Acer plans to develop software services that will enable users to build their own personal clouds, according to CEO Jason Chen.
Speaking exclusively to V3, Chen said: “We are redefining our traditional PC-only business model to offer laptops and hybrids. We have good momentum here, but this is our mid-term plan.
“Long term we plan to change from a pure hardware company and take advantage of new prospects like build your own cloud.”
Chen said the cloud is having a major impact on how people use and store data.
“We believe cloud computing will be the biggest thing in industry for the next 10 years. We believe people want to get their valuable information and data off the hard disk on their device,” he said.
Chen sees Acer as helping to create a new personal cloud services landscape where the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft cannot call all the shots.
“In this multi-screen, multi-device world there is currently no place that is secure and with a guarantee you won’t have people come over and say ‘we’re going to start charging you’. There is a need for a new usage model, one where people can enjoy using multiple devices and having multiple screens and not worry about this. We call this bring your own cloud,” he said.
Chen highlighted bring your own device (BYOD) as another trend that is having a major impact on Acer’s thinking.
“We see BYOD as a trend affecting many device makers. People are now using personal devices in companies, so now you have to think about making them available not just for personal but also for business use. That trend is getting popular with smartphones, but its especially big with PCs,” he said.
“It is getting harder and harder to draw the line between business and personal use, that’s why you have to design devices to converge productivity and personal enjoyment. We’re working within the industry ecosystem to help this happen in a secure way.”
But with Apple and Samsung already way out in front in the BYOD race, can Acer really make an impression in this market?
“Within the new mobile era of tablets, smartphones and, in the future, wearables, there are two big players [Apple and Samsung],” Chen conceded. “But 20 years ago in the PC industry there were a couple of people at the top, but then the industry collapsed and they fell.
“We believe the mobile industry will go through the same process and we want to make sure we’re ready to play on our strengths and bring our devices to people.”
Chen believes Acer’s reputation in the market and its relationship with the channel put it in a good position to grow its market share.
“We have a brand that people recognise and feel comfortable with,” he said. “We also have a good channel supply chain that lets us get products out across the world in a very rapid fashion. Then we have a service network that will be able to offer good quality customer support when needed.”
On the topic of operating systems, Chen said the company plans to continue investing in Google’s Android ecosystem, but added the company is open to using alternative operating systems.
“We’re supporting Android but we’re keeping our eyes out for what’s coming. We’re not picking sides and will listen to our customers about what they want,” he said.
Acer is far from being alone in seeing the cloud and BYOD as drivers for growth. Earlier this month, Microsoft highlighted BYOD as key to boosting Windows Phone’s market share during a briefing with V3 at its TechEd conference in Houston, Texas.
22 May 2014 | 2:57 pm – Source: v3.co.uk