Acer CEO warns Microsoft to ‘think twice’ about Surface

Microsoft knew it would be stepping on the toes of its partners when it announced plans to make the Surface tablet computer — competing with Windows 8 tablets from the major PC makers. And now we have some public evidence of one of those partners feeling bruised.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the chairman and CEO of Acer, JT Wang, warns that the move will be a “negative for the worldwide ecosystem” of computing. He says Acer has told Microsoft to think twice about what it’s doing.

“It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction,” the paper quotes him as saying. “It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”

Microsoft acknowledged in a recent regulatory filing that its Surface tablet lineup “will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” The company, which will start by selling Surface solely in its own retail and online stores, has said it wants to create a showcase device for Windows 8 as the operating system hits the market.

Surface is part of a broader effort by Microsoft to compete with the iPad and Android tablets. The company has never before developed its own full-fledged computer. It’s widely viewed as a case of Microsoft taking matters into its own hands after Windows tablets from its partners haven’t caught on.

The big question is what the PC makers would do if they decided to pare back or abandon Windows in their lineups. Android? Ubuntu Linux? It’s a difficult situation for them given the widespread usage of Windows, especially inside companies.

We’ve asked Microsoft for comment on Wang’s remarks, and we’ll update this post depending on what we hear back.

  • Lan

    This from a company that has lost the Tablet battle and has brought little if any innovation to the PC market.

    • guest

      Who exactly HAS been bringing innovation to the PC market? Dell? HP? Sony? Please.

      • Lan

        Intel, Visio, Razer… even HP and Sony have innovated more in the past few years than Acer. Acer’s biggest innovation came in the form of cheap netbooks and pushing an alternative to Windows with Chromebooks.

        • Lan

          ^should be Vizio, not visio.

        • Tessa

          And Asus was the real netbook pioneer, not Acer.

    • Guest

      I agree. Who is Acer to tell the world’s second-most profitable technology company what they shouldn’t be doing?

  • guest

    Well, this from a company that sends more than a $1B to Microsoft each year for who knows how many years already. So yeah, they are not happy but might have to vote with their wallets.

  • Mike

    Yeah, let’s listen to Acer. They have such inspiring designs and innovate hardware. If Acer or any of the other Windows OEMs had designed a product like Surface, Microsoft wouldn’t have had to do it themselves.

  • temmseee

    Sounds like a plan to me dude, I think this guy is on the ball. Seem like he knows what he is talking about !!

    Total-Privacy dot US

  • Alex Murphy

    Chrome OS

  • Guest

    So Acer can sell computers with other OS’s, but Microsoft cannot sell computers at all?
    Hypocrits…

    • guest

      Yeah, apparently they expect MS to do nothing while Acer works towards the day it can unbundle Windows completely.

  • Ok64

    Mr. Wang, as long as you make something actually better than Microsoft you have nothing to worry about. Or did you just announce than Acer can’t do that and that is why you are worried?

    • IsThisWifiOrganic?

      I’m afraid you hit the nail on the head. This makes me question Acer as a company, so whoever this man is he needs to be fired ASAP

  • Rob

    Headline whores! He says “please”, as in he does not “warn Microsoft”.

  • http://twitter.com/grzegorz_maj Grzegorz Maj

    Acer, don’t you think that by pricing Surface RT at 599$ MS can create price umbrella for you? because it will be easier to compare Acer tablet to Surface than Acer tablet to iPad.

  • bogopogo


    It’s widely viewed as a case of Microsoft taking matters into its own hands after Windows tablets from its partners haven’t caught on.”

    ummm – maybe that’s because people don’t want a full blown version on windows on a tablet? Maybe that’s because Microsoft – even with Windows 8 – still hasn’t created a true mobile/touch OS.

    Surface is really nothing more than an updated version of Tablet XP – which was cool – but not what most people are looking for.

    Then it was “netbooks” – again, which most people realized they didn’t want, because having to run a hobbled version of Vista or Windows 7 on a small underpowered platform wasn’t that great.

    Microsoft’s real problem is that they could create a metro like OS – an offshoot of whatever they’re running on their windows phones – but they won’t. They’re too married to the Windows OS – which is their cash cow.

    And so, as people have mentioned, Windows 8 doesn’t work particularly well as a desktop OS, and doesn’t exactly work as a touch/tablet OS. I think it’s going to be another “Vista” moment for Microsoft.

    • IsThisWifiOrganic?

      “Maybe that’s because Microsoft – even with Windows 8 – still hasn’t created a true mobile/touch OS.”

      As both an iOS and Windows developer I have used both longer than most of you and I can tell you with all confidence Windows 8 and Windows RT are ready for the mobile prime time. The only difference is in style, and damn does Windows 8 bring home the style in a way iOS never did.

      Now if you want to really rag on crap mobile OSes, go talk to Google.

  • Guest

    “It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”

    Based on what? Some of the MS hardware is actually very sound, and given how many Xbox’s are out there I would say that it’s becoming something that they are good at.

    Maybe Acer should be spending more time competing rather than pushing out budget hardware…

  • Mike

    And Acer does not make products for other OSs? Right Acer! They need to concentrate themselves on making a good product instead!

  • IsThisWifiOrganic?

    “It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”

    hahahahaha

    Microsoft’s Surface is not even out yet and even in pictures it looks 10x more awesome than anything that ever came out of Acer

    Take a reality pill or GTFO of the game, Acer
    h8z gonna h8 on Windows 8

  • guest

    Dear Acer: You’re a hypocrite. You embraced Android on tablets early on. You didn’t ask MS’s permission first. And you offer most of your machines with Windows because that’s what the majority of your customers still want. When and if that changes, you will waste no time switching. MS realizes that as well, which is why they’re taking this limited step towards some direct distribution.

    Wake up. The main threat facing both of you is Apple. So put your petty jealousies and threats aside and start innovating again.

  • guest

    This would be the same company that ships Android and was one of two launch partners for Chrome OS, right?

  • James

    Funny, considering the Surface looks to be everything I had hoped the Asus Transformer would be when I bought one. The Transformer is a great toy, but the Surface will be an amazing productivity tool.