Memo to Acer: No Stopping Microsoft Surface Tablets
Microsoft’s Surface tablet strategy continues to stir concern within the halls of Acer. But instead of worrying about Steve Ballmer’s Windows 8 and Windows RT hardware plans, is it time for Acer to focus on its own Iconia Tab innovation strategy? The VAR Guy sure thinks so. Here’s the update.
In a Financial Times article (registration required), JT Wang, Acer chairman and CEO, said Microsoft Suface tablets will be “negative for the worldwide ecosystem” in computing. “We have said [to Microsoft] think it over,” Wang told the Financial Times. “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.”
Wang might be right: Surface tablets may stumble and they may also create friction within the Windows ecosystem of hardware partners. But for Microsoft there’s no turning back now. Surface tablets running Windows 8 and Windows RT will arrive this fall. And The VAR Guy believes there’s a strong chance the Microsoft tablets will be strong sellers.
Meanwhile, Acer remains the world’s No. 3 PC maker but is struggling to diversify its business into tablets and enterprise services. Fitch Ratings in mid-July cut the company’s debt to junk bond status. The rating cut came shortly after Acer cut its own growth forecasts.
What should Acer do? Instead of worrying about Microsoft, perhaps it’s time for the PC maker to spend more time focused on its own innovations. The Iconia Tab Series A (short for Android) and Series W (short for Windows) tablets haven’t exactly gone mainstream — at least not yet. Plus, Acer’s business division also makes servers, storage, monitors and projectors.
Many of those are not high-growth markets these days. So perhaps the company’s problems have little to do with Surface tablets — and more to do with Acer’s own product mix.