Lauren Goode

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Acer President Wong: Consumers Are Still Confused by Windows 8

Earlier today, Acer announced its not-so-surprising plans for a low-priced Android tablet, which AllThingsD’s Bonnie Cha covered in full here.

Microsoft_Windows-8_demo

But while sitting down with Acer President Jim Wong yesterday at CES, we discussed that other tablet maker. No, not Apple — Microsoft.

Acer, in case you haven’t been following this, has been one of the more outspoken hardware partners of Microsoft when it comes to the Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet.

In October, Acer CEO JT Wang told Microsoft to “think twice” about its Surface tablet. Fast-forward to the end of the year, after Windows 8 had launched, and Acer was one of a few computer makers expressing disappointment in sales, saying, “There was not a huge spark in the market. … It’s a slow start, there’s no question.”

Now Wong believes that Microsoft’s promotion of the Surface has been “confusing to consumers.”

“The promotion of the product is really focused on the keyboard, and the users really don’t know how to maximize the touch experience,” Wong said. (Wong has said before that he believes that touchscreens have irreversibly changed — and will soon dominate — the PC market).

Wong went on to point out that when Apple launched the iPad, it was just the iPad — without a lot of talk about accessory keyboards.

Acer’s chief marketing officer, Michael Birkin, echoed this. “There was just a lot of messaging coming out at the same time: Windows 8, Surface, RT,” he said.

Still, Wong struck a (somewhat) hopeful note. “It was disappointing, but we have to work closely with Microsoft to get customer feedback on what works and what doesn’t,” he concluded, adding that Acer has set up “experience” booths overseas to educate consumers on the company’s Windows 8 products.

Microsoft has not yet responded to requests for comment on Wong’s remarks or Windows 8 sales.

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