Acer CEO: “We Need To Dig Out Of Hole”
Acer’s new CEO, Jason Chen, went cap in hand to investors this week, admitting past mistakes and outlining its new software and e-services focus.
Speaking to media at Acer company HQ in Taipei, Taiwan, yesterday, Chen admitted diving into Ultrabooks – Intel’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air- too early was a mistake, reports Bloomberg.
Especially since the ultra thin notebook has failed to live up to expectations.
Another mistake was embracing touchscreen notebook technology too soon. In a very telling comment, he admitted, “we need to dig ourselves out of a hole,” the company, once the kingpin of notebooks, has dug for itself over the past number of years.
“We wanted to stimulate demand using new technology and we took the initiative more aggressively than anybody else, to the point where we got hurt.”
As Acer new CEO takes the reins from JT Wang, he also spoke of a move towards software including Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC), and innovations in mail, photo and video, in a bid to turnaround the company that has reported a string of losses, its latest Q3 2013 net loss was $442m.
“Hopefully we won’t repeat the same mistake we made before.”
“We need to find how to add value to hardware with mail, photo, video and other things we haven’t even seen yet,” he said. “We’ll start from our competitive advantage and go from there.”
Last month Acer Chairman, Stan Shih, unveiled its plan to transform from a hardware company into a “hardware + software + services” player as it prepares to embrace new opportunities in cloud technology. In the future, an Acer notebook, tablet or smartphone will come with services through BYOC apps.
At CES 2014 last week, Acer announced a number of new devices, including a US$150 Android tablet which got plenty of attention, along with sassy Chromebooks, and won design nods for S7 Ultrabook and R7 notebook.
Last week, the PC company also announced a strategic partnership with PChome Pay, a third party payment business in Taiwan purchasing 7 million shares, or 15.6%, in a bid to think “beyond hardware”.
Acer hopes to provide e-services to PChome Group and become the Taiwanese company’s security technology partner, and collaborate on innovative applications via the ‘hardware + software + services platform.’
It entered the e-service business ten years ago, and provides secure 24×7 online payment services to banks, and physical and online merchants.