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Unable to compete, OEM bemoans Microsoft decision to step up

Like King Theoden of The Lord of the Rings, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), old and gray, watched as Apple, Inc.’s (AAPL) tablets, which were increasingly cannibalizing users' screen time, imperiled its kingdom.  Like the king, Microsoft's advisors whispered false promises of security.  Any day now a successful Windows tablet would come out...

Except it didn't.  So Microsoft, at last awoken, took up the sword unveiling the Surface -- a slick Windows 8 tablet that shocked the tech world.

Now its finding that some of its former allies have taken its awakening quite badly.  Among those is Acer, Inc. (TPE:2353).

Acer played the role of Wormtongue to Microsoft's Theoden, ever lofting big promises in the tablet space, and ever falling behind Apple misstep by misstep.  Now the company hisses at its former ally for taking matters into its own hands.

Comments JT Wang, chairman and chief executive of Acer, in an interview with The Financial Times, "We have said [to Microsoft] think it over.  Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice."

Campbell Kan, Acer’s president for personal computer global operations, adds a not-so-subtle threat, suggesting, "If Microsoft … is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"

Microsoft in regulatory filings has acknowledged that its OEMs may be hurt by Surface.  But the key thing to note is that the whole reason that Microsoft entered this face was because its partners failed, miserably, to compete against Apple.



Acer's sour grapes are perhaps a testament to the overall weakness of its tablet line.  J.T. Wang in Dec. 2011 called his company's product's "cheap" and "unprofitable".  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and others have outsold Acer in the emerging Android tablet market.

Even if Microsoft's Surface proves successful, volumes will likely remain relatively low, by Microsoft's own accounting.  Thus companies like Samsung who have promising Windows 8 tablet products should be fine.  

For companies like Acer, who lack viable tablet product of any flavor, there will likely be much bellyaching.  But at the end of the day they forced Microsoft to make this decision in the first place, and if they focused on creating viable products rather than making hollow threats, then they would have far less to worry about.

Source: Financial Times



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Aaaha
By Dawnesha on 8/7/2012 1:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
This gave me a good chuckle. :P
Acer is a HUGE joke.




RE: Aaaha
By scrapsma54 on 8/7/2012 3:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
Rest in peace gatway. Acer Killed you.


RE: Aaaha
By Cypherdude1 on 8/7/2012 4:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to see Microsoft come out with something similar to the "Lenovo Idea Tablet S2109 9.7-Inch 16 GB Tablet":
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0089SZ8PM

The differences I want are a quad core CPU, USB 3.0, and Windows 8. The Lenovo does not have these of course. What I like about the Lenovo are its 4 speakers in the back, hdmi out, & microSD. The 4 speakers are great for seeing movies. No other tablet has 4 speakers.


RE: Aaaha
By zephyrprime on 8/7/2012 6:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
The 4 speakers are great but everything else about it is the same as any other tablet. What's the big deal?


RE: Aaaha
By really on 8/8/2012 6:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
I've never had speakers improve my ability to see a movie before those must really be phenomenal. The 4:3 screen ratio definitely won't help you see movies. I'll wait for the Surface.


RE: Aaaha
By GotThumbs on 8/8/2012 9:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
Acer execs need to go back to school and learn about free markets. If they can't remain competitive...then they should die and be reborn.

Microsoft is not preventing ACER from building a tablet.....MS just got tired of the current substandard products. Lazy, unimaginative and complacent development should not be sustained through charity. It's a business....get to work or fade away into history.

Time for ACERS execs to grow up. It's not kindergarten.


RE: Aaaha
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: Aaaha
By bah12 on 8/8/2012 10:37:43 AM , Rating: 4
Hypocritical much? By your own admission Android is far superior to iOS, and Acer has access to Android. So by extension the OEM's have had a superior OS, and still failed to compete. I agree Windows has not been viable in the tablet/mobile space, however it is quite clear Andriod can be.

MS just hasn't seen any OEM come up with an iPad killer using ANY OS. IMO it is just too big of a gamble to fail. Win8 has enough naysayers on the desktop, so it better damn well revolutionize the tablet/mobile space. It is far to risky to leave that launch success to OEM's that have utterly failed for the last few years to make anything remotely competitive (in the tablet space that is).


RE: Aaaha
By spamreader1 on 8/8/2012 11:49:10 AM , Rating: 2
My understanding was Microsoft wasn't impressed by the offerings that OEM's were preparing with the windows 8 pre-release anyway. Not necissarily an issue with thier current attempts at using windows 7 in the tablet market.


RE: Aaaha
By encia on 8/8/2012 11:15:39 AM , Rating: 1
For tablet OS, the "substandard product" is Windows 7.


RE: Aaaha
By dgingerich on 8/7/2012 3:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
Acer used to make decent systems, back in the 486 days. Once the Pentiums came out, their reliability dropped like a rock.

they used to make great monitors, too. I had an Acer 34T 14" monitor for over 8 years before I upgraded to a 19", followed within two years by my first LCD. That 34T is still the monitor that I owned the longest. It had a beautiful screen for the time. Even the 19" that I replaced it with didn't have as nice of a screen. It wasn't until I got my current 27" HP (2560X1440) that I got the pixels and small and sharp as those.

It's really too bad that Acer has gone downhill so hard. They're just makers of cheap garbage these days.


RE: Aaaha
By geddarkstorm on 8/7/2012 5:32:21 PM , Rating: 3
I grew up on an Acer with a 75 MHz Pentium processor and Windows 95/98SE. It originally came with this Acer UI running ontop of Windows 95, it was... weird but kinda interesting, useful if the computer had been a tablet, maybe. It put things in categorical areas with GIGANTIC buttons. But then we upgraded to 98 SE when it came out.

BSODs were a regular part of computer use back then. Amazing how things have changed.


RE: Aaaha
By Motoman on 8/7/2012 7:11:16 PM , Rating: 3
Sony had a similar thing back in the Windows 95 days...they called it "VAIO."

You had this goofy little screen that had big, huge icons to click on, meant to be used by people who were befuddled by digital watches.

Reminds me of Metro...


RE: Aaaha
By Gunbuster on 8/8/2012 11:43:24 AM , Rating: 2
I worked at Best Buy back in the day at a service center. I used to super glue cpu heatsinks to the meager bent sheet metal one Acer put on the VRM to stop them from blue screening.


RE: Aaaha
By kondor999 on 8/7/2012 4:38:51 PM , Rating: 3
I love my Acer 4820TG that is now 2 years old and *still* there is nothing quite as balanced:

* i5-460m @ 2.8ghz.
* Radeon 5650 easily oc'ed to 700Mhz (from 550 stock).
* 8 hours battery life with a 9-cell.
* Room for 2 drives in a thin/light chassis.
* Crappy 1366x768 screen (oops - plenty of those).

It's dead reliable, very fast (esp with a Vertex 4 512gb SSD) and even has room for 2 drives. All in a thin/light platform with great battery life. It eats everything I throw at it: from Battlefield 3 (med and high settings) to ARMA 2 (courtesy of the strong CPU). I have a monster desktop with tri-SLI GTX580 3gb, 5ghz i7-2600k and the works - but this little notebook can handle 90% of everything I need to do.

If Acer is a "joke", why can this little $899 notebook from 2 years ago (get them on eBay for less than half that now) *still* wipe the floor with 99% of the thin/light notebooks available in 2012?


RE: Aaaha
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/7/2012 7:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
Acer's notebook line has always been good bang for your buck, even more so recently, but their mobile line aka tablets are just jokes.


RE: Aaaha
By yomamafor1 on 8/7/2012 7:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Because it overheats way too often. To include all these "great" hardwares in an ultralight form factor, they installed a fan that was way too underpowered.


RE: Aaaha
By Mitch101 on 8/7/2012 7:35:47 PM , Rating: 1
I have an Acer laptop which I recently gave an SSD to put life back into the unit and I have a few Acer monitors going strong. If you dont mind a little bulk and a little give in the plastic for the lower price you pay then Acer is not a bad build. My laptop is 3 years old and cost me $300.00 and Im running Windows 8 smooth and fast on it.

Still Microsoft had to make a tablet because they need to push the envelope of design, innovation, hardware. If not we would get a plethora of those cheap garbage disposable Android tablets that are floating around ruining the experience. Google had to do the same and came out with their own tablet too because of similar issues. Too many cheap tablets not enough quality ones. Kudos to Google and Microsoft for stepping up the game and challenging the industry to keep or or do better.


RE: Aaaha
By xti on 8/7/2012 9:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
we just told you "civic > neon"...and you came back with "BUT THE VIPER IS AWESOME"


RE: Aaaha
By kmmatney on 8/8/2012 11:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
2 years isn't enough to matter. My 2006 Dell Inspiron 17" 9400 is still running great. Any laptop should have no trouble lasting 2 years.


RE: Aaaha
By kondor999 on 8/9/2012 10:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Just wanted to add that my little 2-year-old 4820TG scores 1364 on 3DMark11, which compares quite favorably with much more expensive hardware released *this year*:
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/4083391

I'm just saying this: Acer makes a damn fine notebook, and maybe they should just stick to that. I've got $2000 set aside for a new notebook, but quite honestly, I can't find anything with the same combination of lightness, size and graphics power along with space for 2 drives.

Maybe the Lenovo Y580 with the GTX660m?


RE: Aaaha
By Argon18 on 8/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: Aaaha
By xti on 8/7/2012 9:50:22 PM , Rating: 4
If the pro is a decent tablet that runs x86... im in for 1.


RE: Aaaha
By Devo2007 on 8/7/2012 11:29:59 PM , Rating: 2
Why would Microsoft be on the tablet radar if they haven't even released a proper tablet before? (Tablet PC's running full-fledged Operating Systems don't count).

Also, Android tablets have been making inroads in iPad's market share. iPad is still tops, and if Apple does release the iPad Mini then it will likely continue; but if the iPad Mini ends up being nothing more than vaporware, then they'll be in trouble. Fact is, the 7" budget tablet is starting to gain a fair bit of traction. With Amazon set to release the next-gen Kindle Fire soon, expect competition in this segment to flourish.


RE: Aaaha
By polishvendetta on 8/8/2012 9:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure people said the same thing about the Xbox, and look where Microsoft is with that now.


RE: Aaaha
By retrospooty on 8/8/2012 8:45:15 AM , Rating: 2
"Microsoft tablets are a huge joke. Is anybody going to buy them?"

Yes. Businesses that need x86 apps to run. I would say that is it's "niche" but enterprise is more than just a niche, its a pretty big chunk at least. Beyond that, there are consumers that would want/need the same thing. "I want a tablet, but I need it to run my xxxxxx (x86 app)"


RE: Aaaha
By zero2dash on 8/8/2012 8:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
Acer makes decent stuff at cheap prices that beat HP, Dell etc. by at least $50 for the same innards. By all means - continue overpaying for the same stuff on the inside just to avoid the company that is a "HUGE joke".

Very happy with an Aspire laptop I picked up early this year for college. Same specs, $100 less than the HP's. $399 out the door at Microcenter for a SB i3.

I just talked 2 friends into getting Acer laptops. Similar (albeit updated) i3's for only $349. So far I've done software installs/prep work on one of them...again, nicely built.

I use Acer monitors at work; S231HLbid's. Decent monitors for the price.

10 years ago I would have never considered let alone recommended or bought any Acer products. Nowadays - everyone's cheaping out on parts unless you go business class (higher end Lenovo or Dell). Can't say I've seen any Acer stuff lately that was put together any less stable than HP, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, or Toshiba.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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