With only nine days remaining before an October 26th launch, Microsoft's Windows 8 marketing campaign is approaching full force. With an estimated $1.5 billion budget, Redmond is plastering subway stations, spraying walls and sidewalks, erecting website banners and planning holiday pop-up stores, not to mention running expensive commercials on national television.
So far, Microsoft is focusing much of that effort on promoting its flagship Surface tablet, which went on pre-order yesterday.
There's only one problem: Microsoft's Surface RT doesn't actually run Windows 8.
The $499 tablet uses Windows RT, a stripped-down version of the operating system designed for low-power ARM chips like the kind you'll find in today's smartphones. That has some benefits, but it also means it runs a limited array of software as a result. Your existing Windows applications cannot run on the Surface with Windows RT, and so you'll need to download new ones from the Windows Store and pay again... assuming developers have ported their programs to begin with. To the untrained eye, Windows 8 and Windows RT are identical, keyboard attachments, desktop modes and all, but only one supports legacy apps.