Computer maker Asus has one word for the Windows RT tablet: goodbye. The Taiwan-based manufacturer says it is abandoning tablets using the ARM-based version of the Windows 8 operating system.
In a story in Friday's Wall Street Journal, Asus Chief Executive Jerry Shen pointed to weak sales as the reason behind the decision.
"It's not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful," he said.
A recent report by industry research firm IDC said only 200,000 Microsoft Surface RT tablets and other Windows RT tablets were shipped in the first quarter of this year.
Shen said his company would continue to make Windows 8 devices using Intel microprocessors, which provide the kind of backward compatibility with the vast inventory of Windows software that RT tablets did not have.
A frequent criticism of RT tablets has been user confusion over whether a device with the name Windows could or could not run Windows software. There were reports that even store personnel were confused. RT's inability to run legacy Windows programs was compounded by the fact that there were relatively few RT-specific applications.
The move by Asus, also known by its full name Asustek, should not be surprising to followers of the company. Most recently, for instance, company Chairman Jonney Shih told news media that the outlook for RT tablets was "not very promising," and that his time was being spent on Intel-based devices.
In July, Microsoft dropped prices on RT tablets by as much as 30 percent because of slow sales, and it took an "inventory adjustment" of $900 million in its last fiscal quarter because of RT. Asus also reportedly took a writedown in its second quarter because of the product, although the amount has not been made public.
The move by Asus does not mean that the company is abandoning ARM-based devices altogether, since it still makes ARM-based tablets that run the Android operating system, including the Nexus 7 that Asus manufactures for Google.
Manufacturer dissatisfaction with RT has gone far beyond a tipping point. Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Samsung have also made decisions not to move forward with manufacturing devices using the platform, Dell has been quiet about its plans, and Acer dropped plans for such a device in May.
Acer said in the spring that it would wait for the next version of Windows RT, which is expected to be released later this year, before it decided whether to move forward with the platform. Acer President Jim Wong told news media that, "to be honest, there's no value doing the current version of RT."
The consensus among Microsoft-watchers is that the Windows RT tablet, if it will continue to exist in the market, will be coming from Microsoft itself, whose Surface RT tablet is manufactured by Pegatron.