Later this week, consumers will be able to get their hands on the Microsoft Surface tablet – specifically, the RT version. That’s an important distinction, as the RT version (as opposed to the soon-to-be-released Pro version) will only run web apps from the Windows 8 App Store. With the exception of the standard Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) that means no traditional desktop apps will work on the tablet.
That’s a bold move from the software giant, and one that is the subject of a recent Forbes in-depth article, in which Patrick Moorhead asks: Are Legacy Apps and Hardware Relevant to Microsoft Surface Tablet Perceptions? Here are a few good excerpts on the tablet’s reliance on web apps:
One important thing for consumers to ask when considering Surface is whether they want to load any of the current Windows desktop apps they own today or if they will want to buy and install new Windows desktop apps in the future. Surface owners must select and buy all their “Metro-style” apps from the Microsoft store but cannot buy or load Windows “Desktop-style” apps.
Surface comes pre-loaded with full (not trial) versions of high quality Microsoft productivity apps Word, Excel and Powerpoint, so the basics of productivity are covered. Will consumers miss loading their older Windows software or buying new Windows desktop software? It depends. It’s not as simple as asking snarky questions like, “do iPad users miss this,” and moving on. It really comes down to perception and reality of what consumers will want to do with the tablet.
Shopper sophistication will run the gamut and the more sophisticated users will make a more surgical decision tree. All things equal, they will ask, “what programs do I run today and want tomorrow on my Windows 7 PC that I would want to run on my Surface tablet?”
All things equal like price, weight, brand and battery life, I want my tablet to run a few key apps that aren’t in the Microsoft Store or I just prefer in a desktop mode. For me, I want the following desktop apps to run on my tablet: Wizard101 and Pirate101 games for my son, Google Chrome web browser, and Evernote. Other consumers may want to run apps like World of Warcraft, iTunes, Microsoft Outlook, Picasa, VLC PLayer or Quicken.