Acer does not expect 'explosive growth' for Windows 8 later this year

Acer's CEO suggests its plans for Windows RT devices could change because of the pricing of Microsoft's Surface tablet

Taiwanese PC maker Acer, revising its estimates, does not expect "explosive growth" for Windows 8 devices when the Microsoft operating system launches in October, with its company CEO citing a lack of consumer interest as one of the reasons.

"We are still waiting for the signal of the consumers' enthusiasm," said Acer CEO J.T. Wang during an earnings call on Friday.

Acer, now the world's third largest PC vendor, originally expected high growth for the company in this year's second half, with Windows 8 helping to usher in an array of new notebooks and tablet devices to the market.

But due to weakening global economic conditions, along with the uncertainty of the Windows ecosystem, Wang said it is more realistic for the company to expect "medium growth."

"We see that a lot of PC brand companies and also the channels have a cautious attitude," he said. "Although everyone is preparing for the Windows 8 launch, but still there is a lot of reservation, and so we do not see the momentum for very explosive growth has been accumulated."

Wang's comments about the uncertainty of the Windows ecosystem likely refers to his remarks made earlier this month when he opposed Microsoft selling its own Windows 8 tablet device. Called the "Surface", Microsoft's new device breaks away from the company's decades-long practice of relying on its PC vendor partners to push the Windows OS. Instead, Microsoft's Surface tablet will directly compete with rival products from Acer and other PC makers in the industry.

During Friday's conference call, Acer's CEO also seemed to suggest the company could change its plans for products built for Window RT, a version of Windows 8 designed for devices with ARM-based processors.

"Our original plan is to introduce RT early next year. We have some projects ongoing. But we have to see what happened in the overall ecosystem," he said.

Wang also said without elaborating that Acer had to wait for Microsoft's final decision on the selling price of its Windows RT tablet. Recent reports state that the Windows RT version of Microsoft's Surface tablet will be priced at $199.

Acer's CEO made the comments as the company reported profit growth for this year's second quarter, one year after the PC maker posted a major quarterly loss.

For the second quarter ended on June 30, Acer's net profit reached NT$56 million (US$1.87 million), an increase of over 100 percent from the near NT$6.8 billion loss the company reported in the same period a year ago.

Revenues for the quarter reached NT$110.6 billion, up 8.3 percent year-over-year. For the next quarter, revenues will remain flat as the company transitions toward launching Windows 8 devices in October, the company said.

"Now a lot of operations are already back to normal," Wang said. "And we will be able to deal with the industry challenges."

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service

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