VARs Question Acer's Server Plans


Acer's G540 Altos pedestal server already has been discontinued and the R720 rack server will stop shipping sometime in June, according to e-mails viewed by

In addition, a source inside the company has confirmed that Acer's top executives are engaging in active discussions to determine the future of the portfolio.

The product discontinuations threaten not only Acer's channel relationship but also its entire business-class product line because it cuts out a key component of the vendor's lineup, said Steve Ciarciello, president and CEO of CompuData, a Philadelphia-based solution provider.

Ciarciello, a former president of Acer's channel advisory board, was angry that he received no notification from Acer before the vendor shut down the line.

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Ciarciello suspects that Acer is planning to exit the U.S. market, based on conversations he's had with an Acer product manager and his distributor, Advantec. As of yet, there are no business-class products available to replace the G540 and R720, he said.

"The only way [Acer] is going to keep a channel program running is with a full product lineup. Not having servers is a disaster for them because everything else is a pull-along."

In a prepared statement, Acer maintains that it has no plans to exit the U.S. server market.

"Acer offers a comprehensive line of commercial products and we are currently making significant investments to develop our channel business. We are fully committed to offering servers for professional customers in the U.S. and have no intentions of exiting this market," said Gregg Prendergast, vice president of commercial sales and marketing for Acer America, in the statement.

Ciarciello said he learned of the Acer server cancellation after some of his outstanding purchase orders were delayed.

"I was informed by our distributor that they were having trouble getting product from Acer," Ciarciello said. "I sent an e-mail to the server product manager at [Acer] asking what was going on. He informed me that the G540 server line had been discontinued and there would be no more availability."

Ciarciello found further evidence in the May 11 Acer price book he received from the vendor, which omitted any mention of the G540 servers. The previous price book Ciarciello received in April listed the entire server line, he said.

The same product manager informed Ciarciello that the G540 Altos Server would not be the only casualty, with the R720 server also scheduled for extinction in the U.S. "R720 situation is the same with G540," wrote the product manager in an e-mail, noting that his supply will run out in June. "I will not bring more inventories in unless upper management agrees on it."

The server lines will be available elsewhere in the world, Ciarciello said. In fact, Acer earlier this month signed an agreement with JDI Technology to distribute its servers in the U.K.

Sensitive to Ciarciello's predicament, the product manger is working to secure servers from China through other divisions of Acer in order to fill CompuData's outstanding orders, Ciarciello said.

Ciarciello's situation comes at a time when Acer's commitment to the U.S. channel already is in question. Company executives admit they have been focused on the retail channel, but claim that it plans to work its way back into the channel. As evidence, they point to the hiring of Prendergast, who now is in charge of its channel.