What were they thinking?
Earlier today all the big tech blogs reported that Acer CEO JT Wang gave Microsoft a direct warning not to move ahead with the October 26th release of the ARM based Windows Surface RT (Intel Pro version to follow 90 days after).
The original article was on the Financial Times but to link to it would be to cause undue pain and suffering through excessive FT popup notices so I’m linking to Engadget who reference the original article.
Acer have a history of being the OEM who isn’t afraid to tell Microsoft how to run its business however I find myself asking,
Why did Acer wait so long to speak out in this fashion?
More to the point does Acer’s CEO actually think that with less than two months to go before launch Microsoft are going to roll over and say,
“Hey guys, that Surface thing well we decided in the end that Tablets and our own hardware line just isn’t our thing”
Who the heck are acer anyway?
Acer were back in the day just another white box OEM in the game but progressively from 2000 they have managed to both rebrand themselves and take an increasingly larger bite out of the PC market.
In fairness, this was done with some smart acquisitions along the way; the Acer Group counts amongst its product line the following PC brands:
Gartner are quoted on Wikipedia Market Share of PC Vendors as indicating that Acer over the last 5 years alone begun clawing its way to 4th position behind HP, Lenovo and Dell.
What Have Acer Ever Done For Me?
You are probably scratching your head right now and trying to remember those noticeable products in the PC world that Acer gave you.
In the past few years only two come to mind:
* The Acer Iconia W series – Windows 7 tablets with a dockable keyboard
* The Acer Iconia A series – Android tablets with a lighter, smaller form factor
The rest of their product line on their site does nothing for me personally the way Asus, Toshiba or Samsung’s product lines do. The word generic comes to mind.
The Warptest Perspective
Besides the obvious linkbait and free PR from poking a stick at the Microsoft Bear prior to the Surface release it is clear that as an OEM Acer have always been less than happy with their relationship with Redmond.
I’m convinced that Acer believe they need to drop Windows as their tablet OS. Currently they are producing and supporting two tablet OS platforms Windows 7 and Android. Along comes Microsoft and springs Surface on them. Now as I mentioned in my post in June: “Does the Surface mean no more OEMs?” The OEMs should be using the Surface as a guiding light for inspiration and new innovation.
I believe Acer intended to drop Windows for their tablets and reduce overhead in production and support. The Surface affords them a reason to justify this and lay the blame at Microsoft’s door.
I believe though that Acer has missed the point and de facto have chosen to remain generic.
They are assuming that should only the Acer brand of PCs and tablets leave Windows they will continue to maintain their market share. They are also assuming that what has worked with Windows will work (forgive me, you know who you are) in the very much fragmented Android market.
At this time they do not have a competitive tablet for the Samsung Note, Asus series or Google Nexus 7, all of whom Acer will have to compete with.
The big question is will other OEMs choose to follow Acer’s lead or will they rise to the challenge and design innovative Windows 8 based competitors for the Surface? What’s your point of view?