For the past three years, Acer has been losing money. Sales are declining, and even at a time when overall PC sales are declining, Acer’s been having a particularly rough few years.

Acer CEO Jason Chen tells Bloomberg the company will unveil a new “Build Your Own Cloud service” on April 1st to focus on its strengths moving forward. He also blames Acer’s early investment in ultrabooks for some of the company’s financial difficulties.

Acer Aspire S7

There are a few ways to read that latter claim. On the one hand, Chen apparently told Bloomber that they invested “too early” and at a time when there wasn’t a market for the thin and light laptops Intel was pushing. The implication is that PC makers were offering ultrabooks, but shoppers weren’t buying them.

But there’s another way to look at the past few years. While people might not use the word “ultrabook” all that much when describing notebooks, there are a lot more thin and light models available than there were before Intel launched its initiative in 2011. And some of the features Intel pushed for ultrabooks are becoming common across notebooks of all shapes and sizes, including solid state drives and touchscreens.

It’s questionable whether Acer’s decision to start offering ultrabooks close to day one really hurt the company — or if Acer’s offerings just weren’t as attractive as some competing models.

Acer’s released a few different ultrabooks since 2011. The Aspire S3 lineup features some of the cheapest ultrabooks around, but they haven’t exactly been praised for design, build quality, or battery life.

The more recent Aspire S7 line feature attractive glass lids and super-slim and light cases. But they’re expensive and until Acer updated the S7 with Haswell processor options, they were power-hungry devices with poor battery life and noisy fans.

As Ultrabook News suggests, Chen may be blaming Intel’s ultrabook strategy, but it may be Acer’s own products that hurt the company’s revenues in the past year or two.

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14 replies on “Acer blames its ultrabooks for financial losses, promises new strategy in 2014”

  1. Ya, ultrabooks didn’t do as well as Intel had hoped but I think Acer would still be in the same situation even if they didn’t make ultrabooks. Their notebooks are well known to be of very bad quality. The grave they dug was already too deep.

    1. Acer makes pretty crappy stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would be in the same situation had they not entered the ultrabook market.

  2. I’m going to go with having a history of crap products, and making ultrabooks that were not as good as the competition and pricing them higher, or trying to cut costs and just selling shitty machines was acer’s problem, and that it had nothing to do with ultrabooks. I had such a bad experience with an acer machine I said never again. Asus and lenovo offer such better machine at competitive prices.

  3. Acer notebooks were crap and Acer ultrabooks are crap. Acer shouldn’t be surprised that they failed.

    1. I actually have a fondness for the Acer 11.6″ models. Cheap and cheerful, easy to upgrade, one screw and the whole bottom panel comes off.

  4. Acer made/makes crappy notebooks. I assume that stigma stayed when they made ultrabooks and people stayed away. Also, their ultrabook really were subpar compared to others even if you ignore their first one.

  5. Looks like Intel’s “look we’re like Apple” campaign is a bust.

  6. Ultrabooks were pushed by intel to try to get apple like margins. Not surprised to see them fail. Acer needs to stick with 11.6, 13.3 systems with replaceable, expandable batteries. That seems to be the highest volume market nowadays. The successor to the original netbook.

    1. Actually, the highest volume market is still the 15.6″ space, I can see the 11.6 and 13.3 space as having the most growth though.

  7. I feel Acer’s pain. The computing market is brutal and unforgiving.
    No one consistently makes good products priced competitively,
    that sell well and make money. Price your product too low, and
    you turn out crap that alienates customers and lose repeat sales.
    Price too high, and no one can afford your goods, no matter
    how excellent they are. Everyone stumbles once in a while. The only
    industry that comes close to computers’ 15% annual price drop is
    the vehicle tire business. I could be wrong, but I doubt that tech
    people, among the smartest people in the world, want to make tires.

    Apple stresses margins, and saw its personal computer market share
    shrivel into near oblivion. Its emphasis on margins may again
    consign its mobile devices to a similar fate. But this article isn’t about Apple.

    Previously, Acer was known for lower end products that sold in great volume.
    However, ultrabooks are a premium product, and somewhat different from
    Acer’s traditional strengths. So Acer getting in early, was bound to stumble.

    I can’t say what Acer should do (if I were that good, I maybe wouldn’t be posting here),
    but perhaps Acer should stick with what it knows best, or doing ultrabooks (now
    that they are mainstream) and everything else from its traditional perspective.

  8. Make one of the best ultrabook and price it 1.5 times higher than competition.

    Lenovo is the no.1 but still they priced Lenovo yoga 2 Pro and thinkpad yoga very well. They know its tough to demand Apple prices in the PC market. So they priced with reasonable margins and now they are selling very well.

    Also, they are trying to increase profits with chromebooks that sell for $199? Good luck with that.

  9. Ya i agree, honestly who’s the guy who said they should price them at 1.5x the competition????

  10. It’s Acer’s fault. I was considering buying a Haswell S7 but decided not to because of the cost and the battery life. I got an Asus UX31LA w/ Haswell and never looked back.

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