Acer officials are buying cloud specialist iGware for $320 million with the idea of launching their Acer Cloud in 2012.
Acer is taking to the cloud as it looks to expand beyond its core PC
business, buying cloud specialist iGware July 21 for $320 million.
which regularly competes with Dell for the No. 2 spot on the list of the
world's top PC makers, will call the new business the Acer Cloud Technology Co.
once the deal closes, which is expected to happen by September. In addition to
the iGware acquisition, Acer officials also said they were in talks with video
game company Nintendo, which is a client of iGware, about a working
relationship after the deal closes. However, no details were given.
executives said the iGware acquisition will not only give the company a foothold
in the burgeoning cloud business, but also expand what it can offer existing
and new customers.
offers expertise in cloud technology software design, with services already
deployed on a large-scale and long-term basis," Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang
said in a statement. "As a mid- to long-term investment objective, the valuable
core technology and capabilities will help create uniqueness for the Acer
brand, and support a vast number of our users based on open platforms."
joins a growing number of tech vendors-including Apple, Hewlett-Packard and
Microsoft-in offering cloud services. Among the inter-related trends driving
demand for such services-research firm Gartner is predicting a $73 billion
market for cloud services by 2015-is the rapid growth in the use of
Internet-connected smartphones and other mobile devices, and the increasing
mobility of both consumers and employees, all of whom are looking for ways to
store and access data over the Internet.
a report released in June, networking
giant Cisco Systems
predicted that by 2015, there will be almost 15 billion
network-connected devices-from smartphones and tablets to notebooks, appliances
and other smart machines-with the average U.S.
citizen having seven connected devices.
reportedly plans to launch Acer Cloud in 2012. The offering will be a Web-based
service designed to encompass its mobile devices, including notebooks, tablets
and phones. Acer negotiations with Nintendo-which used iGware cloud technology
for such devices as its popular Wii game console-indicate that the Acer Cloud
will be used for third-party products as well.
Wang said that the "goal of Acer Cloud is to allow our users to enjoy and
manage all their ICT devices, content and resources with ease by integrating
all Acer product, including PCs, tablets and smart handheld devices, within a
safe and secure environment."
announcement comes at a time of transition for Acer. The company underwent an
executive shakeup in March-which included the resignation
by Gianfranco Lanci as president and CEO
-after disagreements with the board
of directors on the direction of the company. Acer, which bought Gateway's
consumer PC business in 2007, had fought its way into the second-place slot
among the world's top PC vendors-some of that growth due to the popularity of
netbooks during the global recession-but has been hit by soft PC demand in such
mature regions as the United States and Europe and competition from such
devices as Apple's iPad tablet.
the time of Lanci's resignation, Wang said that the company would grow its
reach beyond PCs, the systems were still central of the company's future.
personal computer remains the core of our business," Wang said at the time. "We
have built up a strong foundation and will continue to expand within,
especially in the commercial PC segment. In addition, we are stepping into the
new mobile device market, where we will invest cautiously and aim to become one
of the leading players."
also is offering its own tablets as well as pursuing other avenues, including plans
to release an "ultrabook"
later this year. Ultrabooks represent a new
segment of the computer industry introduced by Intel in May. Intel officials
see ultrabooks as ultra-thin and light notebooks that offer the performance of
a mainstream system and features seen in tablets, including instant-on,
always-connected and-eventually-touch capabilities.
appeared split on Acer's acquisition of iGware. Some liked the idea, but others
said the vendor should spend more time focusing on its core PC business.
doesn't need to have its own cloud computing business," Vincent Chen, an
analyst at Yuanta, told the Wall
. "It can lease data storage from other telecom
companies. ... It seems to me Acer is getting overly ambitious again."