Hey Acer, if Microsoft is no good at making tablets – why do you care?
Acer’s Chairman and CEO JT Wang is scared. And Microsoft’s Surface tablets are to blame. Mr. Wang told the Financial Times that being in the hardware business is not something Microsoft is good at, and therefore it should think twice about making its own tablets.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Wang publicized his feelings about the Surface project, and, out of all the traditional ‘Wintel’ hardware partners, he seems to be the most vocal critic of Microsoft’s move so far. The full quote from today goes like this:
“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.”
The question that obviously needs to be asked is: why exactly do you care, Mr. Wang? Why does Acer care? If Microsoft is so bad at hardware making, then surely the Surface tablets simply won’t sell very well (or at all). Which means that people who would like to get a Windows 8 tablet will turn to those devices made by companies such as Acer.
With the Surface project, Microsoft is in effect positioning itself as a competitor to its traditional hardware partners in the tablet space, which looks like it’s where mainstream computing is headed. So Acer’s argument makes no sense whatsoever at first sight. Why would you as a company be scared of a competitor who’s ‘no good’ at making a product?
Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Acer isn’t afraid that the Surface tablets won’t be successful. It’s afraid that they will be successful, and as such ‘eat’ some market share from the Taiwanese company. Wang has probably looked at his company’s efforts in the tablet space, compared them to the Surface, and concluded that he should desperately try to persuade Microsoft not to launch its first ever tablets. Not because ‘Microsoft is no good at it’, but because it’s too good. At least too good for Acer to compete with.
That’s actually what’s going on here. Like we told you after the Surface announcement, with this move into tablet making Microsoft is delivering a big ol’ kick in the arse to its traditional hardware partners, which so far have managed to do no innovating at all with regard to tablets.
But Acer still has a chance. No, Microsoft won’t cancel the Surface project just because Wang would like that. Yet the Redmond giant can still screw this up by overpricing its tablets. Of course it could use all kinds of arguments to explain such a move (focusing on how innovative its design is and so on), but the thing is – if the Windows RT (ARM) based Surface tablet isn’t at most $499, it won’t have a chance of selling well.
So Wang can still hope that the leaked pricing info we heard a while back will turn out to be true, in which case his company can go on making uninspiring tablets for the foreseeable future without any issue.