Samsung confirms it will stop selling its Windows RT tablet in Germany

Samsung's decision is a 'major blow' to Microsoft, an analyst said

Samsung on Thursday confirmed reports by German media that it will stop selling its Windows RT tablet, the Ativ Tab, in Germany.

The sales of the tablet will also be halted in other European countries, according to the German tech news site Heise, which first reported the news. Heise quoted a Samsung official, but a Samsung spokeswoman Thursday couldn't immediately confirm or deny the report.

A halt of Ativ Tab sales -- in Germany, or worse, throughout the region -- does not bode well for Microsoft, but is a sign of the lackluster uptake of RT devices that market observers have already noted.

"If this is true, this is a major blow to Microsoft," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight. Microsoft has been trying to take Windows into the tablet space to compete with Apple, but hasn't been very successful so far, he said.

"That is not a big surprise if we look at sales figures and trends of Windows RT sales," Wood said. Consumers just aren't showing much interest in the Windows-based tablets, he added.

There are two reasons for that, according to Wood. First, there is the license fee structure that Microsoft demands, which makes it hard for companies like Samsung to offer the tablets for competitive prices. "They are just not at a price point that consumers want to pay," Wood said.

The Ativ Tab is available from ¬600 (US$780) at Amazon Germany. For that money consumers get a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal memory and a 5 megapixel camera. The 32GB iPad, for example, is available for $429.

Otherwise, there are "no compelling reasons" to choose an RT tablet, besides maybe the availability of Microsoft Office 2013, Wood said. Even with Microsoft's own RT tablet, the Surface, most of the excitement was about the hardware and not the software, Wood added.

Samsung's decision to pull the tablet is therefore very understandable, Wood said. "The RT tablet and Samsung's Android tablets are basically the same. Samsung will probably focus on Android now," he said.

Samsung stated that its partnership with Microsoft will continue in a trustful manner. 'We will continue to pursue our multi-platform strategy, which includes the Microsoft Windows platform," a Samsung spokeswoman said in an email.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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