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Microsoft: Someone gave us shot in the ARM by swallowing Surface tabs

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Microsoft has produced the name of a corporate customer in a fresh attempt to convince us Windows 8 is being adopted by businesses.

Unfortunately, and in a sign of just how desperate things have really become, that customer is ARM - one of Microsoft's co-conspirators on Windows RT and Surface RT.

The threadbare "news" comes courtesy of a Microsoft press release titled "Enterprises bet on Microsoft devices and services to accelerate business worldwide."

We're also informed carrier Telefonica will roll out Windows Server Hyper-V and SQL Server and an Italian ads agency is hosting a service on Windows Azure.

But something like the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad receiving parachuted crates of condoms rather than ammo or warm food, the hapless IT employees of ARM Holdings' IT, quality assurance, marketing and sales teams have received crate upon crate of Surface RTs.

With a straight face Microsoft told the opening of its TechEd conference Tuesday that Surface RT is allowing ARM's IT troops "to work more efficiently with features such as live tiles and notifications while being virtually always on and always connected."

For those with short memories, which seems to include Microsoft's PR and marketing, Surface RT and Windows RT were built specifically to run on ARM in the first place.

The closest Microsoft's announcement comes to conceding this is a sub clause in a sentence that mentions that Surface RT with Windows RT "utilizes an ARM-based chip"."

Microsoft goes on to tell us ARM already uses Microsoft Office for "a variety of productivity solutions". This is rather handy, because Microsoft Office - or, rather, a limited version of Office that's actually aimed at students, teachers and home users and has been compiled specifically to run on the ARM instruction set - Microsoft Office and Student 2013 RT - is one of the few apps of any use for an RT device.

That's because Surface runs on ARM, Microsoft's slabs cannot run the vast back catalogue of off-the-shelf, third-party or in-house apps built for Intel or AMD x86.

It's therefore likely that ARM - the principal brains behind ARM architectures - is probably one of the few customers on the planet to actually have more apps for ARM than for x86.

This is Microsoft's latest attempt to prove Windows 8 and Surface have a serious side, with the majority of Microsoft's PR having pushing a consumer-first strategy anchored on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Last year, Microsoft tried to convince journalists that Windows 8 was business-ready by parading BT and Poste Italiane rollout of 5,000 Windows 8 tablets to staff.

In reality, however, most businesses are upgrading to Windows 7, finally coming off of Windows XP, and not even remotely considering Windows 8. Overall, Windows 8 has sold so badly that analysts reckon it was responsible for the industry's worst PC sales since records began.

As for Microsoft Windows-8 loaded Surface tablets, IDC says just 900,000 Surface RT devices and Surface Pros, using Intel, shipped in the first three months of 2013 versus 19.5 million iPads sold. Microsoft is now slashing the price of Surface RTs by up to 60 per cent for students and teachers. ®

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