Struggling PC and laptop manufacturer Acer is hoping a transition to cloud services will turn its fortunes around. This news follows last month's announcement that Acer was going to undergo a major restructuring. And the company's cloud future is seeming a bit ... well, cloudier.
Acer has struggled in recent years as the PC market declined, but whether cloud services can save it is anybody's guess. Acer isn't exactly new to cloud, although it certainly hasn't been a company focus until now. The vendor really began building its cloud offering a couple of years ago when it acquired iGware and integrated it into AcerCloud.
But now, Acer's leadership team seems to be embracing cloud on a much greater level. It probably won't be an easy transition for the company, which traditionally has been strictly a hardware player. Under its new strategy, it will be a "hardware + software + services" company.
"We are embarking on this transformation based on our existing core capabilities," said Stan Shih, chairman and CEO of Acer, in a prepared statement. "On the one hand, with our PC and mobile devices, we have sufficient strength and scale. In addition, more than a decade ago, Acer announced the BC (Basic Computer) and XC (Specific Usage Computing) concepts, as well as the Mega Infrastructure, Micro Services idea to launch e-services; so it can be said we have already sown the seeds for cloud technology long ago. This was further developed two years ago when we acquired iGware (renamed Acer Cloud Technologies Inc.) to focus on developing the cloud business."
As much as Acer wants to position itself as a cloud innovator, it's a bit of a stretch. It's likely few, if any, would consider Acer a cloud pioneer; and likely even fewer that would consider Acer an important player in the cloud space at the moment.
With the right strategy, maybe that will change, but Acer is kind of late to the game. This is a transition the company might have wanted to take on a couple of years ago when it became clear its position in the PC space was in jeopardy.
Acer will build its cloud strategy around Build Your Own Cloud, a concept the company has for seamlessly integrating PC and mobile devices for accessing data anytime and anywhere. Even that idea seems a little outdated, but let's give Acer the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
What will be really interesting is how Acer decides to work with its network of resellers and other channel partners as it transitions into the cloud services space. Will partners have a role to play in the new Acer?