Acer CEO: Microsoft’s Surface tablet threatens its long-time PC partners

A rift is growing between Microsoft and its long-time PC partners who are upset over the software giant’s decision to make its own tablet, the Surface, which goes on sale later this month, said Acer CEO JT Wang in an exclusive interview.

“They are doing something to kill the whole ecosystem,” Wang said of the decades-long partnership between the PC makers like his Taipei-based company and Microsoft. The Surface will compete with Acer’s Iconia tablet.

“They have all this cash,” he said. “They could kill everybody.”

As of June 30, Microsoft had some $63 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

PC makers such as Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Dell have long used Microsoft’s Windows operating system as the software platform on which to build their machines. All parties benefited greatly from the arrangement, which led to lower computer prices and the global spread of Microsoft’s software, making it the world’s dominant PC software maker.

The rise of smartphones and tablets — a movement led by Apple with its iPhones and iPads — has shaken the global PC market. In July, Microsoft reported its first quarterly income loss. Now the company is jumping into the tablet market with Surface.

“Maybe they think they need to do something aggressive to compete with Apple and not rely on brands like Acer,” Wang said as he arrived at San Francisco International Airport from Taipei on EVA Air Wednesday afternoon. “It is a dilemma.”

There are now three competing computer ecosystems — Apple’s Macintosh and iOS, Android and Microsoft’s Windows — Wang said.

“This is a new paradigm,” he said. “It is unique in 30 years of PC history.”

(photo by the Associated Press)


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  • David

    MS doesn’t care. The future of computing looks like this Apple & Microsoft and maybe there is room for another company that develops there own OS/hardware platform. Two major OS that make up 99% of the market is going to be though to gain share. HP, Dell… are just going to have to take what they get otherwise they may not survive.

  • Andy

    Many of Microsoft’s OEM partners turn out cheap hardware. MSFT can’t bet the farm on a tablet OS and not know the hardware will be able to support it adequately. There’s a reason the perception of iPad is that of quality and consistency, while the perception of Android tablets (Nexus and Kindle aside) is cheap and dodgy.

    MSFT is going to produce their own hardware to ensure it’s a good reference implementation, while not completely blocking the OEM vendors’ versions, which provide an extra layer of choice for consumers. That’s a nice middle-of-the-road approach between Apple’s totalitarian control and Google’s laissez-faire approach to hardware.

    The CEO of Acer is just upset they will loose market share if/when the Surface is a superior product to theirs.

  • Spencer

    Acer is mad because Microsoft is venturing into the tablet market… Heres an important question; Do you know anyone that owns an Acer Tablet? If so, do they use it for business? My point is that Acer should be happy with their deal with Microsoft and what profits they have been able to make from their PC deal. Acer is a brand name synonymous with cheap and that does not cut it in the enterprise and they should know their place.

    TLDR: I am planning on buying the MS Surface, but in a different reality where it was called the “Acer Surface”… I sure as hell wouldn’t even consider putting out ~$800 for a “Cheap” Acer product.

  • S. Kyle Davis

    interesting comments, given that I am considering getting an Acer tablet not the surface. the Acer W 510 is a lot more tablet for the money Than the surface RT probably will be. The price for the Acer will probably be 500 dollars. That is about what I expect the surface RT to be.

    • Romar

      LOL what an ID10T..every one knows Acer make cheap crap..good luck with that.

  • TT

    Acer CEO should step down. It is their race to the bottom business practice that threaten all the long term PC partners. He is still talking about this topic months afterwards shows how narrow minded and short sighted he is. Acer should have him replaced and really reevaluate what they have been doing for years that leads to today’s PC climate.

  • S. Kyle Davis

    Perhaps you have endless amounts of money, but I don’t. To me, a full windows tablet in my price range is tempting, especially compared to an RT tablet. The hands on reviews so far have said that the tablet itself is well-built. The keyboard is crap, but I have no interest in that anyway.

    Oh and I work at a hardware manufacturing company in the technical group. I am hardly an idiot, and know hardware. Just because my priorities are different, that doesn’t make me stupid.

  • Jerry Rioux

    “There are now three competing computer ecosystems — Apple’s Macintosh and iOS, Android and Microsoft’s Windows — Wang said. “This is a new paradigm,” he said. “It is unique in 30 years of PC history.” ”

    Talk about rewriting history. 30 years ago, Commodore was out selling both Apple and all MS computers by a wide margin.