I didn't think anybody but Apple fans would be upset when the Microsoft Surface was announced along with the stunning new accessories. Microsoft beat the first wave of apprehension when they said they welcomed other manufacturers to step their games up against the Surface, and Samsung was quick to announce they'd be launching a Windows 8 RT tablet. All is not well in the Microsoft manufacturer world, though. The last company in my mind that would seem to have an issue, however, would be Acer, but that's exactly who is causing a stir in the tech industry this week as they have told Microsoft to "think twice" about the upcoming flagship Surface tablet.
What's happening here and why is Acer upset? Are they just being childish in the whole matter? Is Microsoft going to put them out of business? We have the answers to all of these questions after the break.
We know that the Surface is here to be the true iPad killer, as the fragmented sea of Android tablets have seemed to only boost Apple's sales and Windows 7 tablets were too clunky to even want to deal with. However, Microsoft also knew they'd be competing directly with manufacturers who would be supporting the Windows 8 operating system already. This opened up an interesting debate of whether or not Microsoft was unhappy with the performance of their hardware partners' previous attempts at Windows tablets and perhaps the Surface would be Microsoft's way of setting the standard bar, kind of like how they set standards with Windows Phone 7 by only allowing three footprints. Because Microsoft never really produced anything under their own label before computer-wise (even though this one is probably made by Samsung), it really sent a tidal wave of emotion through their partners. I suppose Acer is just the first one to really speak up about it.
Acer's CEO JT Wang said that Microsoft moving forward with its Surface would be "negative for the worldwide ecosystem" and asked that Microsoft possibly reconsider entering the hardware space.
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.
Those are some pretty strong words from a loyal Microsoft supporter. Wang even went on to say that if Microsoft were to continue with its standard of excellence by producing this tablet and actually going to market with it, that Acer would have to consider replacing Microsoft as its software partner.
If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?
It should be noted that Acer does make several Android tablets as it is and we doubt they'd be replacing Microsoft with Linux or Ubuntu. It's also interesting that Wang isn't the first outspoken Acer employee to openly attack Microsoft's (succeeding) effort to change the world with Windows 8. Oliver Ahrens, senior international VP for Acer, said that Microsoft would fail at trying to take over iPad's top tablet spot with the Surface.
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 doesn't seem to feel that way and they are certainly not trying to step on anybody's toes. To me, as mentioned, it seems like they are trying to show off the true power of Windows 8 - Microsoft would know best - and what some of the hardware could really do. However, the company did realize that it may have some unhappy fans after launch of the product. In their SEC filing, they said,
Even if many users view these devices as complementary to a personal computer, the prevalence of these devices may make it more difficult to attract applications developers to our platforms. In addition, our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.
It's interesting to me to see such fight-back on something like this. While the Surface could potentially take down Apple and put a lot of pressure on the iPad to come up with something new and innovate, which Apple just can't do, it's not like it would take out all of the other Windows 8 products that would come out on the heels of the flagship tablet. If a software company like Microsoft can exponentially excel when competition is placed in front of them, how come the hardware manufacturers (sans Samsung as they're already onboard), instead of stepping up to deliver something bigger and better, are cowering and complaining that a software giant shouldn't enter the ever-sensitive hardware market. It would seem logical that the veterans in the space, like Acer, could take one on the chin and thrive under the pressure of their software daddy telling them to do better than what they've done before.
Perhaps this will be a true test to see which manufacturers can take the heat and sustain that Micro-barrage. At the end of the October launch date, when all the dust settles, maybe there will be one or two less Microsoft hardware makers, or even less hardware makers in general. All I know is that the Surface is going to change the way the game is played. It's going to be up to the manufacturers to decide if they want to play by the new rules, or take their ball and go home. Which will it be? We want your take on this in the comments section below.