Microsoft has put the final nail in Windows RT's coffin, confirming that a platform update for the operating system due to be released next month will not bring compatibility with Universal Windows Platform software.
Windows RT was a major gamble for Microsoft, and one that threatened the close partnership it had forged with x86 giant Intel over the years. The first mainstream Windows release to include support for ARM architecture processors, Windows RT launched with a great fanfare and a fistful of partners. Its lack of support for legacy applications and relatively weak native app offerings, however, did not translate into sales. Microsoft's Windows RT partners rapidly abandoned the platform for the full-fat Windows 8 running on Intel chips, and Microsoft itself finally admitted defeat with the news that Windows 10 would not be available in an RT-style ARM flavour.
That lack of a Windows 10 RT extends, too, to the existing Windows RT operating system: Microsoft has already confirmed that the free upgrade offer for all Windows 7 and higher users does not include Windows RT, and that next month's upgrade will be the closest its small number of users get to the new operating system.
Unfortunately, the company has confirmed in a statement to PC World
, that extends to software compatibility. Packages written for and distributed via the Windows Store are now part of what Microsoft calls the Universal Windows Platform, designed to make it easy for developers to create a single core piece of software which can then run on everything from a standard desktop PC to a smartphone, tablet, or even games console. It's a major part of Microsoft's vision for Windows 10, but Windows RT is to be left behind: the 'universal' apps developed using the UWP will not be compatible with Windows RT, even after next month's update.
The news should come as no real surprise: Microsoft has killed off Windows RT as a product line, and next month's update will likely be the last users see beyond minor security and bug fix releases. Back in April, Microsoft's Kevin Gallo told users
that 'developers can choose to build a Universal Windows 10 app to take advantage of the many new features and APIs available on the Universal Windows 10 platform,
' but that 'such a Universal Windows 10 App will not be able to run on Win 8.x
' - a statement many took to include Windows RT.