updated 06:12 pm EDT, Tue October 30, 2012
Acer previously put off by Surface announcement
Acer has announced a delay in the launch of tablets running Microsoft's Windows RT operating system, giving the Taiwanese space to assess the impact of Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. Acer has previously expressed dissatisfaction with Microsoft's entering the hardware sector, and now the company will delay its Windows RT devices until at least the second quarter of 2013 to see how the new Microsoft tablet fares. Acer executives specifically cited Surface as a reason for the company's delay of what had been a "very aggressive plan" to roll out Windows RT devices.
"Our R&D department doesn't stop, but we are much more cautious," Acer President Jim Wong told Reuters today. The company had originally planned on releasing its Windows RT devices in the first quarter, but Acer executives believe it will not be releasing any Windows RT devices until the second quarter.
Acer has had a complex relationship with Windows RT; the company's executives complained loudly about the potential performance hit their devices would take should they move toward producing ARM 64-bit devices.
Microsoft's sudden decision to produce its own hardware seemed to unsettle the Taiwanese manufacturer even more. In August of this year, Acer's CEO warned the software giant to "think twice" about producing its own computers and potentially undercutting its manufacturing partners.
Today's announcement of a delay in releasing products would appear to be a continuation of Acer's reaction to Microsoft's decision. Last month, the company announced that it would be producing a second generation of notebooks running Google's Chrome OS. The previous generation did not sell well, but Acer hopes to ship as many as 200,000 devices once the next generation launches. The move toward Chromebooks has been taken by some industry observers as a sign of Acer hedging its bets in case Microsoft's hardware begins to crowd out its manufacturing partners.
Acer's most recent earnings figures showed a net profit well below the estimates of market analysts. The manufacturer's fiscal fortunes have waned along with most other PC makers as consumers increasingly opt for mobile devices, the sort of device Windows RT is meant to power.