I'd be surprised if the "Windows" name made Microsoft's iPad-wannabes sell any better. iPads appeal to people who abhor complexity: Customers don't mind losing features if it makes using the machine easier -- it's the old 80-20 rule. Microsoft's Metro interface brings a whole lot of capability to the table, but it's far from simple.
The impending mass confusion about Windows RT and Windows 8 won't work in Microsoft's favor, either. In fact, it looks like the "Windows RT" name alone will draw fire and brimstone.
Consider: Mozilla and Google complain about Microsoft cutting off desktop-side browsers in Windows RT, knee-capping their browsers' abilities. Are they making the same complaint about iOS? No, of course not. Apple has never allowed other browsers a level iOS playing field. So why would Mozilla and Google expect Microsoft to allow Firefox and Chrome to do everything Internet Explorer can do? Gregg Keizer in Computerworld quotes Mozilla's chief counsel as saying, "The difference here is that Microsoft is using its Windows monopoly power in the OS market to exclude competition in the browser market."
That's a powerful argument -- made much more powerful by the name "Windows RT." If Microsoft had a desktop OS called, oh, Windows 8, and a tablet/phone OS called, oh, BathOS, would Mozilla and Google's argument ring so true? Would a Senate Judiciary Committee be gearing up to investigate a BathOS antitrust allegation?
Microsoft has made a lot of hay on the "Windows" brand over the years. It's made a lot of enemies, too, particularly among bewildered consumers and nontechie businesspeople.
Perhaps it's time to give the name a break.
This story, "Has 'Windows' become a liability to Microsoft's mobile future?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.