Acer: We won't 'take a risk' on Windows Phone until apps, market share improve

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it had signed up nine new hardware partners to Windows Phone 8. Among various companies new to the platform, two manufacturers that had previously launched Windows Phone 7 devices are returning: LG and ZTE. 

However, one brand to have offered Windows Phones before, but which is not returning to the OS, is Acer. The company previously launched a single Windows Phone, the W4, back in 2011, but subsequently turned its back on the platform, choosing instead to focus on its range of Android devices - and it has no plans to reverse its decision any time soon.

Speaking with The Inquirer, Allen Burnes (vice president for Acer's smartphone division in Europe, the Middle East and Asia) said that, while things have improved for Windows Phone, they have not improved enough. Two factors remain of concern to Acer - apps and market share - and as far as the company is concerned, Microsoft still has a lot of work to do. 

On the subject of apps, Burnes said: "The Windows Phone Store is improving. But if there are 350,000 apps and it doesn't include the top 100, then it's no good for consumers. For example, if you don't have the local banking apps, then it is of naught to certain people." He added: "There are a whole bunch of elements around the application space which need fixing, which for us, is a big deal." 

The second area that Acer thinks needs addressing is the relatively low market demand for Windows Phones. Burnes said: "Consumer call is one of the reasons why we have no Windows Phone plans at present. While Windows Phone indexes at around seven percent in Europe, that's not enough for us to take the risk."

He added: "The fact is, until people start talking about the great experience you can have on Windows Phone, we can't go in on it."

The platform has seen significant gains in some regions, including parts of Europe where market share has breezed past ten percent. But in many other regions, Windows Phone's share of the market remains minute. Its global market share last year was around 3-4%, depending on who you ask. 

But Acer has far higher expectations, and will not consider launching further Windows Phone handsets until the platform's share of the market improves considerably, with at least double-digit consumer demand for the devices. Burnes said: "We are having conversations with Microsoft, and if they index Windows Phone to 10 to 15 percent, we are interested." 

Back in June 2013, Burnes said that Acer was "looking at Windows Phone 8, it's a great OS. The Xbox integration is nice, the enterprise suite is nice - but I think no-one knows about it." He also said: "We do believe in [Windows Phone 8]; it just doesn't sell enough at this moment, otherwise we would deploy it this year." 

Source: The Inquirer

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Never purchased an Acer but was tempted by some of the ultrabooks they have at the Microsoft Store. I wouldn't discount their products based on their stance on Windows Phone. But I do question whether this is a sustainable strategy for them. Waiting until other partners have fully established the market isn't a good time to introduce your own product into the mix. Others have touched on this but one can attribute much of Samsung's success with Android as an example for what it takes to differentiate and succeed with a platform. Nokia has accomplished the same with Windows Phone. Microsoft, Google and others will tell you over and over that partner adoption is key to the success of a platform. The platform is a framework that is loaded with API's for a reason. They want you to push the envelope and break new boundaries. Many will say that developer interest is key and that developer interest follows consumer adoption (or is it the other way around?). But innovation follows a different curve and it charts it's own path. Many times, partners are those who have the resources and vision to take it to the next level. In the case of Windows Phone, Nokia has been the only partner with the balls to commit and success has followed. When I initially bought into the platform, it was at the introduction of Windows Phone 8 using an HTC 8X. Unfortunately, I wasn't very familiar with Nokia's track record and I based my decision to go with HTC based on the form factor more than anything else. Shortly before my 8X arrived, a colleague of mine picked up a 920. The Nokia apps were compelling and many of them were doing things I had never seen before on Android. I still like my HTC but it didn't become a complete solution until Nokia began to make their apps available to other hardware platforms running Windows Phone 8. Over the last year and a half, HTC has released one update to their apps that I know of and all of them are fluff. Nokia has earned alot of good will for the platform and they have positioned themselves as a marquee partner that makes others pale in comparison. When I heard about the Lumia 929 / Icon, I knew it was only a matter of time until my 8X would be replaced. I ordered two of them off contract last week and am expecting delivery on Monday. There was no other real choice on Windows Phone. That isn't because of the hardware, the design, the apps or the brand. It is because they have seamlessly integrated hardware, software and services in a way that Microsoft couldn't have accomplished without them. And Nokia probably wouldn't have succeeded without Microsoft. Somehow, the design ethos of Windows Phone permeated Nokia's culture. It was as unique, creative and as colorful as they were. Ironically, the platform came from a place like Microsoft. Microsoft is known for being dominated by more of a black and white engineering culture. They are really, really good at it but they needed Nokia to create a flagship EXPERIENCE that seamlessly blends everything together. If that isn't obvious (and even thrilling) to Acer, that really is a shame. Nokia was able to accomplish all of that on a platform that other partners abandoned. If anything, Microsoft and Nokia have created a roadmap that other partners should follow regardless of whether it is Android or Windows Phone. If they are just looking for an OS layer for their hardware that sells itself, they have completely missed the point.

Edited by fiftytwoeighty, Mar 1 2014, 8:00pm :

Every time an OEM abandons Windows Phone all the MS fanboys are all, "They are junk anyway!" LG, Huawei, Acer etc... The companies that do make WP devices are making them as more of an afterthought than anything

Sonne said,
Every time an OEM abandons Windows Phone all the MS fanboys are all, "They are junk anyway!" LG, Huawei, Acer etc... The companies that do make WP devices are making them as more of an afterthought than anything
^

to be honest, acer's products suck.
the ceo always seems to be mocking microsoft these days anyways, so I'm not interested in their products anymore.

for me, it's either nokia or samsung for the windows phones and lenovo or microsoft (surface) for tablets and laptops.

My problem isn't with the lack of established major apps. All the major apps are now on WP, like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. My problem is with developer attitude towards new apps.

Every time I read a review for a new app and I think "Hey that would be cool, I might try it out"... iOS and Android only. Any physical device that syncs to a mobile app, for example fitness bands, only have iOS and Android apps. That's why I'll be going back to Android with my next phone. I love my Lumia 925 as a phone - the build quality is top-notch and the OS itself is nice to use - but I'm sick of the developer attitude towards WP. It seems like people develop for Android and iOS, and only if the app is successful 12 months later, will they then develop for WP.

As for Acer, I couldn't care less what they do. I wouldn't buy one of their phones, regardless of what OS it was running.

You're saying that you're sick of "developer attitude towards new apps" for Windows Phone, yet, here you are, running after them and make it even easier for them to have this kind of attitude in first place. If anything, it should be the other way around! Don't care about their app. Tell friends not to use their app either until devs will release a WP version.

Yeah, I wouldn't invest my money in a windows phone either.. They still haven't proven a market.. Yes it's selling and I'm sure the fanboys will go nuts.. But, it's the truth..

Really? Just Google them(didn't know about them), and their laptops are UuuuGggggLllllllYyyyy! seriously, good for them for trying to sell them in the US, but I would NEVER buy these. They probably do well in other continents, but more power to them for trying to get free media.

Not all of them are ugly, for example, the V5 series is nice design.

That's kind of where it stops. I have (or hade, not sure yet) that laptop. Only to find out that the screen was broken, send it back to Acer, when it came back, the motherboard was replaced, screen still broken. Then it was send back again, returned with a new adapter, screen still broken. Send again. We're now already waiting more then 5 weeks until Acer has decided if they are going to fix it, give me a new machine, or give me back my money. They told me that they might have made their disision at the end of March (I hoped they mistook February for March, they didn't)... Until then, I've got nothing.

Surely the most thing for Acer would be the marketshare since that's what would have affected their bottom line.

Proof positive Acer is a FOLLOWER in the tech industry and not a leader or innovator.

Hey Acer how about making a piece of hardware that is so good and revolutionary that people are driven to WP8 which would increase market share and the app pool?

Andoird has the biggest marketshare and a lot of apps but only Samsung and Microsoft are making money on Android

Nokia made deals to get apps onto the platform. And made phones people actually wanted.

Acer does f*** all to help sell phones, or apps. Parasite, and not a Partner.

mdtaUK said,
Nokia made deals to get apps onto the platform. And made phones people actually wanted.

That's all well and good, but Nokia's smartphone unit never made a profit after switching to Windows Phone. In fact, it cost them billions to do so. Acer clearly doesn't want to tread down that same path of selling devices at a loss.

Smart business decision. If I were running a company, I'd be cautious also. I see people here are replying based on emotions. I guess that's why we are posting on Neowin. Most of us can't run a company. Acer doesn't have the type of money as an Apple or Microsoft. Smart decisions are crucial.

JHBrown said,
Smart business decision. If I were running a company, I'd be cautious also. I see people here are replying based on emotions. I guess that's why we are posting on Neowin. Most of us can't run a company. Acer doesn't have the type of money as an Apple or Microsoft. Smart decisions are crucial.

Smart indeed for a company that seems to use it's repair & returns statistics as a metric for market share.

Well he's right. 350,000 fart apps aren't much use to anyone. Blackberry flooded their store with junk apps too and look what happened there.

Until WP gets at least 10% marketshare I'm afraid it's going to be ignored by most developers. Sure MS can pay some of them to port their apps, but that's not a long term solution. And according to Q4 of 2013, WP is actually losing marketshare, not gaining it.

I don't think the Nokia X is going to help Microsoft's cause either. Cannibalising the Lumia low-ends, which make up the majority of Windows Phone sales, isn't going to convince developers to put any resources into the platform.

Edited by simplezz, Feb 28 2014, 5:06pm :

Windows Phone is already the number 2 phone in many markets. The app situation isn't bad at all any more. Basically, ACER doesn't seem to understand "self-fulfilling prophesies".

Make a phone what people would actually want to buy first Acer. I think that maybe your problem.

I feel like this statement is just delegating blame onto why they're not doing well in phones.

I get what they're saying but... I can't think of any instance where someone said OMG I want an Acer phone.

So...

The beauty with Windows Phone 8.1 (if you watched Joe Belfore's little teaser the other day), is that OEMs can now run Windows Phone 8.1 on their Android devices saving them costs and being able to bring more choice (not sure if this is a good thing, but at the same time it'll bring more people and OEMs to the platform). Acer doesn't care about anything other than making a quick buck doing the least amount of work and quality.

Well if Acer won't join now that'll just leave more chance for others be it Nokia/MS or HTC, Samsung, some future Lenovo or LG or whatever else comes with 8.1 later this year.

...and this is why Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile division. Nokia took the bull by the horns and wrote their own apps for areas they saw room for improvement with.

That but also because OEMs like Acer like to play it safe and only care about making money with doing the least amount of work with their cheaptastic devices. Microsoft doesn't need them.

j2006 said,
That but also because OEMs like Acer like to play it safe and only care about making money with doing the least amount of work with their cheaptastic devices. Microsoft doesn't need them.

Tay actually do need the OEMs especially after MS ruins the Nokia phone division after the purchase

erfanullah said,
How about "I will not take risk buying Acer products unless they improve their quality"?

My Acer desktop is of better quality than Dells, HPs, and Alienwares, only ones better are custom built ones, same as the laptop Mom has, but like everything else, you get what you pay for, no one makes a quality $20 computer, desktop or laptop

As a business decision its a risk, but Acer could look at it another way. If they were to take the plunge back into WP and make phones that were at the level or better than Nokia, they could actually have an impact on the WP market share and improve it

perhaps Acer fearing that if they follow Nokia foot step using WP,
they will end up just like Nokia, having their phone division being sold/cut out into another company.

Ha even at their best, their phone division wouldn't be valued at almost $9billion. But sure, they can carry on and run themselves into the ground with Android along with the other bottom feeders.

Why not make it 100% market share before they rejoin so we know there is guaranteed no chance they can return with their lackluster, craptastic devices.

Yea, seems like a poor excuse. You dont look at the total number of apps. You look at how many out of the total are actually good and useful. Not just some crap app made to try and make a quick buck.

And growing increasingly pointless. Dedicated apps should not be needed for many cases where a mobile-friendly website can do the job for most platforms.

Star-Pirate said,
The only problem is that most of the Apps on Android and IOS... and Windows phone are crap.

The problem is Windows Phone has all the junk apps, but none of the good ones people want as illustrated in the article.

Microsoft has allowed the Windows store to be populated with low quality apps in order to boost the numbers. It's all about PR.

simplezz said,

The problem is Windows Phone has all the junk apps, but none of the good ones people want as illustrated in the article.

Microsoft has allowed the Windows store to be populated with low quality apps in order to boost the numbers. It's all about PR.

Half truth. Android and ios have similar proportions of junkware, which you are avoiding mentioning. WP has increased the amount of major apps available and is still growing on that front. You make your comment like it's 2011. I would suggest giving WP another look today.

Yea, right... Leave it ALL up to Microsoft..
Acer should take a look at Samsung, it grabbed Android by the balls and pretty much destroyed most Android competition, they designed good hardware, were innovative and most importantly put money in making folks aware of their product and what it can do.

So if Acers not willing, I bet Microsoft will be once they get the hardware/services portion of Nokia on board for their own devices

Nokia saw success with WindowsPhone because it did what Samsung did for Android(probably even more so... just had and still have much further to go)

TLDR Acer are Idiots

As well judging by their initial Windows 8.1 8" tablet offering I wouldn't step foot near acer as a consumer anyway.. Acer and Toshiba will be dead in the water soon enough

If it wasnt for Samsung copying everything others did, they wouldnt be anywhere near where they are at now. Most of what the produce on their devices are gimmicky and I have not seen anyone use those features....and I know lots with the S4. People get the devices, it seems, because of what it can do. But the coolness factor wears off soon there after. Or the features become annoying.

And not sure about Acer, but Toshiba is in to other things besides phones/computers.

Still Samsung had ads on every screen, all the time even before they went all gimmicky.. the only other devices that do OK are the Google sponsored Nexus branded phones

ads?

Yea, Samsung was doing well before the S4...but they got people hooked on previous models and started to introduce more features and more bloat. The S4 takes up a huge amount of space.

And IMO, the LG G2 is a much better design than the Galaxy series. I dont get the awe around Samsung's phone design.

dingl_ said,
Still Samsung had ads on every screen, all the time even before they went all gimmicky.. the only other devices that do OK are the Google sponsored Nexus branded phones

Actually, the Moto G has been labled the best Android phone Motorola has produced. And the Moto X has been getting some good reviews as well. And other OEMs make great devices but Samsung has most consumers by their short and curlies.

The HTC One was called the best Android phone ever by a lot of people, but it still didn't help HTC or change anything.

Android = Samsung Galaxy to too many consumers.

Lord Method Man said,
The HTC One was called the best Android phone ever by a lot of people, but it still didn't help HTC or change anything.

Android = Samsung Galaxy to too many consumers.

A lot of people are dumb, doesn't make them right, just dumb and like iSheep, following trends instead of thinking

Lord Method Man said,
The HTC One was called the best Android phone ever by a lot of people, but it still didn't help HTC or change anything.

That wasnt really what I was reply to. The Moto X/G are doing pretty well. At least from what I have read. Still no numbers released. But the reviews are good as well as several other OEMs.

I am hoping Samsung's bubble bursts soon. Yea, they have been good for Android and I owned the S1. After that, I never really liked their devices. Started producing crap, IMO, and coming out with features that look cool on screen, but fizzle out fast when you start using them. But Samsung can do this and people will eat it up. There dominance is not a good thing. Only other phone I got was the Galaxy Nexus...only because it was a Nexus device. IMO, LG makes a much better device as well as Sony...hell, even HTC. And with Lenovo now making Moto devices...I think it may get interesting real soon. LG hasnt always released good devices and may have been put off by them. But the N4, N5, and their LG G2 (and look a likes) have been getting some pretty good reviews.

Cyborg_X said,
Stay classy Acer.

Acer has no fanboys so therefore they must go where the people are.. they are not like Samsung/nokia that can choose their own path a lot of the time.. Acer can only survive if they jump on bandwagons to make sales..

Yeah.. Acer will never be a top brand until they stop blaming others for their constant fails and take some responsibility. They love to blame others yet don't seem to have any ideas of their own.

Uhh APPS and Market share are improved, not like Acer makes decent phones, I don;t think WP8 needs their cheap junk.

dingl_ said,
No one ever said that about their PCs either, pure cheap Junk

Cheap how? Because of the construction?

I have had a few Acer PCs in the past (still have an Acer netbook..works great) and never really had a problem. Know a few that have newer Acers and they work just fine. But I prefer function over form so as long as it works the way it should, dont care about construction to much.

No one ever said that about their PCs either, pure cheap Junk

To be fair, they've come out with a couple decent lines off the top of my head; the Timeline series was budget/mainstream but offered decent performance for its price point. The Haswell refresh of the Aspire S7 line has also gotten good reviews, but it doesn't come cheap either.

swanlee said,
Uhh APPS and Market share are improved, not like Acer makes decent phones, I don;t think WP8 needs their cheap junk.

Apps = pure craps and LOTS of clones. However, it lacks of several important apps.
Market = 3%.

MEH.

Btw, Windows Phone is 4 year old.

swanlee said,
Uhh APPS and Market share are improved
Yeah, I'm really interested in knowing what these Top 100 missing apps are he's talking about.

Brony said,

Apps = pure craps and LOTS of clones. However, it lacks of several important apps.
Market = 3%.

MEH.

Btw, Windows Phone is 4 year old.

has every app that I need.. the only one I am looking forward to is BBM/snapchat.. other then that all the other apps that have been hyped up such as instagram/path... as soon as they come out I get them and then use them for like a week..

for people like myself that are ingrained in the Microsoft and nokia ecosystem.. (use bing, skydrive, outlook, nokia mixradio,...... ect.) and do not use google apps at all (except for youtube) I am super happy..

I considered switching to android when my WP7 broke but they did not have any of the Microsoft apps I needed at the time so it goes both ways.

oh and I don't play a lot of bird games and crap like that for hours so that is where the other OS's have WP beat.. but it makes no difference to me.