Acer Inc adopts cautious stance toward Windows 8

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 13

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world's No. 4 PC brand, said yesterday its PC shipments would be in a range of minus-5 percent to 5 percent this quarter from last quarter, after last quarter’s shipments fell 11 percent from the second quarter.

The Taipei-based company’s new shipment projection reflects its cautious stance toward market demand for Microsoft Corp’s new operating system, although Acer said it would continue rolling out touch-screen gadgets supported by Windows 8.

Despite concerns whether Windows 8 will be popular, Acer has moved to reduce channel inventories of its Windows 7 products, Acer president Jim Wong (翁建仁) told investors at a conference in Taipei.

“In response to a downward trend in sales of Windows 7 in the third quarter, we aim to lower our channel inventories to avoid obstacles for the launch of Windows 8,” Wong said.

Acer chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) said Apple Inc, Google Inc, Amazon Inc and Microsoft Corp have brought dramatic changes to the PC industry, a situation Acer has not seen over the past 20 years.

“To avoid the ‘negative chain reaction over the [PC] ecosystem,’ Acer will continue to work with other brands to share the prosperity. Take our cloud-computing services for example: Acer’s cloud is complementary with any other brand, such as Alibaba (阿里巴巴) and Google. We believe such a feature can assist users to manage personal data across platforms and devices, and therefore enhance customer loyalty,” Wang said.

On Tuesday, Acer reported its third-quarter net profit of NT$68 million (US$2.3 million), up 21 percent quarter-on-quarter, with earnings per share (EPS) of NT$0.03, compared with a net loss of NT$1.09 billion in the third quarter of last year.

Operating income was NT$345 million in the third quarter, compared with NT$433 million in the previous quarter and losses of NT$1.32 billion a year earlier. Revenue was NT$104.41 billion last quarter, down 6 percent from NT$110.55 billion in the second quarter and 11 percent from NT$117.9 billion a year ago, the company’s data showed.

Beginning this quarter, Acer expects the market to see more PCs equipped with touch-screen features thanks to the launch of Windows 8.

With regard to its pricing strategies, Wong said Acer will set prices for its touch-screen products between US$499 and US$1,499.

“Specifically, Acer CloudMobile S500 will be our focus. We seek to provide our customers mobilities with date devices. That’s why we never give up smartphones,” he said.

Whether Windows 8 products will take significant market shares or not depends on the users, analysts have said.

“The introduction of Windows 8 is a new beginning. We think the market has huge potential,” Wang said.

The company will adopt a conservative approach to Windows 8 products, according to how soon consumers can actually experience the product and how fast the company can ship products to meet market demand, he said.

“I consider this is the darkest time before the storm,” Wang said. “It is all about timing.”