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Acer Still Has Plans for Windows RT Devices

Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed four OEMs that are scheduled to release Windows RT devices: Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. Toshiba said it was pulling out of the Windows RT race due to problems in acquiring components for a "timely" release. Acer was also excluded from the list, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed on Thursday that it plans to produce Windows RT devices at some point.

"Acer plans to incorporate Windows RT into our product roadmap, but we have not yet confirmed the timing of our product launches," an Acer spokeswoman told Computerworld. The acknowledgment backs up a previous statement made by Acer President Jim Wong back in June who said a Windows RT "portable device" would not arrive until 1Q13.

Acer CEO JT Wang has been one of several within the company to be extremely vocal towards Microsoft over the past month, lashing out at the Redmond company for producing its own Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets based on the new Windows OS. He said the devices would drive a wedge between it and its OEM partners, and even urged Microsoft to "please think twice" about building the Surface tablets.

"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice," he said.

Even Acer founder Stan Shih has thrown his two cents into the Microsoft lashing, saying that Microsoft's entry into the tablet hardware sector was merely designed to promote Windows 8. Essentially he's right, but his comment seemingly meant to imply that Microsoft was only out to make tons of money off Windows 8, and screw the OEM partners and their need to generate revenue too.

"I sincerely recommend they withdraw from the hardware market when they get what they want," Shih said.

Just recently there have been rumors that Microsoft will offer its Windows RT tablet starting at $199. Acer CEO JT Wang advised Microsoft against such pricing, claiming that it would have a significant, negative impact on partners. Instead, the Surface tablets should retail for $499 to $599. So far Surface pricing is a big mystery despite rumors.

"Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability, and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC," Microsoft previously stated.

The cost to build each Surface RT tablet alone is estimated to run the company up to $600, hence the OEM paranoia -- especially in Acer's case -- regarding the rumored $199 pricetag.

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  • snowzsan
    I don't understand why you keep updating us on the status of Acer's complaints that Microsoft is developing their own tablet. I have no personal issue with Acer as all the products I've owned from them have stood the test of time but I, nor really anyone else for that matter, care that Microsoft developing for themselves might undercut their profits.

    If they're really that worried, than make a better product. Plain and simple. Stop saying that MS should bugger off just because their tablet may be better. Start making high quality products instead of low end products.
  • back_by_demand
    Acer plans to incorporate Windows RT into our product roadmap, but we have not yet confirmed the timing of our product launches
    Or in other words:-
    We are so bitter and full of piss & vinegar we will wait to see if our competitors sell shed loads, then we will rush out a cheap shitty RT tablet that will circle the budget end of market, just like our laptops
  • DRosencraft
    From a business side I have no problem with Acer. But they really need to stop whining about this already. Their products are the cheapest on the market and not without the kind of build quality issues you often see with manufacturers at the low-end of the market. However, this makes them overly sensitive to the actions of possible competitors. They are probably more worried about the price of the Surface than the Surface itself. Quite honestly they probably won't care too much if the Surface is priced towards the mid-range of the market because they will still occupy their own low-end sector. But MSFT as a new entry as a manufacturer will probably start closer to the low-end so that they can get themselves established. As greedy as MSFT is purported to be, they would be careful not to shoot themselves in the foot by going too expensive. Like when they made the orig. Xbox, they'll aim at a mid point between their competition. They'll still probably take some business from Acer with such a model, but Acer probably won't get hurt that badly since budget buyers will still look at the final price line.
  • DavidC1
    I don't understand backlash about Acer's claims. Just because people had bad experience with Acer or their current products are lacklustre does not mean it'll hold through the future. It also does not make their claims of Microsoft making a bad decision false.

    Allowing developers and ecosystem to thrive is a good way to achieve success in the market, and making a device that DIRECTLY competes against their biggest customers is a huge mistake.

    I'll say this. Most of the companies that were big but failed through the years make one similar but avoidable mistake every time: De-emphasize your core competency and get out rushed plans for the "new thing".

    Things MS should have done:
    -Allowing legacy users to have a fallback mode and allow natural transition to Metro.
    -Make a good reference design that manufacturers can resell
  • Bloob
    Always funny to me when Acer is telling someone else they "are not good at hardware", seeing the flimsy plasticky sht they release. I don't think I have ever heard of an Acer laptop/netbook that's survived for 3 or more years.
  • southernshark
    Those manufacturers have set on their butts hoarding money for two decades, spending the minimum they could on R&D and then got their asses handed to them by Apple. Now they want to cry about their continued slide to total irrelevance.

    I'm disappointed that Dell is still making the RT though. Dell is a crap company and can't make anything better than half way.
  • southernshark
    I do want to add that I don't mind plastic laptops. I don't really even get the obsession with aluminum ones, since the plastic ones do better in a fall (which is where I often break mine) and the hinges don't seem to get loose as fast.

    As a Glock owner I can attest that polymer can take quite a beating when done right. Now does some trash company like Acer or Dell do it right? Ah no.... but they wouldn't do anything right. Gaston Glock always demanded that his products be the absolute best in the world, not just in quality and performance but also price (for non gun owners out there Glocks are around 500 bucks which puts them at the bottom of the top tier market). These companies though are not ran by a Gaston Glock, they are ran by business suits who only understand cutting costs and cutting corners to make an extra dollar. They don't understand making a great product and this has been proven over the past two decades. Again this is why they are getting their asses handed to them by Apple.