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Acer Focusing More on Android, Chrome OS Than Windows 8

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 22 comments

At least in the mobile department.

While Asus is dropping Windows RT to focus on Windows 8, competing device maker Acer said it plans to offer more Chrome OS and Android-based devices than Microsoft-based products. Company president Jim Wang confirmed this roadmap on Thursday during a conference call with investors, stating that the company is trying to grow its non-Windows business as soon as possible.

"Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets," he said. "I also see a new market there for Chromebooks."

The news arrives after Acer reported a surprising net loss of $11.39 million in the April-June quarter, blaming increasing expenses on investments to strengthen the company’s industrial design capability and the declining gross margin due to DRAM’s price hike. The company's reported consolidated revenue was $2.97 billion, down 2.8 percent for the quarter or down 19.2 percent for the year. Its operating loss was $20.35 million.

Like its competitors, Acer has struggled to regain its footing in a consumer market, shifting over to cheaper, mobile products. Many of its latest product rollouts have consisted of AIO desktops, notebooks and tablets. It's also experimented with hybrid designs like the Aspire R7, which sports a unique hinge that transforms the device from tablet to an AIO to a laptop. The Iconia W3 is the industry's first 8 inch Windows 8-based tablet.

Wang told investors that during the second quarter, Chromebooks made up close to 3 percent of Acer's shipments. He didn't provide any Android specifics, but commented that Android and Chrome OS will likely contribute 10 percent to 12 percent of Acer's revenue by the end of the year -- a number that could increase to 30 percent in 2014. The remainder is expected to be generated by Microsoft-based products, he said.

"The Windows camp has to do something to reestablish or reinforce confidence among PC users," added Chairman J.T. Wang. "People are reluctant [to buy] and are holding [off] their purchasing decisions."

As for the PC industry, President Jim Wang said that he hasn't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. "First, we have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line…and by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow."

Despite the shift to mobile, compact and hybrid form factors, Acer hasn't abandoned the desktop market. Just recently the company unleashed the Windows 8-based Predator AG3-605 series, packing features like Creative's Sound Blaster Cinema, EAX, fourth-generation Intel Core "Haswell" processors, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics, and more. The series spans five SKUs with prices ranging from $999.99 to $1,499.99, indicating that Acer is aware that a market for higher-end machines still exists.

As of June, Acer was indecisive about producing a tablet based on Windows RT. Chairman J.T. Wang said in an interview that the ARM-based version of Windows 8 was not "so influential anymore," and that the company needed to be realistic about mass producing such a device. The company's stance on Windows RT has been mixed for a while, but with the lackluster sales of Microsoft's Surface tablets, Acer's own blunder with the Iconia W3 tablet, and rising costs, the company may be leaning towards relying on Google's two platforms in the mobile market.

Display 22 Comments.
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  • -1 Hide
    classzero , August 12, 2013 6:06 AM
    Windows LOL
  • -1 Hide
    apache_lives , August 12, 2013 6:07 AM
    Why is THG so Windows 8 negative? Its not a bad os at all

    This is just fudd
  • 2 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 12, 2013 6:36 AM
    The problem with the PC market is margins are so tight. With smartphones and tablets the margins are much better. That will change though eventually the margins on those will be just as tight.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , August 12, 2013 6:37 AM
    ^...because there are more "free" alternative with virtually the same user experience.
  • 4 Hide
    daglesj , August 12, 2013 7:06 AM
    Dear Acer,

    Please can you get off your fat ass and start producing some decent quality and interesting products we might actually want to buy!

    Your products for some years now have been largely poor quality and totally uninspiring. It's time to find your mojo and make some kit we might actually want to buy. Quit blaming MS, just take a look at 90% of your product portfolio and ask yourself "Would I buy that?" Probably not.

    This also applies to Toshiba, Fujitsu and HP.

    Boring cheap nasty products! Windows 8 isn't the problem, the machines to run it on just don't cut it.
  • 0 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 12, 2013 7:24 AM
    "Acer Focusing More on Android, Chrome OS Than Windows 8" - and THEN adding,
    "At least in the mobile department" is pure flame bait. What about the hundreds of people that'll read the headling then venture off with their own impressions.

    Please, PLEASE, stop this type of trash reporting.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 12, 2013 7:43 AM
    I agree with daglesj, these companies that were big in the PC and laptop market have failed to innovate since the smartphone and tablet era began. Other PC makers such as Samsung and Asus have managed to innovate and keep up with trends and often lead the trends
  • -1 Hide
    irish_adam , August 12, 2013 8:09 AM
    Quote:
    Why is THG so Windows 8 negative? Its not a bad os at all

    This is just fudd


    I'm sorry but I have been using windows 8.1 since the preview and i have to say it sucks for what i use windows for. For example i tend to always have video playing be it TV or movies on one side of my creen and do my work on the other half. This is now impossible, as soon as i want to open a program i have to leave the desktop screen so i can no longer see the video which annoys me more than the fact that instead of a neat list of folders and subfolders its now just a mess which makes finding programs so much harder

    They have quite literally killed multi tasking, we now get the same bullshit multi tasking that tablets and phones get because they do not have the screen size to accommodate more than one thing per screen.

    Dont even get me started on how the hell you find the shutdown menu
  • 2 Hide
    gnodeb , August 12, 2013 8:25 AM
    I see nothing bad with Win8. The problem is that it can be installed on old hardware so no reason to buy new one.
    Hardware manufacturers really let windows users down. The fact that SurfacePro is the most desirable win8 hybrid is sad... Asus Transformer Book and Sony 13 duo are great but they are crazy expensive (at least here... 1500euro is too much). Acer had some affordable slates but with 64/128GB SSD you can not replace...
    I ended up putting 256GB SSD into old laptop (3 year old Asus 13''/i5/4GB'). Got cheep win8 upgrade and it works great... I can not use it in tablet mode but I've saved so much money that I can buy not one but two tablets...
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 12, 2013 9:24 AM
    Several people have stated it and I think it is obvious that THG has anti-Microsoft bias to its rotten core, I try to pick the news out of the journalism where possible but it gets harder every day. Sometimes it is so blatant it makes me want to vomit, this site is way down on my list after Arstechnica, Anandtech, Engadget, hell even The Register is better.
  • -3 Hide
    ta152h , August 12, 2013 9:36 AM
    It's kind of funny that some twits here come and say how Windows 8 is great, and everyone else is stupid for not liking it.

    Honestly, kids, you're the dumb ones. You don't know better, you just want to sound like you do.

    Your opinion, like mine, doesn't matter. Nor does the fact I work in IT, and one out of our entire team of 40 people likes (doesn't love, likes) Windows 8, the rest pretty much hate it almost as much as a MacIntoy.

    What does matter is, the market has spoken. Loud and clear. It's not anecdotal at this point. Every CEO is saying the same thing. You don't know better, you just want to sound like you do, and everyone else is backward.

    Sorry, you're the dumb ones.

    It's pretty obvious, if you're not dumb. An interface that is designed for a mouse and keyboard, with a 24" inch screen is not going to be the same was one built for a touch screen of 9 inches, or a telephone of 4 inches. They are radically different input devices, and thus the interface can't be the same and optimal for each. It's simple. That's why Apple, who obviously is far more competent than Microsoft in designing things people like to use, didn't do it. Jobs knew you can't make it good if you make it the same for such different devices. It's just that simple.

    For us old-timers, and even you kiddies (even if you don't realize it), we're witnessing something we probably thought would never happen, the death of Microsoft.

    Enjoy it. I've wished for this for years. The kiddies don't realize what a horrible company Microsoft has been through the years, destroying others illegally, and stifling innovation for decades. I rejoice at every article chronicling their death, and will not miss this treacherous, incompetent company that has had power only because IBM chose them, and they became a monopoly.

    It's just beginning, to be sure, but it's inexorable. The cat is out of the bag, and you can't get it back in. Android and Chrome OS are reaching critical mass, and once they do, Microsoft is done. Google is doing to them what they did to everyone else, giving away, or selling very inexpensively, something in a market they don't need to make money in, but the other company does. Then the other company withers and dies, and in Microsoft's case, they jack up prices, and soak the customers since there is no longer any competition. Luckily, in this case, Google can't. But, they can eliminate Microsoft as a vendor that charges $100 for their OS.

    It's begun. Let's enjoy the ride. Every day Windows becomes more irrelevant. I'm spending more time learning Android, and soon Chrome OS, because they are the future, Windows quickly become the past. Like the Berlin wall falling, and the Soviets breaking up, it's more than I could have ever thought possible, or hoped for. But, I'm ecstatic it's finally happening.
  • 1 Hide
    enewmen , August 12, 2013 9:58 AM
    Quote:
    Dear Acer,

    Please can you get off your fat ass and start producing some decent quality and interesting products we might actually want to buy!

    Your products for some years now have been largely poor quality and totally uninspiring. It's time to find your mojo and make some kit we might actually want to buy. Quit blaming MS, just take a look at 90% of your product portfolio and ask yourself "Would I buy that?" Probably not.

    This also applies to Toshiba, Fujitsu and HP.

    Boring cheap nasty products! Windows 8 isn't the problem, the machines to run it on just don't cut it.


    You can just vote with your wallet. That will speak louder than words.
  • 2 Hide
    Fredrik Aldhagen , August 12, 2013 10:02 AM
    I think we're currently at a point where the average consumer has no reason to upgrade. Most people are happy as long as they can log on facebook and watch youtube (chromebook anyone?)
  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , August 12, 2013 10:43 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Why is THG so Windows 8 negative? Its not a bad os at all

    This is just fudd


    I'm sorry but I have been using windows 8.1 since the preview and i have to say it sucks for what i use windows for. For example i tend to always have video playing be it TV or movies on one side of my creen and do my work on the other half. This is now impossible, as soon as i want to open a program i have to leave the desktop screen so i can no longer see the video which annoys me more than the fact that instead of a neat list of folders and subfolders its now just a mess which makes finding programs so much harder

    They have quite literally killed multi tasking, we now get the same bullshit multi tasking that tablets and phones get because they do not have the screen size to accommodate more than one thing per screen.

    Dont even get me started on how the hell you find the shutdown menu


    Might I suggest you hit the "desktop" button when using Windows 8 on a home computer? Metro is focused on mobile devices - and, I might add, works very well for them - but there is a fully functional desktop mode for desktop purposes. Rather than complaining that the mobile OS portion multitasking doesn't work as well for using your computer as a desktop, try the desktop mode. You might find that classic Windows multitasking is still completely intact.

    Also, Windows explorer is still there, so the "neat list of folders" hasn't gone anywhere.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , August 12, 2013 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    It's kind of funny that some twits here come and say how Windows 8 is great, and everyone else is stupid for not liking it.

    Honestly, kids, you're the dumb ones. You don't know better, you just want to sound like you do.

    Your opinion, like mine, doesn't matter. Nor does the fact I work in IT, and one out of our entire team of 40 people likes (doesn't love, likes) Windows 8, the rest pretty much hate it almost as much as a MacIntoy.

    What does matter is, the market has spoken. Loud and clear. It's not anecdotal at this point. Every CEO is saying the same thing. You don't know better, you just want to sound like you do, and everyone else is backward.

    Sorry, you're the dumb ones.

    It's pretty obvious, if you're not dumb. An interface that is designed for a mouse and keyboard, with a 24" inch screen is not going to be the same was one built for a touch screen of 9 inches, or a telephone of 4 inches. They are radically different input devices, and thus the interface can't be the same and optimal for each. It's simple. That's why Apple, who obviously is far more competent than Microsoft in designing things people like to use, didn't do it. Jobs knew you can't make it good if you make it the same for such different devices. It's just that simple.

    For us old-timers, and even you kiddies (even if you don't realize it), we're witnessing something we probably thought would never happen, the death of Microsoft.

    Enjoy it. I've wished for this for years. The kiddies don't realize what a horrible company Microsoft has been through the years, destroying others illegally, and stifling innovation for decades. I rejoice at every article chronicling their death, and will not miss this treacherous, incompetent company that has had power only because IBM chose them, and they became a monopoly.

    It's just beginning, to be sure, but it's inexorable. The cat is out of the bag, and you can't get it back in. Android and Chrome OS are reaching critical mass, and once they do, Microsoft is done. Google is doing to them what they did to everyone else, giving away, or selling very inexpensively, something in a market they don't need to make money in, but the other company does. Then the other company withers and dies, and in Microsoft's case, they jack up prices, and soak the customers since there is no longer any competition. Luckily, in this case, Google can't. But, they can eliminate Microsoft as a vendor that charges $100 for their OS.

    It's begun. Let's enjoy the ride. Every day Windows becomes more irrelevant. I'm spending more time learning Android, and soon Chrome OS, because they are the future, Windows quickly become the past. Like the Berlin wall falling, and the Soviets breaking up, it's more than I could have ever thought possible, or hoped for. But, I'm ecstatic it's finally happening.


    This is an interesting post with a lot of truth to it, and something I have suspected - if to a slightly lesser degree - is happening. Google has been doing precisely what you're suggesting and I do believe they will crack MS's choke hold on the desktop market and either destroy MS or force them to radically alter their structure as a company. A huge company with the resources and brands to their name that MS has is not going to fade away like you suspect, but their days of running computers are likely done. Ten years from now I expect us to mention the name "Microsoft" more like we mention the name "Hewlett Packard" and not as the cornerstone of computing.

    The thing is though, those of us who like Windows 8 aren't necessarily sitting here patting it on the back because we expect it to be the next OS to take the world by storm that everybody loves. Personally, I like using it, and it is the best computing solution for a device that can work as either a desktop or a table, and it is that by a longshot - no half measures like what the competitors are currently offering, two fully functional OS types rolled into one. I like that, even if the way MS is pushing it - focusing so much on the tablet and not reminding people that the desktop mode is still there and fully functional - may well give their competitors the foothold they need to break MS's stranglehold on the non-mobile OS market.

    Many of us who like Windows 8 are not "the dumb ones." The dumbs ones are people who say "Well, you SHOULD like Windows 8" when it is clearly not suited for everyone's needs, along with gomers like the guy above complaining about Metro multitasking in a desktop environment pretending that the classic desktop and classic multitasking wasn't a button click away. Some of us - mainly people, I find, who are using hybrid desktop/tablet mobile devices like Windows 8 a lot, along with people who tend to have a lot of MS services at the core of their computing (Skydrive, outlook, etc). For people who want pure Windows desktop, it's not the ideal choice, and there are other options. The "dumb" ones are the ones suggesting that Windows 8 is the best for everybody, or that it's not the best for certain computing needs. MS's success or failure over the long term is not our concern, but having an OS that lets me take a tablet and turn it into a fully functional classic Windows desktop, and then unhook it and cart it around and use it as a tablet - that works for me.

    Lastly, the little "MS is such an evil company" thing is both a ridiculous criticism and a true one. True, insofar as they are, but ridiculous insofar as Google ain't any better. Nor is Apple. Samsung, Sony, you name it. If you're actually sitting there dancing for joy that MS is losing it's stranglehold, I desperately hope - for your sake - that it isn't because you expect things to be better once the computing world revolves around them. You're going to be sorely let down by the cutthroats who are cutting MS's throat so they can get a better angle to get at yours.

    Your post was insightful and talks about something which a lot of people don't believe can or will happen. I think you're a bit too gleeful over it, and look at people who like Windows 8 as mindless MS drones. Their product has a lot of potential for a certain type of computing - some of us recognize that and quite like the product. If Google starts to outstrip that combination of mobile and desktop computing in one device, sign me up. Until then, Windows 8 is the best of the lot for users who want that and aren't concerned with how well the company is doing and just want a functional device.
  • 0 Hide
    therealduckofdeath , August 12, 2013 12:15 PM
    10-12% is more than the other minor part of 88-90%? :) 
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 12, 2013 12:36 PM
    Ta152h, "What does matter is, the market has spoken. Loud and clear", well for years MacOSX was outsold by Windows to the point of hilarity and Linux although free was and still is a joke for desktop market share - but their supporters claimed and still do claim that despite the low market share their product is technically better - so saying "the market has spoken" doesn't make you right. You can't have it both ways.
  • 0 Hide
    w8gaming , August 12, 2013 12:49 PM
    Quote:
    Some of us - mainly people, I find, who are using hybrid desktop/tablet mobile devices like Windows 8 a lot, along with people who tend to have a lot of MS services at the core of their computing (Skydrive, outlook, etc). For people who want pure Windows desktop, it's not the ideal choice, and there are other options. The "dumb" ones are the ones suggesting that Windows 8 is the best for everybody, or that it's not the best for certain computing needs. MS's success or failure over the long term is not our concern, but having an OS that lets me take a tablet and turn it into a fully functional classic Windows desktop, and then unhook it and cart it around and use it as a tablet - that works for me.


    I wonder if you have tried this free virtual mouse software for the desktop mode on a Windows 8 machine:

    http://www.lovesummertrue.com/touchmousepointer/en-us/index.html

    To me, this seems to be what Microsoft needs to make the touch interface a lot of useful to work on the desktop without a mouse. I am wondering how others will think of such a tool as mouse replacement for desktop mode.
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , August 12, 2013 3:28 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Dear Acer,

    Please can you get off your fat ass and start producing some decent quality and interesting products we might actually want to buy!

    Your products for some years now have been largely poor quality and totally uninspiring. It's time to find your mojo and make some kit we might actually want to buy. Quit blaming MS, just take a look at 90% of your product portfolio and ask yourself "Would I buy that?" Probably not.

    This also applies to Toshiba, Fujitsu and HP.

    Boring cheap nasty products! Windows 8 isn't the problem, the machines to run it on just don't cut it.


    You can just vote with your wallet. That will speak louder than words.


    Oh I have.

    (Typing this on my Samsung Chromebook)

  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , August 12, 2013 5:33 PM
    What people forget is that this is the beginning of MS desperation. PC sales are falling says the media, it is win8 says the media. But PC, and windows, sales have been steadily decreasing ever since XP. Win7 may have been cool, but sales didn't stop falling. Windows needs something to keep it alive. It is not as if it has competition, from Apple only OSX, niche Linux, or glorified web browser Chrome OS, but it needs to fight the increasingly diminishing market.
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