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Surface tablet ruffles feathers among Microsoft's friends

Microsoft should 'think twice' about wading into the hardware game, an exec at Acer said this week. 

By Matthew Shaer / August 7, 2012

Microsoft reps show off the Surface tablet at an event in June.

Reuters

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Microsoft should "think twice" about making continued forays into the hardware business, an Acer executive said this week. 

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"We have said [to Microsoft] to think it over. Think twice," Acer chairman and CEO JT Wang reportedly told the Financial Times. "It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It's not something you are good at so think twice." At immediate issue is the Surface, a Windows 8-powered tablet expected to hit shelves in late October. 

Microsoft will sell the Surface through its website and at brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores. At the same time, the Washington software giant will license the Windows 8 operating system to a range of hardware manufacturers, including the Taiwan-based Acer. For Acer, this is something of a slap in the face – after all, the company will be forced to pit its Windows 8 machines against Microsoft's Windows 8 tablets. 

"If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?" Wang told the FT.

Alternatives would likely include Google's Android – which, as InformationWeek notes, is much cheaper to license than Windows. At this point, it's hard to tell whether Wang's comments are bluster, or whether Acer would actually mull dropping Microsoft; Microsoft, for its part, is staying mum. 

The Microsoft Surface was unveiled in June. The tablet, which is designed to compete directly with the Apple iPad, sports a 10.6-inch screen, a pair of cameras, and a full keyboard, which is integrated into the case. Microsoft has not put a price on the device, but analysts have predicted that the Surface will retail in the $500 range – comparable, in other words, with the iPad.

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