HP Reportedly Bails on Windows RT to Focus on Android Tablets

HP has reportedly bailed on Windows RT as a tablet OS, leaving the company . Citing unnamed sources, SemiAccurate reported that HP is making the move in the wake of Microsoft launching its own Surface tablets.

Kicking Windows RT

Artist’s Rendition

Windows RT is the flavor of Windows 8 designed for tablets with ARM processors, while Windows 8 Pro is designed to work on both desktop PCs and Intel-based touch tablet/toaster-fridges. Microsoft announced two Surface tablets on June 18th, one for Windows RT and one for Windows 8 Pro.

While there remain more unknowns than there are knowns about the new devices, it would appear that “angry partners” can be added to the knowns column. If SemiAccurate is…well…accurate, it would appear that HP would rather work with Google on Android tablets than Microsoft on Windows RT tablets, even though Google also introduced its own tablet, the Nexus 7.

The site said that other unspecified OEMs are also frustrated with Microsoft, though we should note that one of the bigger OEMs, Acer, has publicly said that Microsoft doesn’t really intend to make its own tablets. Of course, that same Acer exec also predicted the iPad would be a flash in the pan, so keep a big bag of salt on hand when listening to his pronouncements.

In any event, Microsoft’s Surface puts its OEMs in an interesting position. The company is asking those OEMs to pay a licensing fee to make Windows RT-compatible devices and then compete with Microsoft on price, even though Microsoft isn’t directly paying the same licensing fee. If anything, its OEMs are subsidizing the development of the OS while Microsoft reaps the rewards.

A more cynical reading of this rumor might find that HP is dumping Windows RT because it has lost faith in the platform. While no one has been able to truly compete with Apple’s iPad (the Nexus 7 might be the first contender), Google’s Android has at least been able to move a few units. That’s something Microsoft can’t claim.

Whatever the case, if Microsoft was fancying going the whole widget route for Windows RT, the company may find that its OEMs help it along that path.