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Samsung Says It Will Not Release Its Windows RT Tablet In The U.S.

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Samsung’s Windows RT tablet, the Ativ Tab, will not be sold in the U.S. Mike Abary, head of Samsung’s PC and tablet business in the U.S., told CNET at CES that his company shelved the release because its retail partners do not see enough demand. (Abary did not specify if the Ativ Tab will be launched in non-U.S. markets).

The Ativ Tab is powered by Qualcomm chips, and the announcement comes, rather unfortunately, just days after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, with an Ativ Tab on hand, joined Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs during his CES keynote address to extol their partnership.

Abary also said that the amount of investment it would take to educate consumers about the benefits of Windows RT was another factor. As he told CNET:

There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.

This is another step back for Windows RT, which is floundering in the face of competition from Windows 8 and Android tablets, and may be dealt a further blow once Intel Atom Bay Trail tablets are released later this year. Abary said, however, that Samsung may reconsider Windows RT devices if a strong enough market develops.