Microsoft's Surface strategy may force us to find another platform, says Acer

The manufacturer has warned that it and its rivals may need to look for an alternative platform to Windows if Microsoft seriously delves into the hardware business
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Acer head JT Wang has urged Microsoft to reconsider releasing its own Surface hardware, warning that the move will be bad for manufacturers such as Acer.

Wang became the first chief of a PC manufacturer to criticise Microsoft's move, when he told the Financial Times on Monday that Surface risked eliciting a negative reaction from the Windows firm's established hardware ecosystem. The intervention came days after Microsoft itself warned of precisely the same thing, in a regulatory filing.

Surface tablet
Acer has warned that Microsoft's Surface tablet may cause it to rethink its strategy. Image credit: CNET News

"We have said think it over," Wang was quoted as saying. "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."

Surface is an evolution of the Windows PC, but also Microsoft's big hope in rivalling the iPad and Android tablets — devices that are beginning to supersede laptops for some users, albeit currently a relatively small number.

Wang's resolve may have been stiffened by a recent Microsoft blog post that described Surface as Microsoft's "new family of PCs" — previously, it was just one device that could arguably have been interpreted as a move to stimulate manufacturers to improve their own Windows tablet designs.

In the same piece, the FT quoted Acer's global PC operation chief Campbell Kan as saying Acer was debating whether to "find other alternatives" to Windows, if Microsoft was really making a serious move into the hardware industry.

The first Surface tablet — or rather, two tablets, as one will use ARM architecture and the other Intel x86 — will be released alongside Windows 8 on 26 October.

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