"And as [Intel's] Atom moves down market, for the same cost [as ARM] it will provide better power efficiency. That will threaten Windows RT on an ARM processor," Miller said.
O'Donnell countered, saying that Windows RT -- designed to run on processors created by Nvidia and Qualcomm under their ARM licenses -- was important strategically to Microsoft. "There's some validity to the strategy, because a lot of the future is in ARM," he said, citing IDC's estimates that 75% of tablets will be powered by ARM, with the rest relying on Intel's x86 architecture.
O'Donnell would have liked to see Microsoft make what he called a "clean break" from Windows with RT, including giving it a different name to make it clear the tile-based OS wouldn't run older Windows software. But Microsoft took a different path.
"Microsoft might have to show the way, like it did with the Surface, for Windows RT from a content perspective," said Milanesi, referring to a smaller, less-expensive tablet running the lighter-weight operating system. "They need to show the way where they want RT to go, because as it is now, it's all very confused."
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, was of the same mind. "I'd like to see some candor," he said of Microsoft's plans for Windows RT.
This article, Analysts challenge Microsoft's commitment to Windows RT, was originally published at Computerworld.com.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com. See more articles by Gregg Keizer.
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