Acer urges Microsoft to "think twice" on Surface

Entry into the tablet market could have a "huge negative impact" on the Windows ecosystem

The PC hardware manufacturer Acer has asked Microsoft to reconsider its move into the tablet market with Surface, The Financial Times reports.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface tablet in June, marking the company's entry into hardware production. The move caused consternation among existing PC companies, some of which have shared a close and mutually beneficial relationship with Microsoft for several decades.

"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over," said Acer CEO J. T. Wang. "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."

While Microsoft is certainly unproven in terms of hardware production, the main concern for companies like Acer is that a powerful ally will become another competitor in an increasingly difficult business. For Campbell Kan, Acer's president for personal computer global operations, the Surface could prompt an exodus away from Microsoft's Windows OS.

"If Microsoft ... is going to do hardware business, what should we do?" he asked. "Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"

The Surface is largely a response to increased competition from Apple and the failure of PC companies to create strong competitors for the iPad. However, there is a growing concern that products like Surface and to some extent Windows 8 signal a significant change in direction for Microsoft's PC business, towards the "walled garden" approach of Apple or its own Xbox Live console service.

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Latest comments (13)

James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
What other alternatives? Linux/Google OSes? I'm sorry, but I was fairly sure they were already making and promoting devices with those alternative OSes...
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Seems to me you don't ask someone not to do something like this unless you're scared they'll become a success. Oh, and what James said.

Microsoft's key concern should be Microsoft.
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 5 years ago
Oh Acer, you so funny. Microsoft aren't going to give two hoots about what you say to them.
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Show all comments (13)
Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
Microsoft's only concern right now is trying to compete with Apple. I doubt they give a flying fig about what Acer have to say, especially when following this 'advice' would result in them abandoning development of hardware which they've no doubt spent tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on.
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Bostjan Troha CEO, Zootfly5 years ago
How is Microsoft "certainly unproven in terms of hardware production"? Are you kidding me? MS is in HW development and production for over 30 years, for crying out loud.

This site is getting better and better.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
Bostjan: I think what Matt as specifically saying is that they're unproven in terms of personal computing and tablet production; you might notice that most of what's on that page you linked are computer mice and keyboards.
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Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News5 years ago
Microsoft adds a marketplace to Windows 8 and software devs call it the worst thing ever. Microsoft does hardware and hardware manufacturers call it a mistake.

It's starting to sound like there are ulterior motives here...
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Bostjan Troha CEO, Zootfly5 years ago
@David Radd: And a couple of worldwide best-selling consoles...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bostjan Troha on 7th August 2012 8:11pm

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Bostjan Troha CEO, Zootfly5 years ago
@Rod: I think you are absolutely correct. Suddenly a number of people and companies are incredibly concerned about Microsoft's well-being. How odd.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
@ Bostjan Neither the Xbox 360 nor the Xbox are "worldwide best selling consoles." Worldwide 2nd place consoles? Yes, but the "worldwide" word there is pretty sketchy as well, considering the 360 has found zero purchase in Asia and quite a bit less in Europe than North America.

Anyway, that said, I support Microsoft here. The Surface is a good idea, and this is how competition works. If you don't like their product, or feel threatened by it, make something better!

PS: That said, Acer could still be right that hardware manufacturers focus more on their Android products than competing on Windows, which long-term would be to their detriment (this is literally exactly what happened to the Zune).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 8th August 2012 2:42am

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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ5 years ago
I think Microsoft pulled off the Xbox very well indeed. It could have failed, but it's done very well.

I certainly don't blame them for wanting to build more of a walled garden, and trying for a larger cut of revenues from games and apps made by those who publish on Windows platforms. They look at Apple and Google, and see them taking 30% of sales, while Microsoft just have an open market for developers.

The weakness of "the Microsoft experience" (in my opinion) over the past 5 years or so, is that when I'm using their software, I'm never using their hardware, and the two never fit together very seamlessly. Windows always feels a bit clunky because you're trying to plug in your latest 3rd party mouse, keyboard, and software, and there's often some driver issue that you can't figure out, or your wifi card has dropped off the map, yada yada. If Microsoft build more of the hardware, they can really improve that experience, and I think that would really help to keep people on board.

I've recently bought my first Apple prpoducts, and I LOVE how integrated the experience is. I never thought I'd leave Windows, but I find my Macbook Pro so much more of a pleasure. I plug in a printer, and the iOS says, "You've plugged in a new printer, press OK to download the software and install it." ONE BUTTON LATER, the printer has downloaded the drivers, installed it, and I'm ready to print. THAT is such a massive relief after trying to get a printer setup on Windows.

Despite Microsoft having to make a big change to their whole business model and public perception, the Surface just might help to give people a pleasurable experience while using Windows. But then again, if they keep those "blue square" buttons as their main UI, forget about it. So ugly.
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Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer 5 years ago
Hardware-wise, MS have indeed done quite well with the Xbox (although let's not forget the RROD debacle which cost them billions), but here's an interesting thing; not one of the Xbox hardware devs was involved in the Surface. They didn't even know about it till the announcement. So none of that prior experience is actually being put to use.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Johnston on 8th August 2012 12:38pm

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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
Why don't they just compete? Hmm, maybe they can't.
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