When Microsoft launched its Surface tablet, it was a surprising move for a lot of us. The chief source of surprise was the fact that from being a software vendor for such a long time, Microsoft was entering into the hardware realm directly (in terms of standalone computers). And it was doing so by jeopardizing its long partnerships with a lot of hardware vendors.
Industry analysts argued that such a move by Microsoft is going to hurt other hardware vendors and may affect Microsoft’s relationship with them. PC and laptop vendors such as Acer, HP, Dell and others will be directly affected by the launch of Surface tablets. And it seems, at least, some are starting to speak up and cite their concerns.
Acer’s CEO, JT Wang, has now come all out and stated that the Surface tablet from Microsoft is going to hurt a lot of quarters. According to him, “We have said think it over. Think twice. 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.”
He further hinted that if Microsoft adamantly clings to its plans, Acer will have to reconsider its partnership with Microsoft. He said, “If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?”
This is indeed a subtle, yet sure, hint from Acer that if Microsoft doesn’t ‘rethink’ its decision to launch Surface tablets, Acer will have to look to other partners and may abandon its relationships with the software giant. When Microsoft first unveiled the tablet, Acer’s Senior VP cited a rather valid argument that, “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.”
Surely, Microsoft needs to decide and weigh the pros and cons of its decision. Can it afford to lose hardware partners and if so, will the success of Surface tablets be such that it would compensate for these losses? These are critical questions that we sincerely hope Microsoft considered before its big decision.
Source: Financial Times