Acer To Implement Tablet Strategy After CEO Resigns8:28 PM EST Thu. Mar. 31, 2011
The resignation of Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci on Thursday underscores the disruption tablets have caused for traditional PC vendors, as Acer launches its Iconia tablet and its new interim chief executive says the company is pursuing a more aggressive strategy in the mobile market.
According to a statement from Acer, Lanci resigned effective immediately due to differences with Acer’s board, but his departure will not affect Acer’s current operations. Nevertheless, Acer Chairman J.T. Wang, who becomes interim CEO in the wake of Lanci’s departure, said the Taiwan-based manufacturer will take a completely new, much more aggressive approach to the burgeoning mobile device market.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Acer’s new interim CEO says Acer’s goal is to become the mobile market leader -- with various form factor PCs including notebooks, netbooks, smartphones and above all tablets. "We have to change our business strategy as the PC industry landscape has changed a lot with the rise of tablets and multiple PC operating systems," Wang said, according to the Journal.
As if to symbolize the transition, Lanci’s resignation and the subsequent strategy overhaul immediately follows the launch of Acer’s dual-screen Iconia Touchbook tablet-notebook hybrid, which runs on Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Windows’ mobile OS. Featuring dual 14-inch displays, the device is available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada at a starting price of $1,200.
Furthermore, according to the report, Wang said Acer’s goal in 2011 is to ship five to seven million tablet units. Acer in November offered plans to enter the increasingly crowded tablet market with three unnamed Acer tablets that Acer at the time scheduled for release in early 2011. The devices include 7-inch and 10.1-inch Android-based tablets, as well as a 10.1-inch Windows-based tablet.
The Wall Street Journal cites analysts who say Lanci’s resignation from Acer will affect the company as Lanci was essential to Acer’s success over the last 10 years and developed Acer’s partnership with retail distributors worldwide. Lanci oversaw Acer’s acquisition of rival U.S.-based PC vendor Gateway in 2007. In 2009, Acer surpassed Dell as the world’s second-ranked notebook vendor.
Next: Tablet Fever
However, the popularity of Apple’s iPad tablet has changed the face of the industry, and the emergence of the tablet market as a result has in turn changed the software ecosystem and the level of consumerization in devices. Apple’s iPad surpassed HP as the No. 1 global mobile PC vendor in the fourth quarter of last year, according to new research firm DisplaySearch. With the release of Apple’s faster, lighter, and thinner iPad 2, the window of opportunity for seriously challenging Apple in the tablet market may be closing.
Other companies have noticed, and have recently brought several devices to market.
Lenovo this week launched its LePad tablet in China , while Asus last week launched Eee Pad Transformer tablet, and Toshiba unveiled plans to release an unnamed Android Honeycomb-based tablet in June .
Helping bring the proper, low levels of power to this range of devices is the upcoming Intel tablet-optimized Atom processor line code-named Oak Trail , which this week appeared mistakenly on Intel’s online price list. Oak Trail underscores Intel’s desire to enter the tablet market occupied mainly by British firm ARM, which licenses its low-power design to Apple in the iPad and iPhone devices.