Acer to step up non-Windows business after buyers succumb to 'PC confusion'

Acer to step up non-Windows business after buyers succumb to 'PC confusion'

Summary: The 'Windows camp' needs to give consumers a reason to purchase real PCs again, according to Acer.

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Taiwanese PC maker Acer will shift its focus towards Android and Chromebooks amidst upheaval and confusion in the Windows-dominated PC market.

The Wall Street Journal reported Acer will aim to accelerate the growth of its "non-Windows business" and ride Android's rise in smartphones and tablets, which could, along with its Chromebook, make up 10 to 12 percent of Acer's revenue by the end of the year and up to 30 percent by 2014.

"We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible," Acer president Jim Wang told investors in a conference call on Thursday.

Acer's Chromebook currently makes up three percent of its overall notebook sales, but it hopes to grow that to five percent.

Android so far has not been good news for the world's fourth-largest PC maker, whose first quarter shipments saw a 30 percent year on year decline, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Acer posted a second quarter net loss of NT$343m ($20.35m) off NT$89.38bn ($2.97bn) in revenue, down 19.2 percent year on year.

The overriding theme of Acer executives' thoughts on the state of the PC market was that consumers are baffled by the emergence of three major smartphone and tablet ecosystems.

Acer chairman JT Wang said he still believed the PC is "the best IT device for productivity", but the "Windows camp has to do something to reinforce the confidence of PC users".

"Alternatives still cannot replace the PC," Wang said. "However, at today's stage, the user feels very puzzled. They need some convincing reason so that they will start to buy the real PC again."  

He said that the emergence of Android, iOS and Windows on mobile was a "big confusion" to consumers that was made worse by the death of Steve Jobs.

"So the consumer don't know how to choose in whom they have to listen to after Steve Jobs passed away. So it seems to me a very dynamic and confusion period of market change."

Topics: Hardware, Smartphones, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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36 comments
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  • In other words -

    While people buy Lenovo and Dell Windows Pc's, nobody really thinks "Acer" when it comes to PC's

    Sounds like a last ditch effort, IMHO, as their Android sales have dropped faster then their Windows sales.

    It sounds like his own company is puzzling to him, as Lenovo seems to be doing well.
    William Farrel
    • Re: their Android sales have dropped faster then their Windows sales.

      Their Android sales have tripled over the past year.
      ldo17
      • Well I guess

        if they cant make a decent Windows machine best stick to Android & Chrome. Crappy hardware deserves crappy OS.
        Xenon8
        • They can't make a decent windoze machine...

          ...because windoze isn't decent. It comes from slapping a proprietary tool on there.
          CaviarRed
          • Windoze isn't decent

            But Windows is fantastic. Put Windows 8 on a touch-enabled machine and man, is that one sweet OS.
            x I'm tc
      • More lies

        from our resident Android bigot
        BruinB88
        • Android Bone head

          you mean. Only when the lunch rush is over at McDonalds so you see him...
          ScanBack
      • I guess my English needs work

        "Android so far has not been good news for the world's fourth-largest PC maker, whose first quarter shipments saw a "30 percent year on year decline".

        I always assumed that "decline" meant going down, not up. Going up would be called an "incline", right?
        William Farrel
        • More than English, Willie

          Have you considered your head needing work as well?

          lol...
          CaviarRed
          • Well, if it isn't our favorite wanna bee...

            what color are you this week? I think you'd look good in chartreuse, sort of green with envy aren't you.
            wizard57m-cnet
          • Why? I'm not the envious one here

            Sorry CaviarRedInTheFace, what I said is true, and it seem the only thing you know how to do is insult.

            Not surprising, given your young age.

            And to think you feel OTHER people need their heads examined - LOL! :)
            William Farrel
          • I'm convinced you definitely need your head examined

            since you keep straying off topic and get flustered all the time.
            CaviarRed
      • 30% Decline yeah they have tripled -

        downward ...
        ScanBack
    • Nope...

      People aren't buying Lenovo and Dell's in the quantities that they used to, I think we are truly beginning to see the end of Windows. Yes, it will take some time, but as bandwidth continues to drop in price, we will see more and more software simply being run through a web browser, to the point where it will not matter what OS a person is using anymore.
      cmwade1977
    • Lenovo

      Like I mentioned a while ago: never compare any business with one backed by the Chinese Government. You might be in for great surprise.
      danbi
  • Acer still being Acer

    Acer makes low quality devices, poor drivers with bad design choices. On top of that they are not even price competitive against better devices.

    Until Acer can fix those problems, they really have no reason to blame anyone else for their position.
    Emacho
    • I was pretty happy overall with the Acer Iconia A500 I bought a few years

      ago as far as features and build quality. What I WASN'T happy with was the fact that although I got the upgrade to ICS, I did not get a follow on upgrade to Jellybean (even though next gen A500s did get the upgrade to Jellybean). I had my device less than a year and got no more updates. Not buying another Acer Tablet (not due to build quality or lack of features, but due to lack of what I consider long term support).
      jkohut
  • Acer should go a little further

    by offering either OS-less machines or loaded with the alternative and free OS's, like Linux Mint, or both. Those choices might attract more customers.
    Oops, yeah, just forgot that Acer's NDA with Microsoft for x86 based machines is still in effect.
    eulampius
    • RE: Acer should go a little further

      I agree with the OS-less offering or a Linux/BSD solution but please not Mint... I just had to strip it off two machines one a new Lenovo and the other an older Acer. There is something about Mint that's randomly freezing them. Ubuntu 12.4 LTS seems to be rock solid on them.

      With the ablity to customize so well they could make their system run more like what people apparently want.. A desktop like experience on their PC's and Laptops! Hell there are Linux distros out there made to mimic the look and feel of Win XP & 7. The last decent versions of Windows people actually LIKED.
      devlin_X
      • Re: Linux

        Does any distro have a sticky-key option that shows which modifier key is activated, the way XP & OS X do?
        IanRoy