updated 08:35 am EDT, Fri August 5, 2011
Acer's Shih still convinced tablets just temporary
Acer's creator Stan Shih tried to stir controversy Friday with remarks once again trying to dismiss primarily Apple-driven technology. He called tablets like the iPad, and now the ultrabook category created by the MacBook Air, "short-term phenomena" that would go away. The conventional PC was the cornerstone of technology; not only did the tablet and smartphone come from the PC, but everything had to go through it to make value, Digitimes recounts him as saying.
Apple was succeeding with the iPad primarily through "outside-the-box thinking," Shih said, and it was something that notebook makers should learn. He didn't explain the self-contradiction of praising a company for being innovative with tablets but insisting it was wrong to take that direction.
Touching on his former company, he thought the Acer Iconia Tab A100 would foster competition by putting more emphasis on price. It wasn't clear why he was encouraging Acer to continue in a field he had dismissed.
The comments as a whole were consistent with a pattern of attempts to primarily dismiss Apple's success, which he called a mutant virus last September. Heeding Shih's advice has so far proven dangerous for Acer. The company fell from second to fourth in PCs precisely because it didn't take competition from the iPad seriously.
Acer's fall was fast enough that the company ousted CEO Gianfranco Lanci earlier this year and refocused its entire mobile strategy, making tablets and phones important while moving its notebook strategy away from netbooks and cheap notebooks to higher-quality systems. The company is believed to be one of those in the first wave of those following Intel's ultrabook guidelines, suggesting that it's ignoring Shih's advice and planning to replicate the success of the MacBook Air.