Acer Group, one of the world's largest makers of personal computers, expressed doubts that Microsoft Corp.'s attempt to copy Apple's integrated hardware-software model with the Surface media tablets will be a success. According to Acer, Microsoft supplies a vital component for the world's majority of PCs, it should not compete with its own customers using its branded devices.
"I don't think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products. Microsoft is working with two dozen PC vendors worldwide, including the local guys, whereas Apple is alone, it can more or less do what it wants. Microsoft is a component of a PC system. A very important component but still a component," said Oliver Ahrens, senior vice president and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Acer, in an interview with Reuters news-agency.
Microsoft on Monday revealed its own-brand Surface media and productivity tablets that will be available late this year and early in 2013, respectively. By releasing its own slates, Microsoft adopts integrated hardware-software business model that Apple is known for and also sets up a benchmark for user experience and quality of Windows devices. But Acer believes that creating own hardware will defocus Microsoft and will lower its attention to PC makers and their needs.
"Instead of enhancing the user experience for Windows 8 (...) they open a new battlefield. I worry that this will lead into a defocus internally for Microsoft, and then we have to suffer because we are working with their products," said Mr. Ahrens.
For Acer, media tablets is a pretty painful topic as the company has failed to release a successful slate since 2010. Unlike companies like Asustek Computer and Samsung Electronics, Acer's Iconia Tab devices failed to gain any traction. Competing solutions from Microsoft essentially kill Acer's tablet business and requires the company to change all of its existing plans for tablets.
Channel partners of Microsoft also doubt that Surface tablets will be successful since they will not feature any customization needed by businesses, whereas end-users will barely find them as they will be sold only in Microsoft's own retail stores and select online shops.