Acer: Surface tablet will hurt the industry, we may look for new partners

By Lee Kaelin on August 7, 2012, 11:00 AM

Acer has spoken out publicly about Microsoft and its upcoming Windows 8 Surface tablet, saying they were given little warning of their intentions, and that launching the Surface would have a negative impact on the worldwide computer ecosystem.

Microsoft had already anticipated that the move could potentially unsettle OEM partners, as evidenced in its recent annual report to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. Traditionally the company has concentrated on software and left partners to build the hardware, but this time around, Microsoft will be selling their own tablet in direct competition with OEMs.

Campbell Kan, Acer’s president for personal computer global operations said his firm still hasn’t been notified of the retail pricing. “Microsoft hasn’t given us a very clear picture [...] Do they just want to show a new concept to the market and are they going to still work with [PC makers] . . . or are they going to get into the hardware business?”

A more rattled JT Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive, says he has asked Microsoft to "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."

In what is perhaps the strongest voice of criticism against Microsoft’s plans so far, Wang said that his company would consider whether to look for another software partner. “If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?”

The move by Microsoft is part of CEO Steve Ballmer’s plans to leave no stone unturned in its battle with Apple. Speaking last month he said Microsoft would not let Apple’s dominance go uncontested and revealed that the firm aims to sell “a few million” Surface tablets via Microsoft stores and their website in the next year. At this point it's unclear if they plan to release other models in the future.




User Comments: 34

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ikesmasher said:

Steve ballmer really pisses me off for some reason.

This really is all about the money, I realize now.

SCJake said:

I understand the frustration with Acer seeing as M$ doesnt have to pay for a license to win8, but its common knowledge that OEM's (while at least being below crApple) have been making tons of money off of price fixing. HDD's, DRAM, the list goes on. Now I will say that Acer has been relatively good at being affordable, but its still, with the exception of their new ultrabook, not really worth competing as the hardware is usually significantly less quality. Eventually we may end up with apple, microsoft, and goodle being the only pc makers left..

Guest said:

Why is it Microsoft's fault that it can produce a better product than all these sucky hardware makers. Acer, just make a better product.

Chazz said:

I would love to see Acer produce a Chromebook or Linux Laptop. I wonder if they'll be happy with the sales results. Acer would be looking for a new CEO.

Guest said:

Acer, YOU hurt the industry!

1 person liked this | mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Yeah because they have solo many alternatives to chose from. Here's a great response to Acer: [link]

Guest said:

Acer and everyone else needs to realise that change always happens, and this is an inevitable direction change for Microsoft that you cannot stop. Apple has shown that it is not only possible to do both hardware and software, but also that by doing so they create a better package/environment/bundle and a rapidly expanding business. Why would Microsoft not do the same? Microsoft's software is so ingrained in so many places that people will stick with them, in the same way others stick to Apple. And yes, that does mean OEMs should start looking for other partners, because if they don't, and Microsoft take a model more similar to Apple nobody will buy from an OEM. They will go direct to Microsoft. It makes better sense for OEMs to pour resources into Open Source alternatives, so that they can compete in the future. If you make Open Source alternatives better so they are on the same level as the current standards OEMs have an option to whether the storm and potentially surpass the two giants. If not OEMs will only be able to create a product that is second tier.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Screw Acer! Ms may not have the great os this time around, but they surely grew balls for the game. It is time.

Timonius Timonius said:

I still can't see Microsoft committing to their product. I'm sure Surface will be great but somehow I don't think they will make as much money on it as they hope and then it will die just like the Zune.

treeski treeski said:

I agree with Acer that the emergence of Microsoft PC hardware will disrupt and even confuse the PC market. However, it's no surprise that MS has taken this route. PC makers have failed over and over throughout the past several years to create truly compelling hardware.

As much as the PC manufacturers have been dependent on MS to create solid OSes, MS has been dependent on the manufacturers to create solid machines that market well and sell well. MS has been holding up its end of the bargain, but not as much the other way around.

treeski treeski said:

I still can't see Microsoft committing to their product. I'm sure Surface will be great but somehow I don't think they will make as much money on it as they hope and then it will die just like the Zune.

I think MS will be committed, but truly, they don't have to be committed to the Surface. MS just has to remain committed to Win8. It's really not a problem for MS if they only sell one generation of Surface tablets.

Guest said:

Not that I would be buying Acer in the first place but Microsoft is upsetting a lot of businesses. Microsoft seems to want to cut out various partners (hardware, software, etc.) so that Microsoft can take in even more money. It seems they want to kill the ecosystem so they can take all the money, like Apple. Of course it is there right to do so, however it's also the right of these partners to move in other directions.

Gareis Gareis said:

Microsoft is taking some bold steps.

Guest said:

Pathetic crying from Acer over the fact Microsoft are making a premium piece of hardware that makes their offerings look bad.

On a sidenote, ikesmasher, your comment is bizarre, unrelated to his article and most likely misinformed. Microsoft's interests have always been about making money, it's a PLC, it's they're legal and moral obligation to shareholders. Apple - or any other company - is no different.

Guest said:

@ikesmasher, I know you've been busy occupying Wall Street so you may have been out of the loop for a little while. Well, I've got a bit a bad news for you...none of these tech companies are producing products for altruistic reasons. It's all about the money for Dell, Apple, Microsoft, Acer, etc. But why does that piss you off? I for one think that having a bunch of companies competing for my dollars means that we will all end up with better products to choose from.

1 person liked this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Gotta be honest, I don't see what the big deal with Surface tablets is. This is not a groundbreaking maneuver, and Acer should probably look at Google's Nexus series before crying foul and taking their ball home in a huff. Google has built and released phones and tablets into the market, yet their OEMs and partners still keep trekking along and making money. How? Because Google (like Microsoft will be doing) release their own branded hardware that is a reference design for how the company thinks a system should be. It's basically a big "here's how you should do it" to the industry. It becomes just another model / brand, in a very large diluted pool of possibilities. It also serves to bolster and advertise the platform in general.

But hey, if Acer wants to jump ship and make a big push for other alternatives (like Linux), and other big manufacturers follow suit, maybe with Surface we're witnessing the small crack in the dam that eventually leads to a flood. Or (more likely) it'll prove itself to be a non-issue, with a lot of hot air and herp derp flying around, eventually amounting to nothing.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Steve ballmer really pisses me off for some reason.

This really is all about the money, I realize now.

You realize that now? The goal of every business everywhere is always to make money. There's a famous book business college professors make their students read called "The Goal" (google it). The goal is to make money.

Look at any action any company takes and ask 'Why'. When you realize the answer, ask 'Why?' again. (Just like a 4 year old actually) and when you run out of answers you'll realize the end of the line is to make money.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's basically a big "here's how you should do it" to the industry. It becomes just another model / brand, in a very large diluted pool of possibilities. It also serves to bolster and advertise the platform in general.

I've always found MS's hardware to be solid, but rather bland, and often rather expensive.

It never had those cooler factors that made me usually buy a competitor's product.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've always found MS's hardware to be solid, but rather bland, and often rather expensive.

It never had those cooler factors that made me usually buy a competitor's product.

I totally agree. With the exception of the Sidewinder joystick - I got quite a lot of miles out of that one, after breaking several competitors' sticks. Their general hardware though, is pretty meh.

ikesmasher said:

You realize that now? The goal of every business everywhere is always to make money. There's a famous book business college professors make their students read called "The Goal" (google it). The goal is to make money.

Look at any action any company takes and ask 'Why'. When you realize the answer, ask 'Why?' again. (Just like a 4 year old actually) and when you run out of answers you'll realize the end of the line is to make money.

I was thinking out loud really. I realize that the goal is to make money, its just that you originally had to make a good product to make money. now people will buy anything (call of duty anyone) regardless of how good it is...

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Money is the life of any company. And every human on Earth. You didn't get the memo?

Dave

Guest said:

MS to the world:

I am no longer content to willing for others work as a community and produce/assemble/develop a product. No more building of industry, that is not capitalism, that is weakness. My shareholders deserve better, you can work somewhere else where weakness is tolerated. This is about $$ man, are you a communist!!

I want the whole pie, besides, that is what Apple does, why can't I.....

The message here is greed? No not in America! Right?

Tyhudg said:

Money has very little to do with this move in the immediate future IMO. This is more about recreating the windows PC and changing end users perception of Microsoft.

MS is showing its partners three main things IMO:

-Don't cram your systems with bloatware; it is going to ruin the tablet experience when it is running 120 processes on day 3. The closed RT ecosystem will be great for less able users, and the Pro version will be good for power users and the like, but you will have a great starting point out of the box. I owned a windows 7 HP tablet, the experience is ruined when you touch and nothing happens because your computer is trying to sell you various crap. Acer is not bad, but virtually every other big name OEM is bad for this. An everyday user is going to be choked when they have to take the system to local repair to get it optimized within the first week.

-Innovate, design exciting new products, and stop relying on us to wow users for you. Remember the BTX tower(Which was a failure, but to fail you must try)? What about INTELS ultrabook initiative? Why aren't OEMs coming up with these great innovations for the windows PC? If anything windows is flexible and adaptive to new designs.

-We aren't letting OEMs ruin our run at the tablet market. MS eyed the tablet long before Apple, and let the OEMs destroy it with lackluster products(Acer Iconia and HP Slate are two tablets that come to mind that I have personally used a great deal of, although both post date the Ipad, many more terrible XP tablets were released if you look around). If MS fails, you can't say they didn't give 100%.

Just my opinion anyway. Surface will be great, acer is just angry because it is going to hurt OEM tablet sales bad, because it is a sick product. If you want something done right....

Guest said:

lol at acer chairman...

quote:

"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."

from the time ipad came, we always hear that there's a new ipad killer in the making.

28 days (and 2 years+) later, we still don't see anything that can take the ipad face to face.

...except now that we have ms surface (rt and pro)...

...if acer doesnt' care enough to release a wonderful product, then follow your own thinking, find other software partners...

...wait, acer iconia tab a500/a100/a101 are powered by android OS?... LOL.

scorpian007 said:

Good riddance Acer, they are a shit company who make shit computers.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Microsoft seems to have a knack for messing up promising ideas. This one is pretty ballsy so hopefully they got it right. Either way I'm positive the surface would've been much better if they worked on it with their partners. I haven't tried their tablets, but Acer ultrabooks are fantastic. Microsoft has always been greedy though. If only Apple didn't turn greedy too I might've switched to them.

scorpian007 said:

Microsoft usually get it right the second time (I.e. Xbox 360, Windows 7). I think the Surface will do well if its marketed properly and shown that it can be a full laptop replacement. I've had Acer laptops in the past and worked where I've sold Acer laptops and they were the most unreliable out of every brand.

Guest said:

Acer r tards... Windows has always existed... why didn't they develop a "Surface" like device before Microsoft?

MS will establish itself, then back down and let these over-egotized CEO's grease their palms. That isnwhat this tard is yammering about... not about Acer products, but about his income..!

The CEo is dumb to think they will go with another OS supplier.. what Linux..? Or does He not understand that Millions of people don't want anything to do with Apple, or apple tablets..? That millions are beging for this "surface" and only MS is delivering it...

Did Acer's CEO think this device up? Then why is he *****'n..? Or (again) He's crying about why he doesn't have money... yet didnt have the balls to make a device similiar with his own company...

Guest said:

Money is maybe your life. Myself I hope that the meaning of my most personal life extends beyond what a company lives for. But, everybody's free.

Det Det said:

Steve ballmer really pisses me off for some reason.

This really is all about the money, I realize now.

I like him

Timothy Kelley Timothy Kelley said:

This is a bold move by Microsoft but you have to remember The Surface Pro as well as the Table Surface Are priced higher than the other devices. For example the Surface Pro Tablet is looking to have a price tag of somewhere in the ballpark of 1000 USD which prices it significantly higher than the Windows 8 Tablets being offered by its OEM's. Perfect Example HP Windows 8 Pro Slate is looking to ring in at just around the 800 USD mark. Microsoft is basically saying you can buy from our OEM's and we will not stop you but you can get it from us as well.

Exactly the same thing that Google is doing with the Nexus line of phones. Googles Nexus line is the only Google branded phone and it gets the updates for new OS and technology first, then they focus on their partners. That is what I see Microsoft moving towards. And I say Good on em.

fimbles fimbles said:

The look for new partners part made me rofl...

Could be looking for quite some time.

Guest said:

And the winner is? Apple. Better design, product and user experience. M$ goofy tile GUI will intrigue the same geeks who salivate all over DOS and still know all the command prompts. Androids are similar but their love affair is with Linux which is really what Android is, repackaged Linux. At this point you can say OS X and by extension iOS are based off of Unix as well; you are correct. The difference is I don't need to know anything about any of those underlying architectures to use an iPhone or iPad. The biggest thing that used to suck about the iDevices was the dependence on iTunes but with iOS 5.0 (and soon iOS 6 which works on almost all of the IDevices, try that Android). I haven't plugged my IPads or IPhones into a computer for more than a year now. Thanks Steve (Balmer) all those junk Samsung devices were beginning to pollute the smartphone/tablet market.

Guest said:

Because they can tune the OS to match the hardware they've chosen (and vice-versa)?

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