Acer's definition of Windows 8 failure: Is it fair?

Acer's definition of Windows 8 failure: Is it fair?

Summary: Acer CEO says Windows 8 didn't ignite PC market growth so it's not successful. Perhaps the PC market has changed permanently and it's a strategic error to bet on Windows home runs going forward.


Acer CEO Jim Wong said that Google Chrome-based PCs are 5 percent to 10 percent of the PC maker's U.S. shipments and "Windows 8 itself is still not successful," according to a Bloomberg report. The key here is defining what makes success for Windows 8.

Bloomberg noted Wong's definition of Windows 8 success is based on the OS lifting up the entire PC market. The whole market didn't grow so that was a simple way to judge success.

Is that definition of success fair?

Also see: Microsoft's lack of Surface disclosure spurs unit guessing game


The question is worth asking given the PC market has changed. Tablets are in. PCs are out. That dynamic may never change. In other words, Windows 8 is the first Microsoft OS to launch in the new world order. Not surprisingly, Windows 8's interface is designed for touch and work on tablets and PCs (smartphones too).

Overall, Wong's answer may shed more light on Acer's view than Microsoft's software perch. To wit:

  • Acer stayed with the netbook gravy train too long.
  • Just wrote down NT$3.5 billion to account for the declining value of Gateway, Packard Bell and eMachines, three acquisitions to allow Acer to scale (in what turned out to be the wrong market).
  • And Acer hasn't quite nailed the tablet market and remains PC centric.

Add it up and one can conclude that Acer is still hoping for Microsoft Windows home runs to keep its business humming. Instead, Acer---like many PC makers---missed the curve. To thrive in a post PC market, Acer is going to have to become more than a strong Microsoft partner akin to Lenovo, which worked a strategy to grow emerging markets and protect mature ones whether Windows was dominant or not.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Acer is failure in both Windows and Android worlds.

    I am yet to see good Acer Tablets using Android and except few Windows PCs (Gateway brand) their PC offerings are pathetic too. They should learn from Asustek and Samsung. Both came into market after Acer and are doing good.
    Ram U
    • This is the classic blame game

      Acer is blaming Microsoft for its own failures. They have always lacked the quality you find in an HP, Lenovo or Samsung product. Don't hate the player Acer...hate the game.
      • I have to agree

        Acer has not had good quality machines for years. And buying the others did not improve that image.
        • Commodity quality

          I bought a couple very inexpensive Acer laptops late last year and they are fine - an excellent value and decent machines - better than expected as they used to make some crappy stuff.

          Creating tablets and such is going to require some effort on their part.
          Schoolboy Bob
        • I bought a W700 hybrid...

          ...and it's an excellent tablet/laptop. However, it was always out of stock everywhere. I got "lucky" finding one in Frys - where it was not even on display! Bought their last one in SoCal.

          There was no marketing behind it at all. It's a wonderful tablet with i5, 4G Ram, 128GB SSD, full Windows 8, case/dock/keyboard included, but they just dropped the ball on letting people know it was out there.

          It's not Windows 8 that is the problem. If you rely on price alone to sell hardware, you are going to lose. Explaining why $800-$1000 is a good price on a tablet that also replaces your desktop/laptop takes a little salesmanship - and of course a little stock doesn't hurt!
        • My Acer

          ... had a factory defect that I had to send back to get repaired at my own expense (shipping/handling/etc).

          I'll never buy an acer again. No matter what operating system is on it.
          • Acer Aspire

            Acer was once a decent PC as a whole however the lack of support to fix (recover) an old model Acer Aspire 5515 leaving me with a Laptop not working and no way that I can find to get recovery disk to get it fixed is perhaps part of the customers not buying another Acer of any kind.
          • Acer Aspire

            I bought an acer aspire about a couple of years ago. Since windows deteriorate after time, at one time, the installation become unusable.

            I tried to restore the recovery partition but the recovery just didn't work. No error, just said that cannot reinstall the image.

            Finally, I installed ChromeOS on that machine. Gives me an exposure to a potential new PC of mine which could be a chrome-book but definitely not an Acer. Losers of the deal. Acer and Microsoft.
        • Whining is not a winning strategy...

          Memo to Acer: Whining is not a winning strategy...
          • What evidence is there that Acer is merely whining?

            Based on sales figures, W8 has not been a success even given that it is being sold at a fraction of the price of Vista when that was initially released. Surface and Windows RT has not been a success - and for that MS was in charge of hardware and software. Seems to me that there is ample evidence that Acer is being critical, but not unreasonably critical. The evidence supports Acer, not MS.
          • What will happen in a couple of days?

            To date, W8 has been sold at a discounted price and yet it has still sold less than the Vista over a similar period. In a couple of days, the cost of W8 will massively increase. If W8 cannot be sold in decent quantities at a discounted price, that does not bode well for it when the price soon increases. We'll see, soon after that, if Acer is right or not!
          • Acer is whining too

            I am not going to say that Win 8 is good. I have a win 8 laptop that i gave to my brother. When I bought my laptop that came with Vista, I decided that I will not buy a Windows laptop again. Used Windows 8 for a day and am still firm on my decision.

            Still, it doesn't hide the fact that Acer's machines are horrible. I have used one netbook of Acer. In one year, it had all troubles possible like the wireless conking off, issues with charger and in less than 2 years, the battery doesn't hold charge. I have a 6 year old Toshiba whose original battery still gives me more than an hour of charge.

            Windows 8 is just one part of the problem, Acer need to look inside too.
      • So?

        MS blames everyone but themselves.

        Rightly or wrongly, Acer has its own vision... It is just as possible that theirs will end up the correct one, and MS has the wrong one.
        • Acer have been

          selling crap hardware for years. They are one of the reasons that PC's running Windows have a bad rep.
          • So what - MS has been selling crap for decades

            Its no wonder PC's running windows have a bad rap.
      • HP and quality don't always go together.

        I have been an HP customer in the past, and the only thing I would purchase from them now is a printer. The Laptops I had all suffered from failures within 12 months and judging by the forums, I am not the only one.

        Their customer service also leaves a lot to be desired. So ever since the Compaq purchase i would have to say, they lost focus.
        • 1.5 years here...

          and then a black screen and flashing lights (mobo failure) Hp sucks too. Agreed.
        • HP make some of the WORST laptops

          Indeed, HP makes some of the worst laptop computers. Possibly THE worst when it comes to lack of longevity and premature failure. Square Trade statitics bear this out. Basically, HP laptops are total garbage in my opinion.
          Asok Smith
        • Ran owner/operater repair company for 5 years

          1. All the parts come from the same manufactures
          2. The big boys HP, Acer, etc. had motherboards branded from various places: intel, asus and others
          3. Over all, except for when they have an issue with some branded part, they were about the same quality as one you might build yourself from ordered parts. They had an advantage because they would engineer a model and make ++ of them. You engineer a system and build one or two. I have built maybe 200 custom systems and you get all sort of reject parts and have to really be up on the specs to avoid compatibility issues. IE just because a nivida Vid card is supposed to work with an AMD chip set doesn't mean it will work right.
          4. Got out of the biz and went to developement because I sure saw this comming. Back in the day I had a commodor 64+ that had a epromed word processor, and spread sheet. Because they were burned in the programs always ran correctly. Did capicity planning for a $200k/mo shop on it. I was very aware that since OSes already do what 99.9% of what everybody wnats, that burning one in premanent would prevent a ton of issues. Then with SSD's... You get the point.
          5. Levono put out some better quality parts on the hardware side. The others were a you pick them at that time.

          The glory days for OS makers and hardware/ unit makes are over. Probably going to lose a few more players before supply matches demand.
        • HP and quality don't always go together

          I can certainly say from experience that HP has made some bad decisions on the architecture of their PCs. To the point where I would never purchase a laptop, tablet or desktop from them. Their printers are holding on, but only by HP's fingertips.
          But...HP market the best calculators on the planet. Their only rival is Texas Instruments.