If Acer were involved in a romantic break up, it would be saying, "Sorry, I need to see other people, too." But Taiwan-based computer-maker Acer is a business, and what it said at Thursday's conference call with investors was even less diplomatic: Sorry, Microsoft; it's Google time.
The computer manufacturer is going to curb its focus on Windows 8 products and instead focus its energies on Google's Android devices and Chrome-based products. Reason? Ask Accounting.
Microsoft has not done Acer any big favors with Windows 8. Acer's PC shipments have been disappointing and Acer's leaders believe that sustaining emphasis on Windows PCs and laptops, at a time when industry trends point in other directions, would be too costly.
Acer declared in the Thursday call that it was now time to chase non-Windows cash cows. Android devices and Chromebooks will make up a growing percentage of its business. Acer executives said Acer will expand Android and Chromebook offerings at the expense of Windows products, due to slower demand.
"We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible," President Jim Wong told investors. "Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets . . . I also see a new market there for Chromebooks."
The world's fourth largest PC maker, Acer suffered a dismal second quarter due to sales diving south and expenses shooting north. Its transition to Windows 8 had a role in the quarter's poor results.
The computer maker posted a net loss equivalent to US$11.4 million for its second quarter.
Chromebooks as well as Android-based smartphones and tablets may fit the bill for Acer's need to boost sales. Those devices will make up an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent of Acer's revenue by the end of this year and could rise to 30 percent by 2014.
That plan appears to be a safe bet, considering IDC's tablet sales figures for Acer, which revealed Acer's tablet sales were up from 0.4 million to 1.4 million in the second quarter.
As for Windows, Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said, "The Windows camp has to do something to re-establish or reinforce confidence among PC users." Nonetheless, computer business leaders recognize that, overall, PC sales are sagging.
Down to Bottom Line
Acer President Jim Wong said, "For the PC industry, I haven't seen light at the end of the tunnel." Worldwide PC shipments fell 4 percent in 2012 and are forecast to decline 7.8 percent this year, the largest annual drop on record, according to researcher IDC.
Acer is not about to miss opportunities elsewhere. "First, we have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line," he said. "And by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow."
If all goes smoothly, then Acer will see the boost in revenue from smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks. As for the latter, market research firm NPD Group finds that Chromebooks, based on Google's Chrome OS (operating system), are shaking up the traditional PC marketplace and becoming the fastest-growing part of the PC industry based on price.
NPD said that in less than a year Chromebooks had snagged 20 percent to 25 percent of the U.S. market for laptops that cost less than $300.
Posted: 2013-08-13 @ 7:58am PT
I think that the original Chromebook manufacturers (Acer and Samsung) didn't want to invest too much in the first Chromebook models until they saw whether or not the whole concept would work. Now that Chromebook acceptance is growing, the manufacturers will be willing to put more into future versions.
Chromebook users that want to work with Windows applications can use solutions such as Ericom AccessNow. AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to connect to Terminal Server or VDI virtual desktops, and run any Windows application (not just MS Office) or even full desktops in a browser tab.
For an online, interactive demo, open your Chrome browser and visit:
Please note that I work for Ericom