 19; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

umm you need to set up your family ;)

but yea windows 8 and windows phone 8 are great platforms iv had my windows phone since launch and love it, windows 8 took a month for me to get use to but after i did its great, (i'm always using the desktop and don't go back to the metro UI often but that's because I'm on the Release Preview version and have a limited app selection)

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:36

8. Smart (Posts: 76; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)

Hey Michael can u help me with my problem here....

I am looking to buy a surface pro for my work.....It will be lot more comfortable and convenient than my laptop......and I dont have much graphics requirement too......play a few games though but mostly on my desktop......anyways i am torn between the surface pro and RT.....but then again I dont want to invest as much as $599 and crib about not buying the pro.....

Moreover is it advisable to buy surface at all now...should i wait out 1 more year to let the device mature and improve further....

I dont know i am all confused.....

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:43 2

11. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

If you're using it for work, and work requires any app that isn't available in the Windows Store, then RT won't work for you.

As far as what device is best, I can't really answer that because I haven't had a chance to use any Windows 8 tablets or hybrids. Windows 8 itself is pretty nice, and I can imagine it being good with a touchscreen, but I haven't been able to test any of the first gen hardware, so I can't say if you should wait or not.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 12:50

13. Smart (Posts: 76; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)

thanx Michael.....

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 14:49

41. c1c2c3c4c (Posts: 19; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

id wait for the pro, but its heavier and a bit thicker; not by much but if the thinnest and lightest version matter to you more than legacy support then get the RT.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 15:50

51. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1522; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

If I were you I would go for one of the tablets fo other brands whith Windows 8 and an Atom processor, they should be around the price of the RT ones.
I find the Surface Pro too heavy for a tablet and RT too limited for a productive OS (you can´t install applications but from whatever is in the Windows market like in iOS and the App Store).
Examples of what I´m talking about are:
Acer Iconia Tab W510
Asus VivoTab Smart
Dell Latitude 10 Tablet
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

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