Acer has named the man it thinks can dig it out of the hole created by the collapsing PC market. Jason Chen, currently the senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), steps into the CEO and president's chair on January 1st, 2014. Chen doesn't have a high profile …
CEO's are ten a penny, they do the rounds in all organisations with big ideas that never work.
This is what will happen.
Pay rise for CEO
Streamlining of the business
Then the next one steps in and we begin again.
Pay rise for CEO
Streamlining the business
Oh and I forgot the most important part after each failure a great big golden goodbye.
They're corporate sheep. Once one company does outsourcing they all do, once one company starts bringing call centres back to the UK they all follow suit.
Remember when telephone menus appeared? everyone started using them.
We can talk of competition and the like, but it seems to be that many companies are just identikit these days. In the IT world Apple seemed to be a bit different, but even they've started buying in tech like everyone else now Tim Cook is in charge.
These are banal times we're living in, I think only another world war will sort things out.
Have Acer started making reasonable quality computers again? I remember a few years back (maybe 10 years or so), Acer was known to produce good and cheap computers. I bought a high end model back then, and it still works today.
However, later on, their laptops seems to have started falling apart and black-screening if you even look at them in a wrong way. My last one died with a permanent black screen just outside the warranty. That's when I stopped buying and recommending them.
Have they improved?
I suspect they have improved in the few years since I noticed a newly bought laptop soon had wear on the metallic finish, exposing black plastic below.
I was recently given a Packard Bell (aka Acer) with a P6100 processor. Hard drive had failed outside warranty but otherwise looked as good as new and seems to work well now.
It's the repeat sales they killed with lack of quality
As the PC market exploded from the early 90s until this latest iPad caused dip, many companies were competing with commodity hardware and differentiating on price alone. Acer and many of their ilk produced as cheaply as possible, and to carve out a margin they could live with, reduced cost in ways that drove some of us nuts trying to work with their PCs. Acer could survive as long as there were new market entrants willing to buy a lower cost PC. Once the PC needed to be replaced, higher quality alternatives for gaming and content consumption were in the market (PSX, Xbox, Galaxy and iPad) , so some market share bled off to new device categories. The other cause of market decline was the repeat buyer who had been burned once, and considered moving to the higher cost PC, assuming it had better performance and reliability.
Acer has a major job ahead rebulding a tarnished brand in a declining market. Maybe a "marketing" genius from Taiwan Semi is just the thing, we'll see.
Acer in trouble? sad news
I like Acer exactly for selling cheap notebook PC's with "no frills", exactly the right set of features. I prefer Intel-based notebooks with chipset-integrated Intel graphics and Intel or Atheros WiFi. 1280x800 used to be a plausible display resolution, before 1366x768 plagued that market segment. Acer traditionally uses a very basic BIOS, with no proprietary "addon MCU" garbage on the motherboard. Compared to that, I've seen several design-level cockups of that category in IBM/Lenovo machines, and generally all sorts of twisted addons or counter-ergonomic "improvements" in Compaq/HP et al. I like the vanilla / "quality no-name" feel of the Acer machines. Whether they're actually made by Compal, Wistron, Foxconn or whoever, doesn't seem to make too much of a difference.
In the recent years, I've ushered maybe 5 or 6 Acer notebooks into our broader family and as far as I know, all of them work to this day, the oldest one has been in service for 5 years and I've been dragging it to workplace and back home every day. I have a third carrying bag, a second power adaptor, a second disk drive, and the notebook still works fine. No broken hinges or whatever, despite the case looking like "cheap plastic". If the CCFL tubes wear out soon now, I'm considering replacing the tubes...
I recall one minor display glitch on a particular Acer notebook model, where some power decoupling capacitors in the display PCB got optimized away, combined with poor 3.3V power rail trainsmission (two tiny pins in the internal LVDS connector) resulting in unreliable display startup, difficult to reproduce - but I fixed that and otherwise they're pretty reliable.
Hard drives are a notorious pain, but that's down to HDD brands and developments, the NTB makers are hardly to blame. I may prefer Seagate over other brands, but that may be my personal opinion.
All "my" Acer notebooks so far had the classic "beveled" keyboard. It's sad that the whole notebook market has shifted to the ugly flat "chiclet" keyboards - looks like another counter-ergonomic twist of fashion, following an apparent general PC hardware marketing trend that mandates something like "users can't really type anymore, so they won't appreciate a real keyboard". First the displays, now the keyboards...
Makes me wonder if the XP "end of updates" finally improves the PC sales numbers :-) Since solid polymer caps and LED-backlit displays, a well-made PC can last forever...
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