Acer's Europe VP critical of Microsoft's Surface plans

An executive at Acer has become one of the first representing a major PC maker to express a real opinion on Microsoft's Surface tablet plans. Reuters reports that Oliver Ahrens, Acer's senior VP and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, is quoted as saying, "I don't think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products."

Ahrens added Microsoft's situation was different than Apple's, which has always made its own hardware and has never licensed its operating system to other PC makers. He said, "Microsoft is working with two dozen PC vendors worldwide, including the local guys, whereas Apple is alone, it can more or less do what it want. Microsoft is a component of a PC system. A very important component but still a component."

The Surface tablet could caused Microsoft to shift the focus away from supporting Windows 8 to third party PC makers, according to Ahrens, He added. " ... we have to suffer because we are working with their products."

Acer, which is the fourth largest PC maker in the world (behind HP, Lenovo and Dell), will still release about four, maybe five, products for the Windows 8 launch later this year. Ahrens said that Windows 8 is still "extremely important" to Acer.

Earlier this week, the retired founder of Acer, Stan Shih, expressed the opinion that Microsoft has no real intention of entering the hardware market. He added the Surface tablet, announced on Monday, is just a ploy by the company to help encourage other hardware companies to make Windows 8 and Windows RT hardware and that Microsoft will pull out of the tablet market when that happens.

Source: Reuters

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I remember Acer throwing a fit about the system requirements of Windows Vista selling Vista boxes with 512 MB ram with old Intel chipsets that didn't support Aero which was part of Vista's failing techies and customers getting cheap hardware at places like Walmart getting a bad experience do to system requirements that their products didn't meet.

" ... we have to suffer because we are working with their products."

That's a choice, there are other products available. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Can't be a hardware player with two products? He's right. Microsoft should also build its own consumer desktops, professional workstations, and laptops.

The thing is that MSFT has set the bar for what W8 tablets are like. And it seems they set the bar high. The 'throw a cheap plastic thingie together' brands like acer now have a problem..

I say.. MSFT do more, do even better..

Sounds like a PC maker with a mouth full of sour grapes. Bottom line is that PC makers need Microsoft's operating systems. Microsoft is a Software and a hardware company. They make very nice hardware. Microsoft Surface hardware has brought more attention to itself in a week than every other non-Apple PC, Laptop, Ultrabook and tablet that's been on the market, put together, for the last decade! Instead of bitching, why don't ACER invent something more innovative and desirable than Microsoft Surface?

"Earlier this week, the retired founder of Acer, Stan Shih, expressed the opinion that Microsoft has no real intention of entering the hardware market. He added the Surface tablet, announced on Monday, is just a ploy by the company to help encourage other hardware companies to make Windows 8 and Windows RT hardware and that Microsoft will pull out of the tablet market when that happens."

Translated: Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh ****, Oh **** Oh ****, Oh **** Oh ****...

It is simple, meet the new features, design concepts, and composite technologies of the hardware, and Microsoft will not have any future Surface hardware versions.

However, it is of note, that if OEMs dip behind in features or quality, look for Microsoft to pull the product back out if MFRs are not willing to invest or implement the technology.

Microsoft has continually done this with hardware going back to the Mouse, and several other 'new' technologies that they could NOT get OEMs to implement or use standards. Trace the Mouse, with each 'new' version, having a new technology that is readily adopted by other Mouse makers, from the protocol of the original MS Mouse, to the Wheel and extra data over the PS/2 port, to optical, ergonomic, and on and on.

There are also a ton of MS hardware technologies that they had to SHOVE to get standardized, like the Windows Sound System (adopting 16bit sound, and new driver model), and many other products over the years like the MS Digital speaker system, Ergonomic keyboards, Microsoft joystick and controller technologies (Force feedback, and motion based controllers, and standardized button minimums pre-XBox), and all the way up to the Zune hardware with WiFi standards to the ZuneHD that introduced Gorilla glass to the world and minimum of high resolution 4 point input.


Microsoft is behind a majority of the hardware we all use today, from chipset and I/O standards to even the GPU and CPU designs; however, in the consumer level build, they have less direct impact and when they see a void, they will produce their own brand until the rest of the industry catches up.

Even the XBox was to be a limited concept model of using PC technology for gaming; however, as the innovation is very dependent on Microsoft it remains a Microsoft only product. Someday though it may hit a point where other MFRs will want to step in an meet the standards and no longer be a Microsoft only hardware product.

If Microsoft was going to jump into being like Apple, they would just split off their hardware or create a new hardware company, sell their existing products to the new company, and then work separately, because Microsoft cannot exist to only serve itself, when it is the central piece of the entire technology industry.

The senior VP (also president for Acer Europe) is screaming *now* because what Surface (and Surface Pro) will do is put him (and every other manufacturer of tablets, slates, and Ultrabooks) on the spot. If Surface RT/Surface Pro hit both the quality *and* price metrics Microsoft has in mind, he is going to have to explain to his own board why Acer couldn't - or hasn't - done the same. (So are the heads of the similar units at other PC OEMs; however, he's trying to save his OWN neck.) Notice that we have not heard from Dell, or HP, or Lenovo - yet. (Still, I would wager that all three are, in fact, nervous. All three have OEM arrangements with Microsoft - for *hardware* - not just software. They are certainly quite aware of how good Microsoft's hardware is.) That is why Ahrens is sweating - he could well have some 'splainin to do to his board.

Shih is also, in likelihood, worried. He's not stupid; the ONLY field that Microsoft has, in fact, departed entirely after entry is networking (specifically, home networking) with own-brand hardware; they are still around everywhere else. And he is quite aware that Microsoft makes quality hardware - the old AOpen unit competed *directly* with Microsoft in the OEM hardware space - and largely got their heads handed to them where both had products. However, if he brings THAT up, he'd lose much face.

The Acer Group as a whole would be the biggest victim of a successful Surface RT/Surface Pro.


"I don't think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products."

First, only having two hardware products means you can focus on quality. Second, I don't think Microsoft actually wants to be a hardware player. They just want to jump start Windows 8 to make sure it succeeds and that OEMs don't make it fail by being lazy (I'm looking at you, Vista... poor thing).

Microsoft have been known for years to make excellent hardware, why would they not do the same with the tablet to set the bar for all these other oems that have let the workmanship slide below par on a lot of the models sold. They need this wake up call to start building some quality back into the devices and at this point I think Microsoft are getting ****ed with crap they have been releasing. MS needs these to be top notch devices.

If Microsoft decides to make their own PC / laptop on their own, I won't hesitate to buy it even if it cost a little more than other Windows PC / laptop out there because I know what I am getting will be fully optimized with the OS, and not bugged down with proprietary software and hardware.

It is perfectly valid for third party manufacturers to be concerned about Microsoft launching its own competing hardware product. However, if they cannot offer a product that competes with it then - as long as nothing untoward or anti-competitive has been done by Microsoft - it is their own fault.

At the end of the day I don't believe that Microsoft is interested in the hardware market at all. It just wants to ensure that there are compelling products on the market in order to ensure the success of Windows 8, which is their primary concern.

I think he's really missing the point. MS isn't doing Surface & Surface Pro to "be a hardware player" They're doing it to show OEMs who seem to have had no original ideas other than to imitate apple designs for the last 5 years. There are some exceptions like the Samsung Series 9 ultrabooks & the HP Specter, but apart from those machines there really isn't a whole lot of inspiring design coming from any of the PC manufactures.

MS is sending a wake-up call of sorts, so OEMs need to do something other than hit the snooze button.

I thought Microsoft was a hardware company, Zune, Xbox, Mice, Keyboards, and Webcams to name a few.

Every time Microsoft has gone down the licensing the reference design and letting OEMs screen it up, the whole thing has fallen flat on it's face. Even if they don't sell a lot of units, they will learn more than they ever could from a position where senior managers argue with OEMs and junior developers are left in the dark.

smithy_dll said,
I thought Microsoft was a hardware company, Zune, Xbox, Mice, Keyboards, and Webcams to name a few.

Every time Microsoft has gone down the licensing the reference design and letting OEMs screen it up, the whole thing has fallen flat on it's face. Even if they don't sell a lot of units, they will learn more than they ever could from a position where senior managers argue with OEMs and junior developers are left in the dark.

Microsoft is primarily a software company, however a lot of those things they couldn't exactly just sell the OS for, Xbox and Zune etc.

"we have to suffer because we are working with their products"

Well you could start shipping your products with Linux, see how well they sell. You'll go back begging to "suffer" under Windows. Or is he just bitching because theres another competitor in the PC hardware market?

McKay said,
"we have to suffer because we are working with their products"

Well you could start shipping your products with Linux, see how well they sell. You'll go back begging to "suffer" under Windows. Or is he just bitching because theres another competitor in the PC hardware market?

More like he is bitching because they had nothing beyond the bland to offer and Microsoft stepped up to the plate with something that some people may like a bit more.

Old news.

These guys had ages to get things right and they keep dropping the ball. They keep losing ground to Apple in both the PCs and tables.

MS needed something to showcase sell W8 and the Surface will be that thing.

I don't think Acer has the right to be critical of other OEMs especially since they make the cheapest, ********* computers around.

He added. " ... we have to suffer because we are working with their products."

No you have to suffer because you make pieces of ****.

-Razorfold said,
I don't think Acer has the right to be critical of other OEMs especially since they make the cheapest, ********* computers around.


No you have to suffer because you make pieces of ****.


I have to agree completely; while they're computers are definitely cheap in price, they're some of the worst quality computers ever.