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Acer VP: Surface likely to damage MS partner relationships

updated 06:00 pm EDT, Sun June 24, 2012

Business focus, Windows 8 launch problems feared

Oliver Ahrens, Acer's senior VP and Europe president, has declared Microsoft's secretive Surface line of tablets doomed to failure. Specifically citing business focus issues and a change in core business principles, Ahrens urged Acer's primary software partner to focus on Windows 8 and pre-existing business arrangements instead of the potentially-risky product launch. "Microsoft is working with two dozen PC vendors worldwide, including the local guys, whereas Apple is alone, it can more or less do what it wants," Ahrens said when further questioned about potential problems with the tablet.

Ahrens continued by adding "Microsoft is a component of a PC system. A very important component, but still a component." He was also concerned that resources would shift from Windows 8 development to building consumer hardware with the associated demands on retail, with the result of losing focus on Windows 8 and the rest of the PC industry. "Instead of enhancing the user experience for Win 8 ... they open a new battlefield," Ahrens added. "I worry that this will lead into a defocus internally for Microsoft, and then we have to suffer because we are working with their products."

In a move similar to Apple's back in at the beginning of this century when G4 processor speeds fell behind equivalent offerings from Intel, Acer is now building an advertising campaign focused on the user experience with Windows 8 and its hardware, rather than performance and specifications. "Acer wants to be more about value than volume," Ahrens said.

Ahrens' statements may be self-serving rather that a realistic prognostication. A failure to properly launch Windows 8 is likely to have significant repercussions on both the future advertising campaign, and the sales of future Acer Windows 8-dependent products. The Microsoft Surface line of tablets can also be expected to cause some cannibalization of Acer's Iconia Tab A and Tab W-series Android-based tablet sales.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It doesn't take a genius to figure

    that much out. Microsoft is probably doing this just to jumpstart Windows 8 tablets with their reference models, but if Microsoft is able to sell their own tablets by the millions cheaper than their partners, there could be some serious fallout. I'm sure Microsoft must realize that those partners also sell desktops and notebooks and it's not as if Microsoft can do without partners buying OEM licenses by the millions. I don't believe Microsoft is going to seriously pursue its own branding of computing devices apart from these tablets and maybe Microsoft is only intending to sell a limited number of ZunePads. It still seems like a risky move to backstab the partners and not even letting them know about it beforehand.

  1. bectonchaos

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What A Load Of $h*t

    If the pc vendors did a great job another competitor wouldn't be a real problem. They need Microsoft like people need air and water. What are these angered pc vendors going to do? Use Chrome instead? Licence OSX? Create a new os(which would take 15 to 20 years to gain any traction with the public if fantastic)? Losing half the dinosaur pc vendors and gaining fearless new pc vendors is what Microsoft needs. If Microsoft could seriously focus( they have the cash) on being apple like but with more price segments, they could truly own the pc market! h***, the profit margins of most vendors are so thin that they are laughable. The price of apple product are currently less that you could buy any computer 20 years ago. How is it that pc vendors can not generate decent profits? Poor business acumen!!!!!!!

  1. LunarMoon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it is already a failure

    MS Surface is already a failure for several reasons. Simply because MS never had an original idea in its total existence. All products from Windows to Office are copies of other software existent at that time (Lotus 123, Wordstar, Mac OS, etc.). Building an original tablet that is good is something they cannot achieve, because it is not in their DNA.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft Has to be in Hardware

    The sale of PCs is declining as tablets like the iPad have taken off. HP was contemplating leaving the hardware PC business and Dell has concentrated on the server market. Acer has been burned by the iPad as its netbook market crashed.

    If you look at profit per unit, you can see that Microsoft simply cannot keep it up its current model. MS makes about $100 to $125 per PC sold. Apple makes 50% to 100% more per iPad sold. It's why Apple is now more profitable than Microsoft.

    The problem is that the PC market is shrinking, and may contract as suddenly as the phone market did at Nokia if businesses start using the iPad in bulk, replacing the standard desktop PC which has proven to be expensive to maintain. iPads allow a business to make employees "bring their own" computers thus eliminating the tracking, procurement, and setup of hardware.

    There is simply no way Microsoft can demand the $100 per tablet. That $100 per PC price has taken most of the profit out of the desktop and laptop market. It forces PC vendors not to innovate and to do a job as cheaply as possible. Compare the trackpad on a PC laptop to a MacBook, and you can see the difference in quality and workmanship. The currently quoted $85 OEM price for WinRT pretty much removes any profit from the Windows tablet market. Microsoft is being squeezed, and so are the hardware vendors.

    Building its own tablet will allow Microsoft to make more money since they don't have to pay that $85 license fee to themselves. Microsoft has the money and the money to innovate. They can build a compelling tablet with premium materials and still make money.

    The big problem is Microsoft drinking its own Koolade. Microsoft's absolute insistence that Windows works great on laptops and tablets, and that a tablet is just a PC has hurt the Surface. Windows 8 dual role has hurt it. The fact that you lose Metro get a standard Windows desktop on a 5 1/4" high tablet screen when you go into Microsoft Office makes using office a pain. The Metro interface simply doesn't work on a 17" monitor on a typical desktop PC. It's why Apple insists that their standard core OS has two completely separate user interfaces: One for the touch screen of tablets and phones, and one for laptops and desktops.

    Even worse, Microsoft has announced that the current Windows 7 phones will not be compatible with Windows 8 on a phone. That means the Lumina 900 phone you buy this summer will be obsolete this fall. After all, Windows 7 was never really "Windows", so it had to go.

    Win 7/8 has come a long way from Win XP h***, and Metro is a compelling phone interface. Unfortunately, Microsoft's insistence that they're both "Windows" has produced a very nonuser friendly chimera.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who they gonna go to....

    Acer can whine all it wants to but who are they going to go to if Microsoft shafts them? Android based tablets have been swimming around at the bottom of the market for years now. Apple is certainly not going to license iOS anytime soon. Chrome? Linux? Whatever? Not going to happen. The Windows OEMs are caught between a rock and a hard place. If by some miracle Microsoft tablets do take off they are screwed. If Microsoft tablets fail they are screwed. Windows itself (and OS X) are morphing into mobile-like OSs. The desktop computer is on its way out except for the corporate environment and even there it will be dwindling.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Gotta side w/ Microsoft...

    If Acer and the rest had done a good job w/ tablets in the first place, or even Google tablets now, then Microsoft wouldn't feel compelled to jump into these waters. But w/ such a void between iPads and the current crop of alternatives, Surface has as much chance to capture those "anybody but Apple" people who want a reasonable tablet.

    Still think the same old Microsoft will show itself and at least the first or second gen of this thing will stink and be very buggy.


  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Side with MS

    I must admit I am puzzled by all those who said "the third parties had their chance and blew it."

    Uhm... correct me if I'm wrong, but MS never gave them a tablet OS in the first place. So how could they have done a good job with nothing?

    This is MS copying Apple again. Not that it's a bad idea; MS has learned they need to produce their own if they want any control over the user experience. But the question is, has MS produced something better than what the third parties could do? The PC press is falling all over the keyboard cover despite never have trying one, but what other things about this Surface tablet is new or innovative?

  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In other news

    Acer's VP is a dumb@ss. I'll give MS a chance just because I like watching these pathetic vendors squirm.

  1. Nigel2112

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In Other, Other News..

    All of this is oh so priceless.
    Call me an Apple fanboy, I couldn't give a rip. Watching the squabbling as M$ 'partners' see the writing on the wall is absolutely hilarious.
    Oh, and just for some perspective:
    2002:- MSFT $66. APPL $21.
    2012:- MSFT $30.´╗┐ APPL $580.

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