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Windows 8 transition was a disappointment to entire industry, says Acer

Hopes simplifying it will boost sales
Wed May 08 2013, 10:01
Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook Laptop display

TAIWANESE HARDWARE FIRM Acer has said that "everyone in the industry" was disappointed by Microsoft's transition to the Windows 8 operating system (OS) from Windows 7.

Speaking at its launch of the firm's latest line of notebooks in New York last week, Acer's director for Northern Europe, Simon Turner told The INQUIRER that "the Windows 8 transition has been disappointing to everyone in the industry, there's no question."

When asked why the OS wasn't well received, Turner said that many other hardware brands had a lot of Windows 7 devices hanging around when Windows 8 launched, which didn't help sales because it contributed to confusion among consumers.

"One thing we found was that we were very quick at switching, so when Windows 8 launched, we didn't have much Windows 7 [product] on the market. A few other brands had a lot, which had to get sold out first, whereas we were clean by December, we had nothing."

But it seems that Acer's swift transition to Windows 8 still didn't do the Taiwanese firm any favours, as its disappointment follows its worst quarter ever in PC sales. According to IT industry tracking firm International Data Corporation (IDC), shipments worldwide plunged 14 percent in the first quarter.

Acer had the largest sales drop among major PC vendors of 31.3 percent year on year in the first quarter, which lead to a two percent decline in its market share year on year to 8.1 percent.

"Maybe the messaging wasn't as clear," Turner added. "But everything new now sold is Windows 8, you can't now sell a Windows 7 product, not in a consumer market."

IDC's report claimed the huge decrease in PC sales was attributable to the increasing demand for tablets and widespread consumer distaste for Microsoft's latest Windows 8 PC operating system.

Turner's views mirror these findings, as he told us that small screen devices are now much more desirable in the PC market, especially for Windows 8 which is focused on touch.

"[Windows 8] makes smaller screens more relevant. The bigger the screen, the further you are away, and the less relevant," he said. "Actually, 11in, 13in, 14in screens are really nice with this technology and now resolutions are much better with high definition panels, we see a growth coming in smaller screen segment."

Turner's comments back up Acer's recent focus on "duality", a tagline that expresses the firm's efforts in "touch and type", that is, encouraging users to experience their devices differently by touching the screen, then typing, then touching it again, as opposed to using a touchpad or mouse.

Acer said it encourages Duality as a way of interacting in "a more natural and beneficial way" for its audience. However, it's now also clear that it's an attempt to shift some of its poor selling Windows 8 devices that consumers don't know how to use, by designing them around and taking advantage of the OS, as opposed to designing a laptop with a touchscreen and hoping customers will enjoy the bonus of a touch enabled display, even if it is awkward to use.

Turner hinted that creating innovative products with unique designs, such as the new notebook line announced in New York last week that eases the use of touchscreen commands, will help customers understand and use Windows 8 and thus boost its dwindling market share. µ


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