Acer Earnings: More Windows 8 vs. Chromebook Sales Clues?

Acer Inc. is expected to announce quarterly results sometime today, according to Yahoo Finance. If the PC maker's latest quarterly earnings do surface, they could provide new clues about Windows 8 tablet and ultrabook sales as well as Google Chromebook sales. Acer President Jim Wong in January suggested that Chromebook sales were heating up but Windows 8 wasn't doing much to give Acer a lift. Has that trend continued? Hmmm...

Acer has been one of Microsoft's most outspoken critics, questioning CEO Steve Ballmer's decision to launch Surface tablets -- which essentially positions Microsoft to compete with PC, tablet and notebook suppliers. Instead of backing down amid the criticism, Ballmer has hinted that Microsoft may develop even more hardware -- with some folks suggesting Microsoft is preparing its own Windows 8 smartphone designs.

So what are Acer's updated views on Windows 8, especially as Microsoft agrees to loan Dell $2 billion as part of Michael Dell's proposed plan to take his company private? We might hear Acer's current views today if/when the PC giant announces earnings. Yahoo Finance's earnings calendar suggests Acer's earnings will surface today, though The VAR Guy has not confirmed that directly with Acer.

Either way, Acer is at a crossroads. In Q3 2012, Acer aimed to  "lower channel inventory as the primary strategic decision" because Windows 7 product sales were falling amid the Q4 wait for Windows 8. At the time it the "pricing environment for Windows 8 products was unclear" and therefore the channel "waived immediate inventory build-up for Windows 8 products," according to an Acer presentation viewed by The VAR Guy.

Meanwhile, Chromebooks -- cloud-based notebooks that run Google's Chrome OS -- seem to be carving a niche for themselves. Acer, HP, Lenovo and Samsung now offer the low-cost Chromebooks, and CDW is among the latest online resellers to stock the devices.

What are Acer's latest views on Chromebooks, as well as coopetition -- competing and cooperating  -- with Microsoft?

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