Windows RT has never really seemed completely at ease with itself, as if Microsoft itself has never been quite sure how to define what is in many ways a desktop OS aimed at mobile devices.
And it's finally admitted as much, saying its inability to properly explain just what RT is and how it relates to the full-fat Windows 8 is behind the decision to drop the “RT” branding from the second-generation Surface 2 tablet.
Microsoft's high-end Surface Pro successor is named, logically enough, the Surface Pro 2. Yet the entry-level Surface RT has been replaced by the Surface 2, and if the lack of outrage by tech writers around the world didn't make it clear, there's been little objection.
“We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro,” Microsoft's Jack Cowett admitted to Australia's ARN. “We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”
Just a year later, then, but we'll let that go considering it's a change for the better.
Interestingly, that version of events isn't actually completely accurate: Microsoft actually announced its Surface duo as the “Microsoft Surface with Windows RT” and “Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro” – we very occasionally called them that ourselves, but more often reverted to easier and more obvious alternatives until Microsoft itself saw sense and quietly started doing the same.
Makes us think of the similarly awkward HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S titles – presumably that triumph of corporate confusion was Microsoft's work too.
Name change aside, though, the Surface 2 still runs Windows RT – albeit the improved Windows 8.1 RT, and to most people Microsoft's ARM-based OS still has an identity crisis in the traditionally binary Windows world of desktop vs mobile.
The good news is chances are it'll all resolve itself round about Windows 9/Windows Phone 9, when RT is being tipped to be absorbed into Windows Phone.
Via The Verge