Acer CEO to Microsoft: ‘Think twice’ about Surface tablets

“JT Wang, chairman and chief executive of Acer, said Microsoft’s plans to launch its own “Surface” tablet in October – in direct competition with his company’s Iconia or HP’s TouchPad tablets would be ‘negative for the worldwide ecosystem’ in computing,” Robert Budden and Sarah Mishkin report for The Financial Times.

“He is the first head of a big PC maker to criticise Microsoft’s move publicly,” Budden and Mishkin report. “‘We have said [to Microsoft] think it over,’ he 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.”'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That’s asking a lot. Usually, Ballmer doesn’t even think once.

35 Comments

  1. Acer is what Microsoft refers to as a partner. If Microsoft are intent on undermining their partners, those partners will look elsewhere.

    This whole Surface fiasco is looking more foolhardy all the time.

    1. Where is Acer going to look? For tablets, Android of course, but they will do this regardless of Windows 8 or the Surface. For PCs, there’s still Windows, and nothing changes. Acer won’t try to “hurt” Microsoft, they’ll only try to do what’s in Acer’s best interest.

      The real question that Microsoft has to think twice about, is whether releasing Surface helps to create an ecosystem or whether leaving it up to the partners is enough.

      It’s a hail mary pass for them to release the Surface, but that doesn’t make it foolish, just desperate. While the Surface is no iPad, it’s much better (from a non-functioning distance and incomplete specs) than what their partners were showing.

      1. The real problem is that apart from Apple, nobody is making money from making tablets or ultra books.

        If Microsoft is intent on going into competition with its former partners, those partners will no longer have a sustainable business model for that sector.

        Microsoft will either have to succeed without partners ( like Apple does ) or find a way to keep those partners in business.

        Obviously Microsoft does not have a duty of care towards other companies, but it’s current business model relies on selling licences to partners, so although the relationship is unequal, they still need each other. The PC business is fragile and the non-Apple tablet business is unprofitable. A company can’t survive for long without profits.

        1. @alanaudio,

          I see your point, but I think Microsoft was looking at this in terms of the chicken-egg scenario wherein they have no market share, and their partners were producing crap and even still more focused on Android.

          Microsoft bribed Nokia as a (failed) hail mary pass to get into phones, but there hope with tablets is to do it themselves and get enough traction that hopefully their partners can address the market.

          Keep in mind that Microsoft is doing some non-traditional things here, like only making the Surface available at their retail stores. Don’t be surprised if the Surface “sells out”, as that’s Microsoft trying to build demand for the platform that will bleed out to their partners.

          Not that I think their strategy will work, but it’s the best shot they’ve got. Otherwise, it’s like when they released Played-For-Sure…their partners sucked and Apple took the market. Or when WP7 came out…there wasn’t any traction since partners were already going with Android.

          1. I agree.

            I think your first point is important – what else is Acer going to do? For PCs, their only choice to use Windows. They may not like it, but they have no options.

            For tablets, they could make Android tablets. However, Google just put out a 7″ Nexus and they own Motorola. Android tablet makers are not really in a much different position.

            MS has long talked about partners and making everything work together forever at the cost of ease of use and robust reliability. I think MS learned a little from the Plays for Shit debacle. They went to Zune way too late. Surface is pretty late, but it really isn’t a tablet, it’s a ultrabook/tablet tweener.

            I think the best Acer, etc can hope for is to play nice and hope they get to manufacture Surface for MS.

    2. They’re really stuck. If they go ahead, partners will look elsewhere. @mredofcourse has a good point, but I do think that with the serious backing of big companies, Ubuntu has a real chance. It just needs critical mass and software, and I think MS hurting their partners can make that happen.

      OTOH, if MS listens and cancels Surface, that’s corporate suicide in their eyes of their customers. If MS has a huge press event, and *still* cancels the product, they will massively lose credibility, even from die-hard fans. That probably won’t happen, though.

      I think they just really wanted to look like Apple, and they didn’t think any farther ahead than that…

    3. Those partners have no where to look. In hindsight I hope the computer makers realize that by being tied to M$, instead of finding an alternative, is what will kill them. M$ might have to buy Acer or Asus to stay in business.

  2. When Apple came out with iTunes, they were criticized by mp3 application programers.
    When Apple came out with iPod, they were criticized by mp3 player makers.
    When Apple came out with the Apple Store, Apple’s vendors all howled.
    When Apple came out with the iPhone . . . well, you know.

    Forget about companies who leach off of you. Do what is best for your company.
    If you create an ecosystem, they will flock to you because they can make money. If you don’t, they will drop you like a hot potato.

    1. But in this case, they will not flock to microsoft’s eco-system, they will choose android for tablets, and may even go so far as to replace windows with a beefed up version of chrome. What will microsoft do then, make their own pcs? This whole thing is looking ugly for all of them except google no matter which way it turns out. Apple of course will prevail.

    2. “Forget about companies who leach off of you. Do what is best for your company.”

      True, but the “Surface” is definitely not what’s best for MS…

  3. Acer’s PC business completely depends on Microsoft and their Windows licensing. The relationship here is clearly not equal; Acer (much like most PC makers) must be careful in their dealings with microsoft.

    So, when Acer goes on record and delivers a carefully cushioned threat to MS, it is clear how furious OEMs are at MS for doing a “Play-For-Sure” on them again.

  4. Look Mr “JT Wang” if that even is your real name, don’t question my man Ballmer. I like his strategy, I like it a lot and so does he. I’ve learned to never question Ballmer T Clown, he knows what it takes to bankrupt Microsoft and I for one will not be standing in his way. Go Ballmer!

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