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

The 'Windows camp' needs to give consumers a reason to purchase real PCs again, according to Acer.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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."

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