Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

Summary: Microsoft is placing 'troublesome' restrictions on OEMs manufacturing the next-generation Windows-based tablets, according to Acer CEO J.T. Wang.

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Microsoft is placing 'troublesome' restrictions on OEMs manufacturing the next-generation Windows-based tablets, according to Acer CEO J.T. Wang.

Speaking at Computex trade show in Taipei, Wang had this to say:

'They're really controlling the whole thing, the whole process ... all feel it's very troublesome.'

It's hard to know whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing for consumers. It really depends what's behind the restrictions. If it's about giving users a consistent experience and keeping quality up, and also preventing platform fragmentation (and the associated problems that might cause with updates) then that's a good thing.

However, if the restrictions are designed to hobble tablets to prevent them cannibalizing Windows PC sales (something we've seen Microsoft do to netbooks), then that's definitely not good for consumers.

We'll have to wait and see how this plays out, but it's odd for an OEM to pull Microsoft up publicly like this.

[UPDATE: It's not the first time that Acer has publicly pulled up Microsoft - here's one example - a story by PC Pro's Jon Honeyball from 2006 where Wong complains about the poor value for money offered by Vista Home Basic.

Thanks Jon!]

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets

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44 comments
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  • Can we get more details on what is troublesome?

    OK, what is troublesome?
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @facebook@... No more details ... unfortunately.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • The details: Microsoft, for once, does not allow Acer (etc) to make garbage

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: ... with its tablet OS.

        It is the same as with Windows phones. Acer just did not used to it since the company does not produce phones.

        Microsoft's approach copies Apple, yes, and it does not work perfectly every way (Samsung made trash of update experience for Windows phones), but, overall, it promises more consistent quality and user experience; lets see.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @facebook@... Probably that they require OEM's to actually step up to the plate and commit to fixing issues within specified timescales, document their manufacturing processes and actually build hardware conforming to stringent power and performance criteria.

      In other words, MS may well be asking OEM's to do some real work ;)
      bitcrazed
    • Yet another useless fluff piece

      @facebook@... Adrian's specialty - light on everything except a sensational clickbait headline - hopefully he gets paid in Cracker Jacks because that's all his articles are worth
      archangel9999
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @facebook@...

      Probably similar to what they did with phones: minimum specs, certain form-factor rules, etc.

      Acer, being the world's purveyor of the ultra-cheap, may be having trouble sourcing the parts that they need through their standard channels.
      SlithyTove
    • That the main problem...

      @facebook@... : these companies have massive Non Disclosure Agreements with Microsoft, so they can't complain with specifics, but to me, the real reason is driver support for Windows 8 "tablets/slates", I think the development team hasn't had the time to port "everything", so Microsoft—as always arguing for a supposed consistency of the UX/UI—is tightly controlling what goes inside and outside the systems, such as "touch-points", "ports", "form-factor", "radio (3G/4G) chips", "WiFi spec", etc.

      So don't expect this babies to shine, considering they will compete against iPad 3 and Xoom 2.
      cosuna
  • Message has been deleted.

    LoverockDavidson
    • Talking through your hat again?

      @LoverockDavidson

      How the heck do you know how "everyone else" feels about it. You just flap your jaws as usual.
      Economister
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @LoverockDavidson - Let's find out what the restrictions are before we come to that conclusion, K?
      babyboomer57
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @LoverockDavidson

      Acer was right about Vista sucking. They are probably right about this too.
      josh92
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      Microsoft's hardware rules are very troublesome for Acer. Everyone else has no problems with it. Besides, its good for the developers and for the consumers.
      LoverockDavidson
  • Apple does it Google is doing it with Android

    Microsoft has set a standard with Windows Phone devices, in terms of screen size, hardware features, just make it much easier for consumers to find them attractive and make developer lives easier when targeting these devices. Microsoft is carrying that over to the Tablet. That's an advantage Apple has with the iPad, consistent UI not recoding necessary unless your targeting both iPhone and iPad in which cases its probably minor adjustments. Microsoft has to contend with major and not so major OEM's running the OS on a variety of configurations. Microsoft wants to avoid the fragmentation, Google realized this and they are trying to fix it with HoneyComb.

    Part of Acer's reason why they are complaining is because they were one of the Asian OEM's that were not selected by Microsoft to take part in the early development testing of Windows 8. So they are seeking revenge by bad mouthing.
    Mr. Dee
    • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

      @Mr. Dee Well I agree with what you say about WHY it's happening, but not with your assessment of Acer's reaction.

      You are right, Microsoft see Apple's experience with the iPad (and to a lesser extent the Mac) as something it would really like. Microsoft have to work really hard trying to make an OS that runs of a whole gambit of differing devices. Yes, this is hard.

      But if you look at it from an OEM perspective things aren't so rosy. Apple make the iPad, there are no OEMs to keep happy. Microsoft need the OEMs to make their devices, the question becomes: "if I can't change things about the device I'm making, how do I differentiate my device in the market?" The OEMs have been used to making machines of all different specifications and convincing customers to buy their system because of these differences. If all machines are the same (or basically the same) won't customers choose the cheapest? Isn't that a "race to the bottom"? The OEMs have already done this, they don't want another round of it. Sure Microsoft want to raise the standard and eliminate the shovelware on new systems. Fine say the OEMs, but who's going to pay for it, and where do our profits come from?

      These are going to be difficult questions to answer.
      jeremychappell
      • RE: Acer: Microsoft hardware rules 'very troublesome'

        @jeremychappell - You are absolutely correct.

        It's kind of like NASCAR now where all the cars are identicle except for the paint. Imagine if that were true for all cars. Why would we need more than one manufacturer?
        babyboomer57
      • There are still opportunities

        @jeremychappell OEM's have an opportunity to innovate in different areas, whether its targeting certain segments of the market: business, consumer, education, student, colors, hardware features whether better graphics, lots of storage, memory, types of material used, high resolution camera, telephony, plastic vs aluminum, ultra thin vs standard, high resolution vs standard resolution, software bundles, online services, maintenance programs, partnering to offer value beyond the box. OEM's have a lot they can do. The possibilities are endless for what OEM's can do.

        Its possible what Microsoft wants is, to just make the UI be what it is without any custom alternate UI like Android. Acer is probably saying, we have an alternate UI we believe is better than the Touch UI in Windows 8. Microsoft is probably not revealing much right now just build momentum. I believe Microsoft wants the software user experience to sell itself, yes, there can be some branding, but limited to what Microsoft wants.
        Mr. Dee
      • PC makers faced the same problem in the 90s

        @ jeremychappell

        You don't need to look at Apple to understand Microsoft's approach. Microsoft's conquest of the PC market in the 90s was based on requiring hardware vendors to conform to fairly strict guidelines in order to be allowed to sell Windows on their systems. This was one of the things PC vendors complained about in the USDoJ v Microsoft lawsuit (and one of the reasons Microsoft lost, since by the end of the decade Windows was clearly and overwhelmingly dominant).

        As much as some of the PC vendors complained about Microsoft's control of Windows in the 90s, including their use of price discrimination to reward vendors who promoted the Windows platform and punish those who didn't, I'd imagine many of them would be quite happy to exchange their current margins for 1990s margins. In order to be successful, a platform arguably needs some degree of consistency across systems, which requires a leading firm to exercise control.
        WilErz
      • 90s was based on...

        @WilErz - Revisionist! Microsoft didn't give a hoot about WHAT hardware was in the box - they demanded a payment per box, regardless of whether or not Windows went with it. THAT's what the 90's were about. Visit Groklaw.net for a history review.

        -Mike
        SpikeyMike
      • 90s was based on...

        @WilErz - Revisionist! Microsoft didn't give a hoot about WHAT hardware was in the box - they demanded a payment per box, regardless of whether or not Windows went with it. THAT's what the 90's were about. Visit Groklaw.net for a history review.

        -Mike
        SpikeyMike
  • Message has been deleted.

    Economister