Acer sees “no value” in Windows RT as Surface strains Microsoft’s partner relations

The chief executive of Acer has again slammed Microsoft over its Windows RT-based consumer Surface tablets, saying his company sees “no value” in developing a tablet based on the current version of the platform.

Windows RT is a version of Windows designed for tablet devices using ARM processors, which is used in the consumer version of Microsoft’s Surface tablet and is not compatible with the desktop version of Windows 8.

According to AllThingsD, Acer president Jim Wong revealed that while his company is still open to building a Windows RT tablet, it will not use the current version of the platform.

“The plan for an RT tablet is ongoing. To be honest, there’s no value doing the current version of [Windows] RT,” Wong says.

As SmartCompany reported last year, senior Acer executives, including Wong, warned Microsoft that its decision to release its own tablets would strain relations with its traditional hardware partners.

“Originally we had a very aggressive plan to come out [with a Windows RT tablet] very early [in 2013],” Wong said in October last year.

“But because of Surface … we are much more cautious. Originally our plan was the first quarter, but now I don’t think it will be earlier than the second quarter.”

Wong’s comments were echoed at the time by other senior executives at the company.

“We have said [to Microsoft] 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,” chairman JT Wang 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?” Acer’s president of personal computer global operations, Campbell Kan, said.

Acer missed out on being one of the five hardware vendors Microsoft initially licensed to build tablets based on the Windows RT platform.

According to recent IDC tablet marketshare figures, Microsoft’s much hyped Surface and Surface Pro tablets have been a big disappointment in the marketplace, with unit shipments of just 900,000 during the first quarter of 2013.

Despite heavy advertising, the Redmond-based tech giant claimed a marketshare of just 1.8% of the 49.2 million tablets shipped during the quarter.

Since then, Microsoft admitted in a filing to the US Securities and Exchanges Commission that its decision to enter the hardware business with the Surface tablet risked straining relationships with its PC hardware partners.


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