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

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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.

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