Acer: Microsoft Surface "negative" for PC market

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Manufacturer criticises mixed messages coming from Microsoft over its plans for Surface

Acer has launched a scathing attack on Microsoft over its plans to enter the hardware market with its Surface tablets.

Last month, Microsoft admitted it risked upsetting manufacturing partners with its own-brand tablets running Windows 8, due to launch in October.

Now Acer has said Microsoft's move into hardware would be "negative for the worldwide ecosystem".

In an interview with the Financial Times, the company said Microsoft was sending out mixed messages that could damage the relationship between hardware makers and the software firm.

Does it just want to show a new concept to the market  or is it going to get into the hardware business?

"Microsoft hasn’t given us a very clear picture," Campbell Kan, Acer’s president for personal computer global operations said. "Does it just want to show a new concept to the market and are they going to still work with [PC makers]  ...  or is it going to get into the hardware business?"

Late notice

Microsoft only warned Acer of the Surface news shortly before the plans were publicly unveiled, in marked contrast to the usual close partnership enjoyed by major hardware vendors during a new Windows release programme.

Acer and other companies are also still in the dark over the price points Microsoft will sell the devices at, the manufacturer said, making it is harder for rivals to plan their own device pricing.

Last month, Gartner tablet analyst Carolina Milanesi told PC Pro she believed the move into hardware was more about setting a standard for other tablet manufacturers to follow than an Apple-style hardware push, but that will be little comfort to nervous OEMs.

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