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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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 :

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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..

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.

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.

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

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 :

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