Acer, the embattled PC maker less than a month after overhauling its top executive positions, wants to remake itself as a PC vendor that also offers cloud software and services.
The company is looking to leverage the cloud computing capabilities it already has—inherited through such deals as the $320 million acquisition of cloud specialist iGware in 2011—with its strength in PCs and other consumer computing devices to become what officials are calling a "hardware plus software and services" vendor.
A key to that vision will be the company's Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) offering, announced Dec. 18 by founder Stan Shih, who returned to the company in November as president and CEO after the executives who previously held those positions resigned following disappointing financial numbers over the past several years.
According to Shih, the company more than a decade ago began to lay the foundation for what would be Acer's cloud technology, with the development of the Basic Computer (BC) and Specific Usage Computing (XC) initiatives and the Mega Infrastructure, Micro Services idea for e-services as part of a larger vision Acer called its eData Center business. Over the last two years, the company created AcerCloud and apps, a file-sharing and media management solution that enables users to retrieve and share multimedia and data files via a range of computing devices.
The iGware acquisition—Acer renamed the company Acer Cloud Technologies, or ACTI—further enhanced Acer's capabilities in managing its cloud application platform.
"We are embarking on this transformation based on our existing core capabilities. On the one hand, with our PC and mobile devices we have sufficient strength and scale," Shih said in a statement, noting the BC and XC concepts. "It can be said we have already sown the seeds for cloud technology long ago. This was further developed two years ago when we acquired iGware … to focus on developing the cloud business."
Through Acer's BYOC plan, consumers will be able to build their own personal clouds on their own devices, enabling them to integrate their PC and mobile devices for accessing data, such as music and photos. In addition, Acer will design and enhance its own apps to improve the customer experience, and will offer other software and services to help consumers build their own clouds, according to officials. The self-built clouds will be based on Acer's Open Platform technology.
Gartner analysts have said personal clouds will grow in popularity during 2014, with consumers using a range of devices and the personal clouds becoming the primary hubs among them.