Acer Names New Chairman Amid Cloud Push

Co-founder George Huang takes over as chairman, promising to continue Acer's Build Your Own Cloud initiative.


Acer replaced one co-founder with another as board chairman as the onetime PC powerhouse looks to build up its financial fortunes after several years of struggling.

Acer's board of directors on June 18 named George Huang the new chairman, replacing Stan Shih, who announced in May that he would retire this month. Both Shih and Huang returned to Acer in late 2013 after an executive turnover that saw both the CEO and president resign amid continued poor financial results.

Shih came in as chairman, while Huang oversaw the company's plan to restructure and transform the company. While Acer will continue making PCs and tablets, it is expanding its focus on other devices and on creating personal cloud services for consumers, an effort executives call Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC).

"We now need to build on the foundations of our existing PC, tablet, smart phone and other hardware products to strengthen overall product competitiveness," Huang said in a statement. "Acer's BYOC has huge potential for development and we will actively embrace new opportunities that arise in era of the cloud."

Acer several years ago was the world's second-largest PC vendor due, in large part, to its netbook business. However, netbooks quickly lost favor in the industry, and the company has been hit by the downturn in PC sales globally as tablets and smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung have become more popular.

In late December, Acer officials announced the BYOC initiative, which will enable consumers and business users to build personal clouds on their own devices, integrating their PC and mobile devices for accessing data, such as music and photos. Acer also will build an ecosystem around the BYOC strategy by designing and enhancing its own apps and bringing in partners, and will offer software and services designed to help consumers build their clouds. Users' devices—from PCs to smartphones to tablets—will become the foundations for their personal clouds, enabling them to access content on their PCs from any device over the Internet, the company has said.

Acer is expected to launch BYOC offerings in the third quarter, and is opening a BYOC center in Taiwan later this month. The company's private cloud push will rival similar efforts by Apple and Lenovo, though it will be different, Shih said in an interview on CNBC last month.

"They are not open," he said, referring to competitor offerings. "We have a very solid, scalable, secure cloud platform. We've worked on it for many, many years. This is a cloud platform that is open for the industry."