As Acer’s Chairman, Stan Shih, talks through the company’s new direction, he doesn’t seem like a man days from stepping down. Then again, Acer's founder first retired 10 years ago, temporarily returning last year to help it return to profit and chart the future in a declining PC market. Besides new laptops and tablets, Acer’s next steps include a fitness wristband, Android smartphone and a personal cloud vision dubbed ‘BYOC’. Here's what that means, and a look around the office.
“Acer is transforming from a hardware company, into a hardware + software + services company,” explains Shih. “This doesn’t mean Acer is getting rid of the PC -- that’s the core business for many years ahead -- but it’s now core plus [pursuable opportunities like] smartphone and tablets, going into growth compared to the past.”
The man about to take the reins, Acer CEO and President, Jason Chen, elaborates. “We need to redefine our business scope -- move into the fastest growing segments, mobility: tablets, smartphones, etc,”“Those are not easy business areas, either, but at least there is growth there. At the same time we now have Build-Your-Own-Cloud to build out new opportunities.”
Compared to cloud storage services like Google Drive, Apple iCloud, etc, Chen’s goal is to provide greater control over the data you store on the hard drives across your devices. Your own cloud -- wirelessly synchronised -- under your control.
As part of BYOC, Acer is also introducing a suite of software products to help organise personal content, such as music, photos and files. You’ll need at least one Acer device to get started, but the service/platform will then also work across your other devices. We’ll know more in the months ahead.