Acer: Has Microsoft bitten off more than it can chew?

Acer has remarked that Microsoft needs to learn that the "hardware meal" is tough to eat.

Acer's Greater China president Lin Xianlang has said Microsoft needs to learn that hardware development should be left to professional vendors.

In a recent interview with Tencent Technology, Lin used the example that "hard rice" is not easy to eat -- in relation to Microsoft's attempt to create a tablet to compete against the firm's own original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and vendors.

Lin did mention that Windows 8 will change the competitive dynamics of the PC market, and will allow hardware maker Acer's prospects to rise next year. However, Windows 8 is unlikely to affect the firm's short-term earnings.

The comment about "hard rice" was meant to represent the differences between the software and hardware markets. Acer has severely opposed Microsoft's intentions to compete against its own vendors, but the high price and delivery issues of the Surface tablet may prove to be a dose of reality. Lin said that the hard lesson has to be learnt, or the production of hardware should be left to "professional vendors."

Acer has been one of the most vocal firms expressing their discontent at Microsoft's attempt to enter the hardware market, and Lin's comments reflect those of Acer CEO JT Wang who said that Microsoft should "think twice" about entering the hardware market, as it could have a negative impact on the ecosystem:

"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."

A major OEM partner, Acer is reported to be holding off on its own brand of Windows RT tablets until Q2 2013. Considering the rather vocal opposition to Microsoft's current research and hardware exploits, its no wonder.

Lin also stated that Acer has no plans to withdraw from the smartphone market, and handset shipments are expected to reach several million next year. The firm is not planning a huge research push in the smartphone sector due to high costs, and the hardware maker will be moving "cautiously".

Acer reported marginal net profit in Q2 despite weak PC demand and strong competition from rivals including Apple and Lenovo.


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