Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that after publicly urging Microsoft to reconsider its decision to launch its own-brand tablet PC, Acer chairman and CEO J.T. Wang commented August 9 that Microsoft is pushing Surface to help Windows 8 succeed, has acknowledged associated concerns of its PC brand vendor partners, and is trying to minimize negative impact created by the launch.
The Register’s Brid-Aine Parnell cited Mr. Wang cautioning Microsoft that “It will create a huge negative impact for the Windows ecosystem, and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at, so please think twice.”
Digitimes’ Lee and Tsai note that Acer was the first brand vendor to go public with a warning about Microsoft’s plunge into the PC hardware market, saying that Surface could have negative impact on the existing PC ecosystem, leading some market watchers to speculate that Acer may quit developing Windows-based tablet PCs. However they report that Wang has clarified that his company has no intention of quitting the Windows-based tablet PC market, and is aggressively developing related devices.
However, with Microsoft unlikely to abandon its plans to launch of the Surface tablet PC product, Mr Wang reaffirmed his conviction that Microsoft’s actions will destabilize the long-established PC ecosystem, and has contacted Microsoft to discuss his concerns, also pointing out that his public comments are not only meant for Acer’s benefit, but that of the entire Windows community — vendors, Microsoft and users.
Lee and Tsai cite Mr. Wang saying the PC industry in general is concerned that Microsoft’s change of strategy may have more serious consequences than the company’s original intent, ultimately not only potentially hurting others, but Microsoft itself, hastening to clarify that he is optimistic about Windows 8, has given the operating system his highest rating, and is eagerly waiting to see it achieve success, stressing that his critique is intended to protect and support success of the new Microsoft OS.
The report cites Mr. Wang suggesting that that Microsoft is weighing potential solutions, such as creating a price gap to minimize the negative impact on other vendors’ product lineups, predicting that if Microsoft launched a Surface entry-level model at a price of US$199 (highly unlikely in any event), it would have a significant impact on the competition, but priced in the US$499-$599 range, the effects will be a lot smaller.
Mr. Wang is also cited noting that Microsoft didn’t give PC brand vendors a heads-up prior to announcing its Surface project, and with Redmond entering hardware development, thereby morphing from partner to competitor, he says while Acer isnt afraid of competition, he wants to understand the new rules of the game.
To Fight Apple. Microsoft Must Hang Tough On Surface
“I don’t see anything on the Windows 8 horizon aside from Surface that would rival Apple. So Microsoft needs to stick to its guns and execute on Surface”, says CNET’s Brooke Crothers, adding that while Microsoft is likely under a lot of pressure from some quarters to abandon its in-house Surface tablet PC project, that would be a mistake.
Crothers believes that were Microsoft to cave to pressure from partners to abandon Surface, it will lose the consumer to Apple for good. Probably sooner rather than later, and suggests that if Acer is that worried about Surface, it should out-design Microsoft or look elsewhere, noting that as of right now he doesn’t see anything from Acer that would make him chuck his MacBook and iPad, but Surface could if Microsoft is able to follow through with a stable, reliable finished product that lives up to the hype. And it gets even more interesting when he see that Redmond is already working on Surface 2.
Crothers doesn’t think Surface will spark a migration from Apple products to Microsoft, but that’s not Microsoft’s objective, and what its shooting for is to stanch the flow of defections from Windows to OS X and iOS.