The Surface tablet is a bold new move for Microsoft: more than just the company’s first foray into computing hardware, it’s the first time the company is competing head-to-head against its OEM partners in the retail space, peripherals excluded. Those partners are none too pleased about the move, especially the bigwigs over at Acer.
“We have (told Microsoft) to think it over,” Acer CEO J.T. Wang told the Financial Times. “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.”
Acer’s president of Global PC operations, Campbell Kan, put things even more bluntly: “If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?”
That, of course, is the question that several OEMs supposedly find themselves asking. LG announced it was getting out of the tablet business the very day the Surface was announced, while HP later pulled back from its decision to produce an ARM-based Windows RT tablet for the Windows 8 launch window, supposedly due to discontent over the Surface. Officially, neither company said Microsoft’s leap into the tablet hardware waters affected their respective decisions.
For what it’s worth, the founder and former head of Acer, Stan Shih, thinks the Surface is just a marketing ploy, though he hopes it’s a short-lived one. “I think Microsoft’s getting involved in the hardware business is designed to promote its (Windows 8 operating system),” he told the WantChina Times in July. “But I sincerely recommend they withdraw from the hardware market when they get what they want.”