Acer's advice to Microsoft over the Surface tablet: don't do it!

Acer's advice to Microsoft over the Surface tablet: don't do it!The tablet market isn't the most forgiving of places – it certainly doesn't have much respect for reputations, as both HP and RIM will attest to name just two examples.

So why would Microsoft, with next to zero hardware experience beyond peripherals, decide now's the time to get involved with the Windows 8-powered Surface? Acer boss JT Wang for one certainly doesn't know.

In fact, in an interview with the FT (subscription-only), Wang suggests the move is a massive mistake, not just in terms of Microsoft's chances of success, but also in how it will affect its relations with existing hardware partners in both the tablet and PC spheres.

“We have said think it over. Think twice,” Wang is quoted as saying. “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.”

Ouch.

The argument in favour of the Surface is that it should serve as a clarion call to Microsoft's Windows 8 partners, existing as a kind of best-of-breed templates to show them – and the buying public – what the platform is capable.

But it does seem there's the possibility of a no-win situation here: if the Surface is rubbish, Microsoft and Windows 8 will look bad (which in turn will make Windows 8 OEMs look bad). If it's good, they'll simply lose sales.

Yes, there's the Nexus example over at Google, but that's a (moderately) successful idea mainly because it has been executed from Android's position of strength. The Nexus S, for instance, doesn't seem to have hurt Samsung's smartphone sales too badly. Especially since it actually makes it, but that's not the point.

Is Microsoft being stupid here? Brave? Brilliant? We all have our opinions – and feel free to share yours below. But when the world's biggest PC maker tells you to think twice, it might be worth listening to.

Via TechRadar

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8 comments

Nealio  Aug. 7, 2012 at 20:37

You don't need an FT subscription to read the article... just google "Acer chief takes aim at Microsoft Surface", click FT link.

Works for all FT stories if you know the headline, btw.

blizzard7  Aug. 8, 2012 at 08:56

OEMs needed a kick up the backside. For far too long they've been releasing the same uninspired drivel over and over again. Microsoft Surface doesn't do anything special, nor do I think the price points it'll hit will be very competitive, but as a whole package, I don't think it can be beat in the PC sector... Not from anything I've seen.

I personally can't wait to swap my Macbook Pro for a Surface Pro!

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 8, 2012 at 10:11

OEMs needed a kick up the backside. For far too long they've been releasing the same uninspired drivel over and over again. Microsoft Surface doesn't do anything special, nor do I think the price points it'll hit will be very competitive, but as a whole package, I don't think it can be beat in the PC sector... Not from anything I've seen.

I personally can't wait to swap my Macbook Pro for a Surface Pro!


There is some truth in that. The problem is, that OEMs got away "with selling drivel", partly because of Microsoft. Microsoft created a world all for Microsoft. Giving computers to schools, libraries, colleges and universities, they bred a generation (-s) that used "PC" like "Kleenex"... A brand goes generic. Computer means Microsoft.
At the same time, you have everyone telling everyone else they need a computer. Their lives and the lives of their unborn depend on it... That means "affordable" make it cheap, no matter how. Don't forget: it was Microsoft with the help of Gartners who created the "Vista Ready" army of underpowered PCs...by sticking a shiny 3D sticker on old machines - thereby tarnishing reputations left and right.
Prices for PCs are now so that they are in supermarkets. Profit made only from deals with bloatware vendors.

To judge this correctly, you need to drop the geek hat for a while. The majority, the vast majority of consumers buy their tech not like you or James or matt would go about buying...

And if the choice is between buying a better - more expensive - computer or paying for
the latest version of Windows, they will rather upgrade, cause, heck, their machine is "Vista Ready", and MS say their lives depends on the latest OS...

Smartphones have had a huge impact. As have tablets. And to me it seems MS don't quite understand how to play it. Remember: Vista or 7 Premium or Pro sold for hundreds of bucks. Now we learn Win 8 will be more in the tens of dollars region. How very "Mac"...
Is that the spirit of philanthropist Bill? Nope. I firmly believe they smell the coffee, but they still think it's weird tea.
People now update firmwares. It's frontpage news, when only 5 years ago only the geekiest of geeks bothered installing that Nokia PC suite, and firmware sounded like Weight Watchers...

Anyhoo... I lost my point.
Ah, yes - OEMs and drivel...
Microsoft are not innocent in that. In fact they are guilty. And they know it. They just don't know how to correct it. Look at the Nokia-MS marriage of inconvenience.
People always focus on the Nokia side. But consider MS for a moment.
Even a year after the first iPhone, the vast vast vast majority of Touchscreen Smartphones in the world ran WinMo! A clunky OS, even then. But an OS that mostly got the job done.
And what do MS do to counter the iOffensive? They drop "what got the job done" with WinMo, and replace it with a dumb xBox Live phone. I'm not judging WP7 here. Don't get me wrong. But for WinMo users - professionals or not - WP7 didn't replace WinMo. It killed it. Initially, at least, there was no way a business could exchange WinMo with WP! The email client, the lack of multitasking etc etc etc....
That was MS's N97 moment... They already had a bit of that when they forgot to include Active Sync in Vista, yes. But WP was a gamble. In a game MS seems to know little about.

There's always a first step. And Smartphones have changed many people's attitudes.
A lot of browsing now happens on mobile devices. A lot of social networking. A lot of record keeping etc etc... And MS is losing every time a doctor makes a record on an iPad.
ALL major US schoolbook publishers signed up with Apple. Heck, some Irish schools ditched books for iPads and Kindles. Not for netbooks running Win 7! 15 years ago every kid on the planet was conditioned to use MS products. Now they realise there are alternatives. Less clunky alternatives. Microsoft know that, too. And they are desperate to prove it. (hey, how many free Lumias did they throw about?)

So, yes, OEMs have sold drivel, but are they unreasonable to dismiss MS as a reliable source of inspiration? Ultra-portables, Vista, Zune, Kin, WP7... Special deals for Nokia?

blizzard7  Aug. 8, 2012 at 12:29

Crikey, that's a huge wall of text.


Even a year after the first iPhone, the vast vast vast majority of Touchscreen Smartphones in the world ran WinMo! A clunky OS, even then. But an OS that mostly got the job done.
And what do MS do to counter the iOffensive? They drop "what got the job done" with WinMo, and replace it with a dumb xBox Live phone. I'm not judging WP7 here. Don't get me wrong. But for WinMo users - professionals or not - WP7 didn't replace WinMo. It killed it. Initially, at least, there was no way a business could exchange WinMo with WP! The email client, the lack of multitasking etc etc etc....


No amount of updating would've saved WinMo. The foundation of WinMo was too old school. You may not like WP7, but like it or not, it was their only option. Even then, they executed it far too late. Most "professionals" use iPhones, so I don't think sticking to WinMo or releasing a Windows Vista/7-esque replacement would've fixed the problem.


ALL major US schoolbook publishers signed up with Apple. Heck, some Irish schools ditched books for iPads and Kindles. Not for netbooks running Win 7! 15 years ago every kid on the planet was conditioned to use MS products. Now they realise there are alternatives.


Not quite sure what you're getting at here. Windows 7 does not compete in the tablet marketplace. You can't (easily) read a book on a netbook, because it isn't designed for reading. Netbooks are not tablets.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 8, 2012 at 14:54

Not quite sure what you're getting at here. Windows 7 does not compete in the tablet marketplace. You can't (easily) read a book on a netbook, because it isn't designed for reading. Netbooks are not tablets
Ahem... THAT is what I'm getting at! Big big catch up.

As to WinMo - the HD2 was the first WinMo device (TG01 aside) to make use of modern hardware. And it mostly worked. They could have build on it. And even if NOT...they stripped EVERYTHING of WinMo that worked. Everything that had compensated for cr*p hardware. WinMo had one of the best email clients. Not pretty, and bizarrely ridiculous with Live/Hotmail...but otherwise better than most of today's email clients. It multitasked; it copy/pasted; it had mass storage etc etc AND: it started the ROM cooking, tweak and hack community. Without WinMo it is doubtful there'd be the kind of Android mod community we see flourishing.
And MS ditched all of the positives. And launched WP7! Yes, WP has improved, and yes, Apollo seems to be going in the right direction...
BUT they lost vital time.
WebOS was too late to save Palm. It is doubtful if BB 10 can save RIM. Those two haven't a fraction of MS's resources. And still...nearly 2 years of WP now. Apple didn't have a winmo background. They didn't have a dozen of OEMs with decades of mobile experience between them! Yet, two years in the iPhone was the one to beat.
Don't get me wrong, please. I'm not judging WP. For many it may well be the ideal choice.
And Apple are far from flawless. But facts are facts.

I see nothing that Microsoft have done in the last 10 years*** that tells me: yeah, they can become 'cool'...'hip'...'killers'!
To me they are trendsetters that fell for their own hype. Too big to fail. Oh, wait, 2008 put an end to that.

*** correct me.
(and yes, maybe there are people who genuinely find their WP device cool. Perfect. Whatever. I'm not trying to dissuade them. Hey, I loved my Pre 3. I'm happy with the N9 despite shortcomings en masse. That's not the same as having a hit, though.)

blizzard7  Aug. 8, 2012 at 16:18


As to WinMo - the HD2 was the first WinMo device (TG01 aside) to make use of modern hardware. And it mostly worked. They could have build on it. And even if NOT...they stripped EVERYTHING of WinMo that worked. Everything that had compensated for cr*p hardware. WinMo had one of the best email clients. Not pretty, and bizarrely ridiculous with Live/Hotmail...but otherwise better than most of today's email clients. It multitasked; it copy/pasted; it had mass storage etc etc AND: it started the ROM cooking, tweak and hack community.


I'll just leave this quote here:

To judge this correctly, you need to drop the geek hat for a while.

The average consumer doesn't give a crap about mass storage or a decent email client etc., the iPhone proved that. They needed something to compete with the iPhone and Android and WinMo was not it.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 8, 2012 at 16:39


As to WinMo - the HD2 was the first WinMo device (TG01 aside) to make use of modern hardware. And it mostly worked. They could have build on it. And even if NOT...they stripped EVERYTHING of WinMo that worked. Everything that had compensated for cr*p hardware. WinMo had one of the best email clients. Not pretty, and bizarrely ridiculous with Live/Hotmail...but otherwise better than most of today's email clients. It multitasked; it copy/pasted; it had mass storage etc etc AND: it started the ROM cooking, tweak and hack community.


I'll just leave this quote here:

To judge this correctly, you need to drop the geek hat for a while.

The average consumer doesn't give a crap about mass storage or a decent email client etc., the iPhone proved that. They needed something to compete with the iPhone and Android and WinMo was not it.


Touche... Although... I am not saying bring back WinMo. What I am saying is: it seems they didn't ask a single WinMo user when they designed WP7! They seem to have not looked at what they had. Instead they went for the iPhone 2G for inspiration.
Also, I don't believe the average consumer doesn't want mass storage! And I believe most people would like to type a google search in landscape, and attach more than one photo to an email. My better half is fairly anti-smartphone. She can code, and cook a wicked slipstreamed Windows. But for her a phone is something you just use unwillingly hahaha Anyhoo, she usually uses what I bring along cause she cannot be ar*ed to buy a phone. She couldn't believe the HD7 was anything but an unfinished prototype when I showed it to her.

Dito my ungeeky colleagues in my offline life. They all know mass storage. And though it's not something they ask about when picking an upgrade, they are always baffled when they have a new phone that cannot be used like a memory stick.

But true: the iPhone 2G was a hit. But it got plenty of heat for its shortcomings and locked-down-ness. And WP (when first launched) went even further.

What I think 'most people' won't give a 'crap' about is having a tablet that comes with the whole kitchensink.
Mention the high price of the Surface and people say: yeah, but it's got a proper OS.
I genuinely don't think that'll be a big persuader.
But maybe it's just me? Time will tell. On a touch tablet of limited size I prefer light apps that do one or 2 things well... a la iPad or some Android apps. I cannot see myself using full Photoshop or Corel or Office or Magix Music or the Gimp on a 10 inch tablet. And I tried.
People I know who use netbooks tell me they hate it, too.

But hey... I am looking forward to the launch. I am actually curious to see how it pans out.
Maybe I'm wrong.

blizzard7  Aug. 8, 2012 at 18:56


Touche... Although... I am not saying bring back WinMo. What I am saying is: it seems they didn't ask a single WinMo user when they designed WP7! They seem to have not looked at what they had. Instead they went for the iPhone 2G for inspiration.
Also, I don't believe the average consumer doesn't want mass storage... [snip] They all know mass storage. And though it's not something they ask about when picking an upgrade, they are always baffled when they have a new phone that cannot be used like a memory stick.

But true: the iPhone 2G was a hit. But it got plenty of heat for its shortcomings and locked-down-ness. And WP (when first launched) went even further.


I agree, the average consumer does want mass storage, but it's not a deal-breaker. If hundreds of millions are willing to be locked into iTunes *shudder*, then I don't think Microsoft shot themselves in the foot by not including it on WP7. WinMo definitely had some really neat features, hell I considered buying an HD Mini alongside my HTC Desire, but I still maintain MS's only option was starting from scratch.


What I think 'most people' won't give a 'crap' about is having a tablet that comes with the whole kitchensink.
Mention the high price of the Surface and people say: yeah, but it's got a proper OS.
I genuinely don't think that'll be a big persuader.
But maybe it's just me? Time will tell. On a touch tablet of limited size I prefer light apps that do one or 2 things well... a la iPad or some Android apps. I cannot see myself using full Photoshop or Corel or Office or Magix Music or the Gimp on a 10 inch tablet. And I tried.
People I know who use netbooks tell me they hate it, too.


On price: Well I think that's the point of the Surface RT. If it can hit $600/ £450 for the 32 GB model (i.e what the 32 GB iPad costs), then I think they've got a real chance of causing some disruption.

As for the Surface Pro, I personally can't wait. I can browse on the sofa, slap on the touch cover while I'm out, then dual-screen it via Displayport to my 27" monitor and plug in a USB disc drive (yes Apple, some of us still use those) and/or a full keyboard and mouse, and basically use it as a desktop when I really need to buckle down. Gadget consolidation heaven! :)

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