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Microsoft Android Businesses Portables Windows Hardware

Acer Pulls Back From Windows To Focus On Android and Chromebook 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-up-the-ghost dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "More bad news for Microsoft: Acer is apparently rethinking their Windows strategy, planning to offer fewer Microsoft products and focus more on products delivered by Redmond's rival Google, in the form of Chromebooks and Android devices. This comes after Acer's second-quarter earnings call, where the Taiwanese company posted a surprise second-quarter loss, having unexpected lower sales and rising expenses. Acer's change of plans comes not long after Asus' CEO announced that the company would no longer make Windows RT products until Microsoft proves there's real demand."
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Acer Pulls Back From Windows To Focus On Android and Chromebook

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  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:54AM (#44518967)

    This is a well known negociation strategy to get better deals from Microsoft. Remember when Dell threatened to go AMD-only?

    Acer is a big laptop OEM, especially in emerging markets. What are they going to put in them? A browser OS? Really?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by intermodal (534361)

      I've been an Acer user for two generations of laptops at this point, and in each case, I bought it to run Linux. I know I'd certainly have liked to not pay the Microsoft Tax on 'em.

      That said, why do you have such a problem with a "browser OS" as you call it? If there's one thing I noticed when I went back to school a while back to finish a degree, it's that most students could certainly have gotten by with nothing but this so-called "browser OS".

      • by rev0lt (1950662)
        With Android, you'd still pay the Microsoft Tax - and probably they have a higher profit margin on it (because, you know, patents dont require developments and lots of other stuff that costs money).
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:23AM (#44519269) Journal

      Given that (in terms of vendor margins, and thus price elasticity under hardball negotiations) MS licenses are probably the most flexible component that goes into a Wintel box (with Intel CPUs being the other one), any negotiation strategy that works at scaring MS a bit is probably worth a great deal of money indeed.

      HDDs, RAM, passives, OEM assembly sweatshops, plastic mouldings and metal stampings, are already cut to the bone, so being able to tell scary lies to Microsoft is probably worth as much to a PC OEM as amazing expertise in JIT supply chains or other elegant re-engineerings of the actual manufacturing and distribution process.

      • by rev0lt (1950662)
        What scary lies? Microsoft would probably make more money out of an Android laptop than a Windows one... There are a ton of OEMs paying patents on Android, and they cost zero to Microsoft.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Given that (in terms of vendor margins, and thus price elasticity under hardball negotiations) MS licenses are probably the most flexible component that goes into a Wintel box (with Intel CPUs being the other one), any negotiation strategy that works at scaring MS a bit is probably worth a great deal of money indeed.

        Don't forget the crapware business - the Windows license is basically paid for by Symantec, McAfee, etc., when the OEM preloads that stuff on the PCs they sell.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

      by xgerrit (2879313) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:38AM (#44519423)

      This is a well known negociation strategy to get better deals from Microsoft. Remember when Dell threatened to go AMD-only? Acer is a big laptop OEM, especially in emerging markets. What are they going to put in them? A browser OS? Really?

      This is probably a troll, but I'll play along...

      I thought the same thing until I checked Amazon and Best Buy. Search either one for Chromebooks and you'll turn up a bunch of products with thousands of reviews. This one's even listed as a #1 Best-Seller [amazon.com] among laptops. Go ahead and do the same for Windows RT. It's okay, I'll wait here.

      Now I'm not endorsing Chromebooks. I didn't even realize they were still available because I'm sure as hell not buying one... but that's two major retailers that have tons of models (including ones from Acer) that seems to be doing ok.

      So I guess their "negotiation strategy" is going to be really really effective, because it also happens to be true.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GauteL (29207) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:42AM (#44519481)

      The article says "fewer Microsoft products", not "no Microsoft products". Windows PC/Laptop manufacturing is incredibly competitive and consequently profit margins are razor thin. Acer has decided to narrow their line up to increase their Windows product profitability. At the same time, they've decided they can get a bigger slice of the ChromeBook market.

      This sounds a little less sexy than the headline.

  • by xgerrit (2879313) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:02AM (#44519031)
    One of Microsoft's biggest fears from the late 90s was that the web browser would become more important than Windows and instead of just being an application, it would become the platform. If only Microsoft had been nimble enough to change their strategy in the past 15 to 20 years...
    • by alen (225700)

      they did try, but failed with IE6
      then google and firefox came along with extensions

    • by alen (225700)

      the Windows and Office guys were printing all the money and killed anything that endangered their revenue stream. now that the money flow is ending they are probably panicking. old story.

      google does something similar with their ad business bringing in all the cash and has some risk. apple's rule is that every product they sell has to make a profit at the cash register.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        Apple also doesn't mind cannibalizing sales of another product line (iPhines vs iPods) as they'd rather lose sales to themselves than a competitor. Sounds like MicroSoft's corporate culture precludes this strategy.

  • Kaboom! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:03AM (#44519035)
    Every time I read a story about the failure of win8\RT I am greeted by an involuntary image in my mind of Balmer piloting the Hindenburg, and the disaster that followed. It amazes me that he is still in charge.
    • Oh the humanity!

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      The Hindenberg didn't have any fore warning. I prefer to picture the captain of the Titanic responding to the impending iceberg by having the helmsman maintain his course, then asking the engine room for ramming speed.

      • by wjcofkc (964165)
        Well, I did say it was involuntary, but I will meditate on the Titanic analogy. To be honest, since I don't use any kind of Windows Whatever OS or MS anything, I would just assume purge my mind of the whole mess. Time to go listen to some Tibetan Bowls on my MacBook, or maybe my Slackware box, or my Android...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by WizardFusion (989563)
        Actually, if the captain had maintained course, and not turned, they would have survived.
      • The Hindenberg didn't have any fore warning.

        Werner Heisenberg: German theoretical physicist.
        Paul von Hindenburg: German president from 1925 to 1934.

        Never heard of Hindenberg.

    • Windows 8 and Win RT are two very different things. Windows 8 will likely take off with the changes in 8.1. Once you get passed the odd tile layout and go back to the regular desktop it is a brilliant OS. I hate using XP or 7 now.

      RT was just a non-starter with its inherent limitations.

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:08AM (#44519097)

    ....Microsoft employees were spotted moving chairs out of CEO Steve Ballmer's office.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:18AM (#44519221) Homepage Journal

    I believe the recent move that makes Office accessible to Android (even if it is a cloud version and a wrapper) is very significant.

    The Microsoft crew knows that Android will at least be a major contender for OS share and maybe even beat them. I think they are starting to get ready for a world where Windows isn't the automatic choice by the corporate zombie crowd and it will be just as viable to give your non-power users an Android-based desktop. They are smart enough to know that the possibility for that is there.

    Give the graphic designers a mac. Give the business power users a Windows 7 PC. Give your secretary an Android Desktop. Give a geeky workers that need raw power a Linux box. Well get closer to giving everyone the correct tool for the correct job.

  • All I've seen in general is that Acer make average and poor PC equipment, knocked out generally at below market prices as their model, and with at best average support.
    To be fair I've over generalising somewhat - but what I laid out applies to too much of the Acer family.

    Moving to Chrome and Android will be a simpler model. The problem is that its a full on race to the bottom. Your value as Acer is null. Its in the OS. And beyond that, unless you are on the winning edge hardware wise and winning at review l

  • I have never owned an Acer branded product but have owned a Gateway laptop from Acer. 2 Keys broke in the 2nd month - wasn't covered by warranty. The charger slot slipped into the case after 6 months. Repair was covered by warranty but it was a patch-up job - they had to stick something to something.14th month, motherboard developed a problem which required motherboard replacement. Since it was out of warranty, I junked it.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 09, 2013 @10:00AM (#44519697) Homepage

    For the last 20+ years, companies have made hardware for whatever Microsoft was making, because it was the gravy train.

    Now all of a sudden they're realizing they're footing the bill to make products focused around Microsoft stuff, and that isn't always working for them if the stuff Microsoft is making nobody is interested in. In fact, it has become a liability in some instances.

    The manufacturers have more options these days, and if the Microsoft products aren't selling, they can make more money by focusing on the Android and other stuff.

    So Microsoft really needs to pay attention, and learn that they need to better understand what it is people want and why -- because there is increasingly not as much certainty that a MS product will sell, and if you're sitting on your laurels collecting revenue from OS and Office upgrades, you will get overtaken.

    Their tablets aren't doing stellar, their phones aren't nearly as popular, nobody seems to like Windows 8, and they've pissed off everybody with the XBone -- and while they may be entrenched in corporate environments and likely to stay there, at the consumer level, they seem to be foundering.

  • I don't think anyone will really feel the effects of a few less underspec'd machines being on the market. Anyone who could have bought an Acer can still get their underspec'd machine from HP, Lenovo, or any other number of manufacturers.

    • I don't think anyone will really feel the effects of a few less underspec'd machines being on the market. Anyone who could have bought an Acer can still get their underspec'd machine from HP, Lenovo, or any other number of manufacturers.

      Your right they won't, but its not because others will make up a shortfall. Its because the PC market has been shrinking for 5 quarters now with no end in sight.

  • I just bought an Acer chromebook for my parents. Everything works well, and I have no complaints about the Acer hardware so far... except for the Wifi card -- or it could be the software. It won't work with our wireless router's WPA2, so I had to switch to WEP... which we all know is pretty much no security...
  • I love my Acer netbook, and I know they quit making them due to pressure from Microsoft. If they start making normal Netbooks again I'll be a happy camper.

  • ...for the Packard Bell brand.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:27PM (#44521765) Homepage

    At least dont be Dusche-Bags and LOCK the bootloader/Bios. Give us linux dweebs a way to blow out the Chrome OS and install linux on it easily without a 20 second "ZOMG UR BookIZ Compromised!" warning on the screen...

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