Acer: Windows 8 still not successful

The PC maker's president says Acer has done better with Google's Chrome-based notebooks than with Windows 8 devices.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Acer's Windows 8-based Aspire S7.
Acer's Windows 8-based Aspire S7. Acer

Acer hasn't been doing well lately, and the company is pointing a finger at weak demand for Windows 8.

"Windows 8 itself is still not successful," Acer president Jim Wong told Bloomberg in an interview published yesterday. "The whole market didn't come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that's a simple way to judge if it is successful or not."

Acer was stung by an annual loss in 2011 and will post another loss for 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal. Last week, the company announced a $120 million write-off on the value of its Gateway, Packard Bell, eMachines, and E-Ten brands and said it would discontinue its eMachines products.

Instead, the Taiwanese PC maker has seen a healthy response to its Chrome-based notebooks. Making up 5 percent to 10 percent of Acer's U.S. PC shipments, Chromebooks have generated strong sales for the company, Bloomberg reported.

"You saw that all the marketing and promotions were not as broad as Windows 8, so to reach this success is encouraging," Wong said in the interview. The Chrome OS requires no licensing costs as does Windows, but Acer had to pour money into advertising and marketing to get the word out.

Google's Chrome OS is strictly a browser-based operating system, so users can't run any third-party software programs. Chromebooks are designed for Internet use, e-mail, and Web-based apps such as Google Docs and have picked up interest among schools. Seeing a market opportunity, Samsung and Lenovo have also jumped onto the Chrome OS bandwagon.

Acer was already concerned about Windows 8's prospects even before the OS officially debuted in October.

Last August, company chairman J.T. Wang said he didn't expect much in the way of "explosive growth" from the new OS and added that he was "still waiting for the signal of the consumers' enthusiasm."

Acer may have to wait longer for that signal. Microsoft said again last week it has sold more than 60 million Windows 8 licenses. But the company has yet to reveal any hardcore sales numbers. Recent reports from Gartner and IDC said that Windows 8 has so far failed to resuscitate the struggling PC market.