Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface - InformationWeek

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Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface

CEO says Microsoft needs to "think twice" about its decision to compete with hardware partners in the tablet market.

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Microsoft's decision to effectively compete with hardware makers by introducing its own tablet has one major partner contemplating a move to non-Windows platforms.

"If Microsoft ... is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?" asked Campbell Kan, president of PC global operations for Taiwanese computer maker Acer, whose product line includes Windows tablets, laptops, and PCs.

Kan made his comments to the Financial Times, in a report published Monday. Acer's non-Windows options for tablets would include Linux or, more likely, Google's Android OS.

In the same story, Acer chairman and CEO JT Wang also expressed frustration over Microsoft's plans to introduce a line of Windows 8 tablets called Surface. "We have said [to Microsoft] to think it over. Think twice," said Wang. "It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It's not something you are good at so think twice."

Microsoft unveiled Surface in mid-June, and CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the device at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto last month. "We had to make sure that we had a piece of hardware that was unique in its ability to be that leading-edge hardware that really showed off Windows 8," said Ballmer.

Microsoft plans two versions of Surface, one that will feature Windows 8 RT running on ARM-based mobile chips, and another, Surface Pro, that will feature Windows 8 Pro on tablets with x86 or x64 processors. The tablets will debut on Oct. 26, the same date on which Windows 8 makes its retail debut.

[ Windows 8 tablets will be too expensive to dent the tablet market, says an analyst. Learn what Microsoft needs to do. See Microsoft Surface The Next Zune? ]

Microsoft has not announced pricing, but reports suggest the Windows RT version could start at about $500, with the Intel-based version selling for more. Some analysts believe Windows 8 tablets will have a tough time competing, given that Amazon's Kindle Fire can be had for just $199, and even the new iPad starts at $499.

One problem: tablet makers who produce Windows 8 devices have to pay to license the OS from Microsoft. Android devices don't carry the same overhead.

"Canalys has advised PC vendors (Microsoft's OEMs) to postpone launches of Windows RT pads until Microsoft rethinks the high license fee," market watcher Canalys said in a report last week. "Once the Surface puts a material dent in Microsoft's P&L, it will need to repair relationships with vendors, who are already preparing lists of demands," said Canalys' Chris Jones.

Add Acer to the vendors preparing such a list.

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Scy Jordan
Scy Jordan,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/9/2012 | 2:27:54 AM
re: Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface
I really do Not see the big deal.... Acer and just about every other brand besides HP, has already develpoed Android devices...? If anyone should get mad it should be HP. It's not like it's a Laptop or a Desktop; It's a Tablet.. I think someone needs to make a high-quality tablet to compete in this battle. Let's just face it, Acer is not known for quality, but only affordablilty. How will they even compete with iPad. The answer is, no, they can not.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2012 | 6:45:16 PM
re: Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface
Microsoft gets blamed for just about everything that goes wrong with a Windows device whether it is their own fault, or in most cases, whether it is poor hardware performance or crappy third party software. This has been one of the problems with having such a huge open platform for third parties to build on. You get some wheat but also a lot of chaff...

It's a gamble (making their own device) for sure. But, I think Microsoft is finally waking up to the reality that they can... and should... take more control over their own destiny. They've seen Apple reap huge success by vertically integrating themselves (think Walled Garden).
User Rank: Strategist
8/7/2012 | 5:46:13 PM
re: Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface
Small loss to the Windows world. The first thing I thought of when I read that whiney plea, was to realize ACER is in trouble and sees no way out.
Mack Knife
Mack Knife,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2012 | 3:04:33 PM
re: Acer Could Leave Windows Camp Over Surface
Yeah, just where will Acer go, make iMacs? Acer is hardly an innovator of anything, instead riding on the coat tails of others.

Take their W500 Windows Tablet. What a joke of a device. Perhaps if Acer had put more than 12 dollars into R&D and built a fantastic tablet, Microsoft wouldn't be making it's own. Apparently that thought never entered the mind of Acer's CEO.

Right, let Acer make Android tablet and see how that goes up against Samsung, Toshiba and anyone else who makes them. Acer is known as a third tier (or turd tier) make of computers. Who thinks of Acer when making a computer purchase decision?

Had Acer shown a tablet that made impact, was thin, light and powerful, maybe with some new features like a dock for a smartphone to act as the Internet connection, a slide in affair instead of a snap on dongle type, maybe that would show their CEO is more action than mouth piece.

See ya Acer, no worries, someone else will gladly take the customers you used to have. Oh wait, isn't that what is happening? Yes, other are taking away your customers because you have nothing better to offer other than excuses.
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