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The future is here: Yes, it is Microsoft Surface 2 with modern apps only! (And ARM, not x86/x64!)

This video is speaking for itself (and for the title): Why I Love my Microsoft Surface 2 : Tips and Tricks [Sean Ong YouTube channel, Nov 3, 2013]

In this video I show off my favorite features in the Microsoft Surface 2, with windows 8.1 RT. I show off voice control (windows speech recognition), multiple monitor support, and a variety of accessories via USB hub (including external hard drive, mouse, keyboard, and Xbox 360 controller integration). I show how I connect the Surface 2 to my HDTV as well as wireless casting of music and video! I also go through some other features, such as Spotify web player, and icloud web. Also kid friendly applications and multiple accounts. There’s so much stuff this thing can do, it will blow your mind away

That is how Sean Ong, a senior consultant at Navigant (focussing there on “technical, economic, and policy analysis of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems”) and himself an energy analysis engineer, was able to present the above, truly incredible customer value from current and especially future point of view for Windows 8.1 in geneneral and Surface 2 (ARM based) in particular. It is even more remarkable as nobody, I REPEAT NOBODY, from Microsoft worldwide could do that. I know even a highly professional, true world class Windows 8/Windows 8.1 expert who was not only fascinated himself by the above video, but acknowledged honestly that he was unaware of the speech recognition progress in Windows 8.1. And we are talking about an internal expert who has already been involved in the internal expert network of similar, most devoted Microsoft specialists in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 for years.

For me this video is incredibly important because:

NOT ONLY FOR THE FUTURE OF MICROSOFT BUT FOR THE WHOLE STATE OF COMPUTING
AS THE MISSING COMMUNICATIONS FROM MICROSOFT, EVEN THE TOTAL INABILITY OF MICROSOFT TO COMMUNICATE THE INHERENT WINDOWS 8.1/SURFACE 2 VALUES, WERE CLEARLY POINTING TO TOTAL LACK OF MARKETING COMPETENCY FOR ITS GAME-CHANGING, MICROSOFT-ONLY, POST PC AREA INNOVATIONS INHERENT IN WINDOWS 8.1/SURFACE 2

Although these signs (both the positive and negative ones) were coupled with a number of competitive positive changes for Microsoft, such as:

But a number of competitive negative changes for Microsoft became even more worrisome (than any time before) lately, such as:

Fortunately we already know:

Board of directors initiates succession process; Ballmer remains CEO until successor is named.
Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process. This committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”
“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has always been a speaker and performer like no other — his absolute enthusiasm for his company is electric in person, turning ordinary corporate events into raw displays of emotion that are often criticized but never forgotten. Read more at The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/27/4779036/exclusive-video-steve-ballmers-intense-tearful-goodbye-to-microsoft
Steve Ballmer paced his corner office on a foggy January morning here, listening through loudspeakers to his directors’ voices on a call that would set in motion the end of his 13-year reign as Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT -0.47% chief executive.
Microsoft lagged behind Apple Inc. AAPL -0.60% and Google Inc. GOOG -0.16% in important consumer markets, despite its formidable software revenue. Mr. Ballmer tried to spell out his plan to remake Microsoft, but a director cut him off, telling him he was moving too slowly.
“Hey, dude, let’s get on with it,” lead director John Thompson says he told him. “We’re in suspended animation.” Mr. Ballmer says he replied that he could move faster.
But the contentious call put him on a difficult journey toward his August decision to retire, sending Microsoft into further tumult as it began seeking a successor to a man who has been at its heart for 33 years.
“Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,” the 57-year-old Mr. Ballmer says, pausing as his eyes well up. “As much as I love everything about what I’m doing,” he says, “the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.”
Mr. Ballmer, in a series of exclusive interviews tinged with his characteristic bluster and wistfulness, tells of how he came to believe that he couldn’t lead Microsoft forward—that, in fact, Microsoft would not be led by him because of the very corporate culture he had helped instill.
Mr. Ballmer and his board have been in agreement: Microsoft, while maintaining its strong software business, must shake up its management structure and refocus on mobile devices and online services if it is to find future profit growth and reduce its dependence on the fading PC market.
The board’s beef was speed. The directors “didn’t push Steve to step down,” says Mr. Thompson, a longtime technology executive who heads the board’s CEO-search committee, “but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster.”
Investors, too, were pushing for transformation. “At this critical juncture, Wall Street wants new blood to bring fundamental change,” says Brent Thill, a longtime Microsoft analyst at UBS AG. “Steve was a phenomenal leader who racked up profits and market share in the commercial business, but the new CEO must innovate in areas Steve missed—phone, tablet, Internet services, even wearables.”
The Microsoft board’s list of possible successors includes, among others, former Nokia Corp. NOK1V.HE +0.25% CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft enterprise-software chief Satya Nadella and Ford Motor Co. F -0.12% CEO Alan Mulally, say people familiar with the search. In conjunction with Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting Nov. 19, the board plans to meet and will discuss succession, says a person familiar with the schedule.
Representatives for Mr. Elop and Mr. Nadella say the men have no comment on the search. A Ford spokesman says “nothing has changed” since November 2012, when Ford said Mr. Mulally would remain CEO through at least 2014, adding: “Alan remains absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan. We do not engage in speculation.”
Microsoft’s next chief will be only the third in its history. Mr. Ballmer joined in 1980 at the suggestion of his Harvard University pal, co-founder Bill Gates, and is its second-largest individual shareholder and a billionaire.
After growing up in Detroit, where his father was a Ford manager, Mr. Ballmer roomed down the hall from Mr. Gates at Harvard. He dropped his Stanford M.B.A. studies to become Microsoft’s first business manager.
He was Mr. Gates’s right-hand man, helping turn Microsoft into a force that redefined how the world used computers. He took the reins in 2000, further solidifying Microsoft’s position in software markets and keeping the profit engine humming. Revenue tripled during his tenure to almost $78 billion in the year ended this June, and profit grew 132% to nearly $22 billion.
But while profit rolled in from Microsoft’s traditional markets, it missed epic changes, including Web-search advertising and the consumer shift to mobile devices and social media.
Last year, Mr. Ballmer sought to reboot. In an October shareholder letter, he declared Microsoft would become a provider of “devices and services” for businesses and individuals.
He told the board he wanted to lead the charge and remain until his youngest son graduated from high school in four years. He began his own succession planning by meeting potential candidates in what he calls “cloak-and-dagger” meetings.
Mr. Ballmer’s reboot plan required a corporate overhaul. For guidance, he called his longtime friend, Ford’s Mr. Mulally, once a top Boeing Co. BA +0.73% executive. They met Christmas Eve at a Starbucks on Mercer Island near Seattle.
Mr. Ballmer brought a messenger bag, pulling out onto a table an array of phones and tablets from Microsoft and competitors. He asked Mr. Mulally how he turned around Ford. For four hours, he says, Mr. Mulally detailed how teamwork and simplifying the Ford brand helped him reposition it.
The Ford spokesman says: “Ford and Microsoft have a long-standing business partnership, and many of our leaders discuss business together frequently.”
It was a wake-up call for Mr. Ballmer, who had run the software giant with bravado and concedes that “I’m big, I’m bald and I’m loud.”
Microsoft’s culture included corporate silos where colleagues were often pitted against one another—a competitive milieu that spurred innovation during Microsoft’s heyday but now sometimes leaves groups focused on their own legacies and bottom lines rather than on the big technology picture and Microsoft as a whole.
He recalls thinking: “I’ll remake my whole playbook. I’ll remake my whole brand.”
The board liked his new plan. But as Mr. Ballmer prepared to implement it, his directors on the January conference call demanded he expedite it.
Pushing hardest, say participants, were Mr. Thompson, who had held top jobs at International Business Machines Corp. IBM +0.54% and Symantec Corp. SYMC +0.38%, and Stephen Luczo, CEO of Seagate Technology STX -2.33% PLC. Mr. Luczo declines to comment.
“But, I didn’t want to shift gears until I shipped Windows,” Mr. Ballmer says he told the directors on the call, explaining that he hadn’t moved faster in late 2012 because he was focused on releasing in October the next generation of Windows, Microsoft’s longtime cash cow.
Mr. Ballmer swung into gear, drafting a management-reorganization plan to discuss during a March retreat at a Washington mountain resort. He invited Mr. Thompson and another director, to get board perspective on his plan.
Instead, he got more pressure. Mr. Thompson says he told Mr. Ballmer and his executives: “Either get on the bus or get off.”
Mr. Ballmer says he took that as an endorsement of his plan. That evening, some of them played poker, drank Scotch and gathered around the lodge’s fireplace.
The next month, hedge fund ValueAct Capital disclosed a $2 billion Microsoft stake. ValueAct’s CEO Jeffrey Ubben at a conference said Microsoft’s stock was undervalued. Other shareholders were urging it to increase its dividend and shed noncore businesses. A ValueAct spokesman declines further comment. In September, Microsoft increased its dividend but hasn’t sold off businesses investors have urged it to, such as the Bing search engine.
Mr. Ballmer hewed to Mr. Mulally’s recommendations. For years, he had consulted with Microsoft’s unit chiefs individually, often dispensing marching orders. Now, he began inviting them to sit together in a circle in his office to foster camaraderie.
It was a lurching corporate-culture change. “It’s not the way we operated at all in Steve’s 30-plus years of leadership of the company,” says Mr. Nadella, an executive vice president.
Mr. Ballmer says his senior team struggled with the New Steve. Some resisted on matters large—combining engineering teams—and small, such as weekly status reports.
Qi Lu, an executive vice president, submitted a 56-page report on applications and services. Mr. Ballmer sent it back, insisting on just three pages—part of a new mandate to encourage the simplicity needed for collaboration. Mr. Lu says he retorted: “But you always want the data and detail!”
Mr. Ballmer says he started to realize he had trained managers to see the trees, not the forest, and that many weren’t going to take his new mandates to heart.
In May, he began wondering whether he could meet the pace the board demanded. “No matter how fast I want to change, there will be some hesitation from all constituents—employees, directors, investors, partners, vendors, customers, you name it—to believe I’m serious about it, maybe even myself,” he says.
His personal turning point came on a London street. Winding down from a run one morning during a May trip, he had a few minutes to stroll, some rare spare time for recent months. For the first time, he began thinking Microsoft might change faster without him.
“At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern,” he says. “Face it: I’m a pattern.”
Mr. Ballmer says he secretly began drafting retirement letters—ultimately some 40 of them, ranging from maudlin to radical.
On a plane from Europe in late May, he told Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith that itmight be the time for me to go.” The next day, Mr. Ballmer called Mr. Thompson, with the same message.
Mr. Thompson called two other directors, Mr. Luczo and Charles Noski, former Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.84% vice chairman, and says he told them: “If Steve’s ready to go, let’s see if we can get on with this.”
At the board’s June meeting in Bellevue, Wash., Mr. Ballmer says he told the directors: “While I would like to stay here a few more years, it doesn’t make sense for me to start the transformation and for someone else to come in during the middle.”
The board wasn’t “surprised or shocked,” says Mr. Noski, given directors’ conversations with Mr. Ballmer. Mr. Thompson says he and others indicated that “fresh eyes and ears might accelerate what we’re trying to do here.”
Mr. Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, told Mr. Ballmer that he understood from experience how hard it was to leave when Microsoft was your “life,” says someone familiar with Mr. Gates’s thinking. Mr. Gates told the board he supported Mr. Ballmer’s departure if it ensured Microsoft “remains successful,” this person says.
That night, after Mr. Ballmer watched his son sing at his high-school baccalaureate ceremony—a Coldplay song with the lyrics: “It’s such a shame for us to part; nobody said it was easy; no one ever said it would be this hard”—he says he told his wife and three sons he was probably leaving Microsoft. They all cried.
On Aug. 21, the board held a conference call to accept Mr. Ballmer’s retirement. Mr. Gates and Mr. Thompson sat with Mr. Ballmer in his office. It was over in less than an hour.
Mr. Ballmer vows not to be a lame duck.
“Charge! Charge! Charge!” he bellows, jumping up from an interview and lunging forward while pumping his fist forward like a battering ram. “I’m not going to wimp away from anything!”
He has remained active, shepherding a $7.5 billion deal to buy Nokia’s mobile businesses and fine-tuning holiday-marketing strategies for Microsoft’s Surface tablets and new Xbox game console. In October, Microsoft reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
At his final annual employee meeting this September, Mr. Ballmer gave high-fives and ran off the stage to the song: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
Last month, walking along Lake Washington, Mr. Ballmer bumped into Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was fired from earlier jobs and now is thriving. Mr. Carroll says he told his neighbor he went through “something like this” and predicted it is “going to be great.”
Mr. Ballmer says he is weighing casual offers as varied as university teaching and coaching his youngest son’s high-school basketball team. He plans no big decisions for at least six months—except that he won’t run another big company. He says he’s open to remaining a Microsoft director.
At a recent executive meeting, he perched on a stool to review developments. His third slide was labeled “New CEO.”
“Not a soul in this room doesn’t think we need to go through this transition,” he said. As he stood up, his voice started to crack: “As much as I wish I could stay your CEO, I still own a big chunk of Microsoft, and I’m going to keep it.”
He walked back toward the stool, then turned around and said in a near-whisper: “Please take good care of Microsoft.”

You could read also Reporter’s Notebook: Two Days With Steve Ballmer [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 15, 2013] ending this way: 

… This summer when he was deciding whether to step down, Mr. Ballmer quietly met with big institutional investors in Boston and San Francisco. The head of one big institution told him, “Microsoft would be better served with you gone.” Mr. Ballmer, who’s the second largest individual shareholder, knew the investor might get his wish. Yet, he argued, “Who cares more about Microsoft than I do? I own a lot. It’s my life.”

And that showed how his emotions alternate between bluster and wistfulness. The deed is done, the decision has been made, a new CEO is imminent. But Mr. Ballmer is struggling because Microsoft has been so much more than a job … as he said, “my life.”

My closing remarks:

  1. The next CEO problem to be solved is definitely the #1 issue for the future of the Microsoft
  2. The #2 issue is how successfully the Unique Nokia assets (from factories to global device distribution & sales, and the Asha sub $100 smartphone platform etc.) will now empower the One Microsoft devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3, 2013] for which the Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 4, 2013] is providing an interim answer, i.e. till the arrival of the new CEO
  3. The #3 isssue is How the device play will unfold in the new Microsoft organization? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]. If Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, and a previous senior executive of Microsoft, will become the next CEO then Minutes of a high-octane but also expert evangelist CEO: Stephen Elop, Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 13, 2013] could provide some clue for changes to be expected as a strategic evolution of the current one described in the already mentioned [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]. Even in case when he will not be selected by the Microsoft board as the next CEO he will have very strong influence on the device play for the initial first year integration of the acquired Nokia businesses into Microsoft, for very simple reason, that nobody could do this, and a successfull integration is a higher priority, #2 issue.
  4. Strategically, however, the most important issue is the
  5. Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2013]

  6. Everything else which might be a crucial issue during this process is highly controversial, without any official clues from Microsoft or any other stakeholder sources. The most controversial among all of them is the issue of non-profitable and/or not necessarily integral to Microsoft businesses. These are the Bing and the Xbox businesses. The range of external opinions is extremely large with investment circles firmly believing that neither Bing nor Xbox are inherently integral to Microsoft, and most of the external development community with an exacly opposite belief of those businesses being inherently internal.

  7. My personal opinion is that with spin-off both extremes could be served sufficiently well, and even open completely new business development opportunities for both Bing and Xbox to grow substantially faster and bigger than otherwise. I would be especially enthusiastic for an Xbox spin-off as that business is already (with upcoming Oct 22 introduction of Xbox One) not a gaming console, but an entertainment ecosystem type of business. As such it would get enormous growth opportunities with its spin-off from the tightly integrated Microsoft mother ship.

  8. The ultimate issue for me, however, is how the currently quite crippled and/or bureaucratic marketing machinery of Microsoft could be completely overhauled as part of Nokia integration, and how fast that could be achieved, if any? I mean a new marketing machinery which is thriving on the huge number of opportunities provided by already delivered game-changing products and technologies, instead of not understanding them at all. I mean not simply an ability to produce videos like the one in the beginning of this post, but a competency to produce whole storyboards for production of such videos and other communication materials. One might call it “high-octane marketing” for simplicity. Even more I envisage such integration of the marketing activities into the whole supply chain management (SCM) as is done in Samsung. See my Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post for that, from which I will copy the following illustration here as well:

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Xamarin: C# developers of native “business” and “mobile workforce” applications now can easily work cross-platform, for Android and iOS clients as well

… while other cross-platform applications, i.e. “applications for consumers only” are prohibited for C# developers by the still high price of Xamarin, which essentially applies to indie and start-up developers only

The mobile application development technology behind this, from the cloud to the clients, was extensively covered in Windows Phone 8: getting much closer to a unified development platform with Windows 8 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 8, 2012] post of mine (including the cross-platform possibilities with Xamarin already), and then continued in Windows Azure becoming an unbeatable offering on the cloud computing market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 28, 2013] and Microsoft partners empowered with ‘cloud first’, high-value and next-gen experiences for big data, enterprise social, and mobility on wide variety of Windows devices and Windows Server + Windows Azure + Visual Studio as the platform [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 10, 2013] posts for the cloud part.

Note: Decide for yourself how that “consumers only applications by indie and start-up developers” type of exclusion will effect the cross platform development needs, after you take a look at the current state of the evolution of smartphone and tablet markets:

 

Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones 
[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]

The tablet market in Q1-Q3’13: It was mainly shaped by white-box vendors while Samsung was quite successfully attacking both Apple and the white-box vendors with triple digit growth both worldwide and in Mainland China 
[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]


Details

For one of the problems solved now by Microsoft see my Obstacles for .NET on other platforms [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 15, 2013] post.

To understand what is the situation now I will start with:

In: Cross Platform .NET Just A Lot Got Better [Haacked blog, Nov 13, 2013]

Not long ago I wrote a blog post about how platform restrictions harm .NET. This led to a lot of discussion online and on Twitter. At some point David Kean suggested a more productive approach would be to create a UserVoice issue. So I did and it quickly gathered a lot of votes.

Phil Haack – Customer Feedback for Microsoft http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/users/40986152-phil-haack:

Remove the platform restriction on Microsoft NuGet packages 4,929 votes
Phil Haack shared this idea and gave it 3 votes  ·  Sep 26, 2013

COMPLETED  ·  Visual Studio team (Product Team, Microsoft) responded
Thanks a lot for this suggestion and all the votes.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve removed the Windows-only restriction from our license. We’ve applied this new license to most of our packages and will continue to use this license moving forward.
Here is our announcement:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dotnet/archive/2013/11/13/pcl-and-net-nuget-libraries-are-now-enabled-for-xamarin.aspx
For reference, the license for stable packages can be found here:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=329770
Thanks,
Immo Landwerth
Program Manager, .NET Framework Team
Phil Haack commented  ·  Nov 13, 2013
Amazing! Thanks! This is great!

Bravo!

Serious Kudos to the .NET team for this. It looks like most of the interesting PCL packages are now licensed without platform restrictions. As an example of how this small change sends out ripples of goodness, we can now make Octokit.net depend on portable HttpClient and make Octokit.net itself more cross platform and portable without a huge amount of work.

I’m also excited about the partnership between Microsoft and Xamarin this represents. I do believe C# is a great language for cross-platform development and it’s good to see Microsoft jumping back on board with this. This is a marked change from the situation I wrote about in 2012.

  • then will go to S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division at Microsoft:

In: Visual Studio 2013 Launch: Announcing Visual Studio Online [Somasegar’s blog, Nov 13, 2013]

… Microsoft and Xamarin are collaborating to help .NET developers broaden the reach of their applications to additional devices, including iOS and Android …

Partner News

With today’s launch of Visual Studio 2013, we have 123 products from 74 partners available already as Visual Studio 2013 extensions.  As part of an ecosystem of developer tools experiences, Visual Studio continues to be a platform for delivering a great breadth of developer experiences.

Xamarin

The devices and services transformation is driving developers to think about how they will build applications that reach the greatest breadth of devices and end-user experiences.  We’ve offered great HTML-based cross platform development experiences in Visual Studio with ASP.NET and JavaScript.  But our .NET developers have also asked us how they can broaden the reach of their applications and skills. 

Today, I am excited to announce a broad collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin.  Xamarin’s solution enables developers to leverage Visual Studio, Windows Azure and .NET to further extend the reach of their business applications across multiple devices, including iOS and Android.

The collaboration between Xamarin and Microsoft brings several benefits for developers today.  First, as an initial step in a technical partnership, Xamarin’s next release that is being announced today will support Portable Class Libraries, enabling developers to share libraries and components across a breadth of Microsoft and non-Microsoft platformsSecond, Professional, Premium and Ultimate MSDN subscribers will have access to exclusive benefits for getting started with Xamarin, including new training resources, extended evaluation access to Xamarin’s Visual Studio integration and special pricing on Xamarin products.

Xamarin, the company that empowers developers to build fully native apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac from a single shared code base, today announced a global collaboration with Microsoft that makes it easy for mobile developers to build native mobile apps for all major platforms in Visual Studio. Xamarin is the only solution that unifies native iOS, Android and Windows app development in Visual Studio—bridging one of the largest developer bases in the world to the most successful mobile device platforms.

A highly competitive app marketplace and the consumerization of IT have put tremendous pressure on developers to deliver high quality mobile user experiences for both consumers and employees. A small bug or crash can lead to permanent app abandonment or poor reviews. Device fragmentation, with hundreds of devices on the market for iOS and Android alone, multiplies testing efforts resulting in a time-consuming and costly development process. This is further complicated by faster release cycles for mobile, necessitating more stringent and efficient regression testing.

The collaboration spans three areas:

  • A technical collaboration to better integrate Xamarin technology with Microsoft developer tools and services.
    Aligned with this goal, Xamarin is a SimShip partner for Visual Studio 2013, releasing same-day support for Microsoft’s latest Visual Studio release that launched today. In addition, Xamarin has released today full integration for Microsoft’s Portable Library projects in iOS and Android apps, making it easier than ever for developers to share code across devices.
  • Xamarin’s recently launched Xamarin University is now free to MSDN subscribers. The training course helps developers become successful with native iOS and Android development over the course of 30 days. Classes for the $1,995 program kick off in January 2014, with a limited number of seats available at no cost for MSDN subscribers.
  • MSDN subscribers have exclusive trial and pricing options to Xamarin subscriptions for individuals and teams.

    Get a 90-day trial to Xamarin, sign up for Xamarin University for free (normally $1,995), and save 30-50% on Xamarin with special MSDN pricing.
    All the productivity you love in Visual Studio and C#,
    on iOS and Android.

The broad collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin which we announced today is targeted at supporting developers interested in extending their applications across multiple devices, said S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation. With Xamarin, developers combine all of the productivity benefits of C#, Visual Studio 2013 and Windows Azure with the flexibility to quickly build for multiple device targets.

According to Gartner, by 2016, 70 percent of the mobile workforce will have a smartphone, half of which will be purchased by the employee, and 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more platforms to support. Faced with high expectations for mobile user experiences and the pressures of BYOD, companies and developers alike are looking for scalable ways to migrate business practices and customer interactions to high-performance, native apps on multiple platforms.

To meet this need to support heterogeneous mobile environments, Microsoft and Xamarin are making it easy for developers to mobilize their existing skills and code. By standardizing mobile app development with Xamarin and C#, developers are able to share on average 75 percent of their source code across device platforms, while still delivering fully native apps. Xamarin supports 100 percent of both iOS and Android APIsanything that can be done in Objective-C or Java can be done in C# with Xamarin.

In just two years, Xamarin has amassed a community of over 440,000 developers in 70 countries, more than 20,000 paying accounts and a network of over 120 consulting partners globally.

We live in a multi-platform world, and by embracing Xamarin, Microsoft is enabling its developer community to thrive as mobile developers, said Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder, Xamarin. Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate enterprise mobility for millions of developers.

The groundbreaking partnership was announced as part of the Visual Studio Live 2013 launch event in New York City. In addition, Xamarin and Microsoft have teamed up with the popular podcast, .NET Rocks!, for a 20-city nationwide road show featuring live demos on how to use Visual Studio 2013, Xamarin and Windows Azure to build and scale mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows. For a full list of cities and to sign up for an event, please visit: xamarin.com/modern-apps-roadshow

About Xamarin
Xamarin is the new standard for enterprise mobile development. No other platform enables businesses to reach all major devices—iOS, Android, Mac and Windows—with 100 percent fully native apps from a single code base. With Xamarin, businesses standardize mobile app development in C#, share on average 75 percent source code across platforms, and leverage their existing skills, teams, tools and code to rapidly deliver great apps with broad reach. Xamarin is used by over 430,000 developers from more than 100 Fortune 500 companies and over 20,000 paying customers including Clear Channel, Bosch, McKesson, Halliburton, Cognizant, GitHub, Rdio and WebMD, to accelerate the creation of mission-critical consumer and enterprise apps. For more information, please visit: xamarin.com, read our blog, and follow us on Twitter @xamarinhq.

Earlier today, Soma announced a collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin. As you probably know, Xamarin’s Visual Studio extension enables developers to use VS and .NET to extend the reach of their apps across multiple devices, including iOS and Android. As part of that collaboration, today, we are announcing two releases around the .NET portable class libraries (PCLs) that support this collaboration:

Microsoft .NET NuGet Libraries Released

Today we released the following portable libraries with our new license, on NuGet.org:

You can now start using these libraries with Xamarin tools, either directly or as the dependencies of portable libraries that you reference.

We also took the opportunity to apply the same license to Microsoft .NET NuGet libraries, which aren’t fully portable today, like Entity Framework and all of the Microsoft AspNet packages. These libraries target the full .NET Framework, so they’re not intended to be used with Xamarin’s iOS and Android tools (just like they don’t target Windows Phone or Windows Store).

These releases will enable significantly more use of these common libraries across Windows and non-Windows platforms, including in open source projects.

Cross-platform app developers can now use PCL

imagePortable class libraries are a great option for app developers building for Microsoft platforms in Visual Studio, to share key business functionality across Microsoft platforms. Many developers use the PCL technology today, for example, to share app logic across Windows Store and Windows Phone. Today’s announcement enables developers using Xamarin’s tools to share these libraries as well.

In Visual Studio, you’ll continue to use Portable Class Library projects but will be able to reference them from within Xamarin’s tools for VS. That means that you can write rich cross-platform libraries and take advantage of them from all of your .NET apps.

The following image demonstrates an example set of .NET NuGet library references that you can use within one of your portable libraries. The .NET NuGet libraries will enable new scenarios and great new libraries built on top of them.

You can build cross-platform libraries with .NET

This announcement also benefits .NET developers writing reusable and open source libraries. You’ve probably used some of these libraries, for example Json.NET. These developers have been very vocal about wanting this change. This announcement greatly benefits those library developers, enabling them to leverage our portable libraries in their libraries.

Getting started with portable libraries and Xamarin

You can start by building portable libraries in Visual Studio, as you can see in the screenshot above. You can take advantage of the portable libraries that we released today. Write code!

You’ll need an updated NuGet client, to take advantage of this new scenario. Make sure that you are using NuGet 2.7.2 or higher, or just download the latest NuGet for your VS version from the Installing NuGet page.

We are working closely with Xamarin to ensure that our NuGet libraries work well with Xamarin tools, as well as PCL generally. Please tell us if you find any issues. We’ll get them resolved and post them to our known issues page.

Thank You

Thank you for the feedback on UserVoice. With today’s announcement, we can mark the request to Remove the platform restriction on Microsoft NuGet packages as complete. Thanks to Phil Haack for filing the issue. Coupled with our collaboration with Xamarin, .NET developers have some compelling tools, especially for targeting mobile devices.

Both Microsoft and Xamarin want to see this scenario succeed. We’d love your feedback. Please tell us how the new features are working for you.

This post was written by Rich Lander, a Program Manager on the .NET Team.

[Some] Comments

Immo Landwerth [MSFT] 13 Nov 2013 1:24 PM

Thanks a lot for the kind words!

@Curt: We absolutely understand that PCL support in Visual Studio express editions is super important to many of our developers. That’s why it’s on our list. However, I can’t promise that we actually end up delivering it in the VS 2013 time frame. As you’ve seen today, there is a lot of great stuff going on and resources are always more scarce than one would hope.

Gz 14 Nov 2013 4:19 AM

Xamarin is great but their pricing is insane! even with the MSDN discount. We’re a tiny start-up development house that has benefited from the MS BizSpark programme and we simply cannot stretch to paying out a thousand bucks per platform, per year, per developer – mobile isn’t even a revenue generator for us – it would merely be extending some functionality from our main apps to mobile and we’d give it to customers for free. I know they have a free & an indie edition blah blah blah but we wanna work in VS. The good news is that Xamarin will soon have a competitor in this space that could potentially blow them out of the water with full VS support and direct access to native APIs on each platform (iOS, Android & Mac) and their pricing will be less than 1/3rd of Xamarin’s. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about it but expect to have a cost-effective Xamarin alternative before the end of the year. (No I don’t work for the company, just got some info about it recently).

Stilgar 14 Nov 2013 8:30 AM

I second the need for PCLs in Express editions. Otherwise your company’s constant claims that the tooling for Windows 8 and Windows Phone development is free is pure hypocrisy.

TL;DR: You can now (legally) use our .NET OData client and ODataLib on Android and iOS.

Backstory

For a while now we have been working with our legal team to improve the terms you agree to when you use one of our libraries (WCF Data Services, our OData client, or ODataLib). A year and a half ago, we announced that our EULA would include a redistribution clause. With the release of WCF Data Services 5.6.0, we introduced portable libraries for two primary reasons:

    1. Portable libraries reduce the amount of duplicate code and #ifdefs in our code base.

    2. Portable libraries increase our reach through third-party tooling like Xamarin (more on that later).

      It took some work to get there, and we had to make some sacrifices along the way, but we are now focused exclusively on portable libraries for client-side code. Unfortunately, our EULA still contained a clause that prevented the redistributable code from being legally used on a platform other than Windows.

      OData and Xamarin: Extending developer reach to many platforms

      We are really excited about Microsoft’s new collaboration with Xamarin. As Soma says, this collaboration will allow .NET developers to broaden the reach of their applications and skills. This has long been the mantra of ODataa standardized ecosystem of services and consumers that enables consumers on any platform to easily consume services developed on any platform. This collaboration will make it much easier to write a shared code base that allows consumption of OData on Windows, Android or iOS.

      EULA change

      To fully enable this scenario, we needed to update our EULA. We, along with several other teams at Microsoft, are rolling out a new EULA today that has relaxed the distribution requirements. Most importantly, we removed the clause that prevented redistributable code from being used on Android and iOS.

      The new EULA is effective immediately for all of our NuGet packages. This means that (even though we already released 5.6.0) you can create a Xamarin project today, take a new dependency on our OData client, and legally run that application on any platform you wish.

      Thanks

      As always, we really appreciate your feedback. It frequently takes us some time to react, but the credit for this change is due entirely to customer feedback. We hear you. Keep it coming.

      Thanks,
      The OData Team

      Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones

      Details about Samsung’s strengths you can find inside the Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post of mine.

      My findings supporting the above title:

      • 205 million Android smartphones were delivered in Q3’13, representing 15.2% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 67.3% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
      • Meanwhile the number of Apple iPhones shipped increased only to 33.8 million, growing by 8.3% sequentially (Q/Q), but still representing a 25.65% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
      • The shipment of “proper” smartphones from Nokia (S60/Symbian and Lumia/Windows Phone) increased to 8.8 million units, representing 18.9% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 39.7% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)

      image

      Than for the lead smartphone market, i.e. Mainland China I will include here:

      There were 102.66 million handsets sold in the China market during the third quarter of 2013, growing 13.6% on quarter and 54.5% on year, of which 93.08 million units were smartphones, increasing 20.7% on quarter and 89.3% on year, according to China-based consulting company Analysys International.

      image

      While for the worldwide market:

      Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad have taken advantage of the surging low-end smartphone market. According to IC Insights, the four major China-based handset companies are forecast to ship 168 million smartphones in 2013 and together hold a 17% share of the worldwide smartphone market.
      Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad shipped a combined 98 million smartphones in 2012, a more than 300% surge from the 29 million units shipped in 2011, IC Insights disclosed. It should be noted that the China-based suppliers of smartphones are primarily serving the China and Asia-Pacific marketplace, and offer low-end models that typically sell for less than US$200.
      Low-end smartphones are expected to represent just under one-third (310 million) of the total 975 million smartphones shipped in 2013. IC Insights forecast that by 2017, low-end smartphone shipments will represent 46% of the total smartphone market with China and the Asia-Pacific region to remain the primary markets for these low-end models.
      Samsung Electronics and Apple are set to continue dominating the total smartphone market in 2013. The two vendors are forecast to ship 457 million units and together hold a 47% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights said. In 2012, Samsung and Apple shipped 354 million smartphones and took a combined 50% share of the total smartphone market.
      Nokia was third-largest supplier of smartphones behind Samsung and Apple in 2011, but has seen its share of the smartphone market fall. Nokia’s smartphone shipments are forecast to decline by another 4% and grab an only 3% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights indicated.
      Other smartphone producers that have fallen on hard times include RIM and HTC. While each of these companies had about a 10% share of the smartphone market in 2011, IC Insights estimated they will have only about 2% shares of the 2013 smartphone market.

      image

      Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Sales of smartphones accounted for 55 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013, and reached their highest share to date.

      Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012. Asia/Pacific led the growth in both markets – the smartphone segment with 77.3 percent increase and the mobile phone segment with 11.9 percent growth. The other regions to show an increase in the overall mobile phone market were Western Europe, which returned to growth for the first time this year, and the Americas.

      “Sales of feature phones continued to decline and the decrease was more pronounced in markets where the average selling price (ASP) for feature phones was much closer to the ASP affordable smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In markets such as China and Latin America, demand for feature phones fell significantly as users rushed to replace their old models with smartphones.”

      Gartner analysts said global mobile phone sales are on pace to reach 1.81 billion units in 2013, a 3.4 percent increase from 2012. “We will see several new tablets enter the market for the holiday season, and we expect consumers in mature markets will favor the purchase of smaller-sized tablets over the replacement of their older smartphones” said Mr. Gupta.

      While Samsung’s share was flat in the third quarter of 2013, Samsung increased its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market (see Table 1). The launch of the Samsung Note 3 helped reaffirm Samsung as the clear leader in the large display smartphone market, which it pioneered.
      Lenovo’s sales of smartphones grew to 12.9 million units, up 84.5 percent year-on-year. It constantly raised share in the Chinese smartphone market.
      Apple’s smartphone sales reached 30.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 23.2 percent from a year ago. “While the arrival of the new iPhones 5s and 5c had a positive impact on overall sales, such impact could have been greater had they not started shipping late in the quarter. While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets,” said Mr. Gupta.

      image

      In the smartphone operating system (OS) market (see Table 2), Android surpassed 80 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013, which helped extend its leading position. “However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft which grew 123 percent. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem,” said Mr. Gupta. Forty-one per cent of all Android sales were in mainland China, compared to 34 percent a year ago. Samsung is the only non-Chinese vendor in the top 10 Android players ranking in China. Whitebox Yulong [Coolpad] is the third largest Android vendor in China with a 9.7 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013. Xiaomi represented 4.3 percent of Android sales in the third quarter of 2013, up from 1.4 percent a year ago.

      image

      Mobile Phone Vendor Perspective

      Samsung: Samsung extended its lead in the overall mobile phone market, as its market share totaled 25.7 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (see Table 3). “While Samsung has started to address its user experience, better design is another area where Samsung needs to focus,” said Mr. Gupta. “Samsung’s recent joint venture with carbon fiber company SGL Group could bring improvements in this area in future products.”
      Nokia: Nokia did better than anticipated in the third quarter of 2013, reaching 63 million mobile phones, thanks to sales of both Lumia and Asha series devices. Increased smartphone sales supported by an expanded Lumia portfolio, helped Nokia move up to the No. 8 spot in the global smartphone market. But regional and Chinese Android device manufacturers continued to beat market demand, taking larger share and creating a tough competitive environment for Lumia devices.
      Apple:  Gartner believes the price difference between the iPhone 5c and 5s is not enough in mature markets, where prices are skewed by operator subsidies, to drive users away from the top of the line model. In emerging markets, the iPhone 4S will continue to be the volume driver at the low end as the lack of subsidy in most markets leaves the iPhone 5c too highly priced to help drive further penetration.
      Lenovo: Lenovo moved to the No. 7 spot in the global mobile phone market, with sales reaching approximately 13 million units in the third quarter of 2013. “Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market, which represents more than 95 per cent of its overall mobile phone sales. This could limit its growth after 2014, when the Chinese market is expected to decelerate,” said Mr. Gupta.

      image

      The tablet market in Q1-Q3’13: It was mainly shaped by white-box vendors while Samsung was quite successfully attacking both Apple and the white-box vendors with triple digit growth both worldwide and in Mainland China

      Details about Samsung’s strengths you can find inside the Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post of mine.

      Note what was communicated in the 2013 global tablet forecast [Dec 11, 2012]:

      • imageDIGITIMES Research forecasts that global tablet shipments (including both branded and white box models) will overtake notebook shipments in 2013, growing by 38.3% on 2012 levels to hit 210 million units.
      • Shipments of branded tablets alone are forecast to reach 140 million units. That is the shipment of white box tablets is forecast to grow to more than 70 million units in 2013. [NS: Q1-Q3’: 62.6 million]
      • DIGITIMES Research also projects that global shipments of branded and white box tablets will top 300 million by 2015, with branded devices accounting for more than 200 million units and white box tablets for around 100 million.

      My findings behind the title statement:

      • White-box vendors from Mainland China delivered 62.6 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 35.4 million a year ago (76.8% growth) per DIGITIMES Research
        (the two latest sources used for that are included in the end)
      • Apple delivered 48.2 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 42.8 million a year ago (12.6% growth) per IDC
        (the IDC sources used are the corresponding quarterly press releases)
      • Samsung delivered 27.3 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 8.7 million a year ago (214% growth) per IDC (with a H1’13 correction from Samsung itself)
      • IDC’s latest forecast couldn’t take properly into the account the group of white-box vendors (44.6 million in “Others” category vs. 62.6 million), even more than a year ago (25.8 million in “Others” category vs. 35.4 million)
      • With such error for Q1-Q3’13 there was a 142.6 million strong worldwide market by IDC vs. 76.4 million a year ago (86.7% growth)
      • Together the white-box vendors, Apple and Samsung, as the market changing vendors/vendor group delivered 132.7 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 86.9 million a year ago (52.7% growth)
      • Meanwhile the “Others” group (with improper inclusion of white-box vendors) by IDC delivered 49.8 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 25.8 million a year ago (93% growth)

      image

      • Mainland China had a 4.4 million strong tablet market in Q3’13 vs. the 44.6 million worldwide market as per IDC. Since white-box vendors sold 25 million tablets worldwide (according to DIGITIMES Reasearch) in Q3’13 vs. only 16.8 million sales in the ‘Others’ category by IDC we can safely raise the 49.8 million number by upto 10 million to upto 60 million. This means that in the current quarter Mainland China constituted at least 8.8% of the worldwide tablet market.
      • The sequential (Q/Q) growth rate on the Mainland China market per Analysis Int. is:
        image
      • Meanwhile the sequential (Q/Q) growth rate on the worldwide market per IDC is:
        image
      • This means that Mainland China has much less seasonality than the worldwide market, which is a sign of greater untapped tablet demand than in other markets of the world. Considering the fact that an unusually large group of local tablet vendors are playing the local brand game in China, while the white-box vendor game outside, any global brand tablet vendor should already participate in the Mainland China market in order to succeed worldwide. Lenovo, Samsung and Microsoft have clearly recognised this:


      image
      (the two latest Analysis International sources used for that are indicated later)

      image

      • Samsung has dramatically increased its market penetration efforts in Q3’13 and succeeded quite well. In fact it was able to push back somewhat the growth rate of the group of local brand vendors (from 170% Q/Q growth rate in Q2’13 to 150% in Q3’13) while significantly increased its own growth rate (from 170% to a whopping 220%).

      image

      • Therefore, if things stay as it is (see the above chart) Samsung will outgrow local brand vendors on the Mainland China market within a year.
      • Otherwise, if the group of local brand vendors will be able to withstand Samsung’s local efforts and significantly improve the value of their own brands, then the outlook may return to a view which could have been forecasted after Q2’13 (see the below chart):

      image

      • Meanwhile two local brands, Teclast (台电) and Onda (昂达) each were able to beat two other global brands, Asus and Acer, on the Mainland China market in the last two quarters.
      • The group of ‘Others’, i.e. other local brands taken together were able to grow by similar rate in the last two quarters which shows that with an ongoing consolidation of the local brands (details ommitted here) a few local brands may join Teclast and Onda as the strongest local vendors which will have an opportunity to change their white-box vendor status abroad (and grow globally under their own brand as well).

      image

      image

      The Q3’13 and Q2’13 Analysys International sources:
      Nov 8, 2013: http://www.enfodesk.com/SMinisite/maininfo/articledetail-id-389539.html
      Aug 28, 2013: http://www.enfodesk.com/SMinisite/maininfo/articledetail-id-376953.html

      The Q3’13 and Q2’13 DIGITIMES Research sources:

      China white-box tablet shipments reached about 25 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 56.3% sequentially and 40.4% on year thanks to strong overseas shipments, which accounted for 80% of the total volume. Among white-box tablet shipments, 7-inch models accounted for the largest share, while 8-inch models, which were originally expected to become new star products, were unable to do so because of high costs from the bezel design and limited supply of 8-inch panels.
      Although white-box tablets are expected to see extraordinary growth in 2013, they are also expected to face more obstacles and challenges in the future. First, they will see strong price competition from large brand vendors, which will offer Android-based products at price levels similar to those of white-box models. Second, the tablet market will gradually reach saturation and should no longer see demand as strong as before.
      Third, white-box tablet costs have already hit the bottom margin, causing related assembly service providers and component suppliers to see limited profits. Several unhealthy players were already been eliminated from the market at the end of the second quarter, while the remaining players will need to rely on pumping up their shipments to support their profitability. However, such a strategy is unlikely to sustain for long, Digitimes Research noted.
      Digitimes Research also found that white-box tablets in Europe or North America are mostly used as gifts in product promotions or bundling deals and therefore specifications are not as high as those of regular tablets. As for emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, most consumers are buying white-box tablets with a single-core processor, because of limited purchasing power.
      As for application processors (APs), 70% of white-box tablets with phone functions adopted solutions from MediaTek in the third quarter, replacing the solutions from China-based Allwinner, the original favorite. Digitimes Research estimates that the proportion of white-box Wi-Fi-only tablets using MediaTek’s solution will also increase dramatically starting the fourth quarter, further impacting China-based Allwinner and Rockchip’s AP shipments. In addition to low prices, China-based AP suppliers will also need to consider how to create additional value for their APs to survive the competition.
      White-box tablet shipments reached only 15.9 million units in the second quarter of 2013, down 26.3% sequentially due to weakening tablet demand in May and June. Many smaller white-box players were also forced to quit the market, according to Digitimes Research’s latest figures.
      Although white-box tablet shipments peaked in April 2013, increasing component costs and the fact that consumers are becoming more sensitive over tablet pricing, are impacting white-box players’ profitability.
      For component supply, China-based chipmakers’ competition is gradually becoming fierce for both single-core and dual-core processors. In August 2013, some single-core processor prices were as low as US$5. By the end of 2013, dual-core processor will become the basic specification for entry-level white-box tablets, while mid-range models will turn to quad-core processor completely, Digitimes Research noted.
      DRAM and NAND Flash remained at high price points in the second quarter of 2013, but as related players are increasing their supplies in the third quarter, prices are dropping.
      As for panels, an entry-level 7-inch TN panel was priced at about US$10-11 at the beginning of the third quarter, and the price has been rising. Although the industry is seeing tight panel supply, the issue is expected to be eased as more panel players will open up new production lines to manufacture small-to-medium size panels in the first half of 2014.
      White-box vendors’ over-optimism about demand in the first half created high tablet inventories for the vendors. Weak demand in Europe and North America has affected sales of both first-tier brand vendors and white-box players.
      As for China, local first-tier brand vendors’ increasing sales have impacted white-box models’ demand in the country. Emerging markets such as India, Russia, countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, are only providing limited contributions to white-box tablet players because shipments to these countries have just recently started.
      Currently, strengthening their inventory management and expanding into overseas emerging markets will be important tasks for white-box tablet players to survive in the tablet market.

      Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A

      Crisis Message of Aug 29, 2015 from Hunbiased: Immigration which I very much felt to share here before anything else of my own: “ Immigration is *the* topic in the news in Hungary. It’s what all newscasts lead with and it’s the issue that dominates the front pages. How bad is the situation?  I take a look at some basic figures to see whether or not the current EU policies regarding immigration are fair and answer the question, “if Hungary is expected to absorb 140,000 people without batting an eyelid, how many people should Germany and the UK take?”


      Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A

      This is what people with software engineering background cannot understand at all and therefore significantly overestimate Microsoft’s chances to succeed in the consumer device space.

      Previously I discussed on the ‘Experiencing the Cloud’:

      which clearly indicated quite a number of exceptional corporate qualities of Samsung.

      Now I will have a discussion heavily focussed on Samsung’s extraordinary strengths (from SCM to the Samsung Memory business), as well as on the company’s most pressing weaknesses (software and M&A) based on Samsung Analyst Day 2013, Nov 6, 2013, reflecting the below presentations and their reports in the worldwide media:image
      See as well: As It Happened: Samsung’s Analyst Day [live blog on The Wall Street Journal Asia, Nov 6, 2013] and an analytic reflection of that Across Fonblets and Phablets Samsung Has 63% Share of all Android Mobile Devices [Localystics, Nov 7, 2013].

      Accordingly this post contains the following sections:

      1. Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information
        1. Historic Samsung SCM information
      2. Market/Business-specific current and strategic information
        1. Smartphones
        2. Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung)
        3. Tablets
        4. Wearable devices
        5. New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing
        6. Samsung System LSI
        7. Samsung Display
        8. Samsung Memory Business
        9. Software
        10. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)

      1. Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information

      image

      Supply Chain Management (SCM) [Samsung SDS, Aug 27, 2013]

      Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a comprehensive and innovative activity, including process, system, and governance, which optimizes marketing, sales, development, manufacturing, purchasing, logistics, and service over the entire supply chain. We support the successful SCM innovation of your business by offering globally competitive services such as SCM diagnosis, Process Innovation (PI), integration establishment, Cello [Supply Chain LogisticsSCL] solution.
      image
      • Demand Satisfaction
        Increase in demand forecast accuracy and supply ability index
      • Increased Market Response Ability
        Improved adherence to deadlines and shortened lead time in setting up plans
      • Global SCM Establishment and Integration
        Setting up and carrying out Global Single Plan in the Governance system

      image

      image

      We are Samsung SDS! [SamsungSDSA (Samsung SDS America) YouTube channel, June 24, 2013]

      From Samsung SDS leads in ‘shared growth’ [The Korea Times, Oct 30, 2013]

      In July this year, it realigned structures into the following six smart town, smart manufacturing, smart convergence, smart security, smart logistics and smart ICT outsourcing for customized approaches to existing and future clients, according to the statement.

      Service Overview [Samsung SDS, March 29, 2013] (see also: OverviewVisionHistoryGlobal Network >> Samsung Data System, established in May 1985)

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      1/A Historic Samsung SCM information:

      The Samsung Group of companies is recognized as a leading global manufacturing, financial, and services conglomerate. It was founded in 1938 and focused its businesses on areas such as textiles, shipbuilding, machinery, and chemicals. Since the 1980s, the group has made enormous efforts and investment in the electronics and semiconductor industry. As a result, the Samsung Group has experienced a dramatic growth in net profits since the 1990s. The flagship unit, Samsung Electronics Company (SEC), was one of only two manufacturing companies worldwide to post profits of more than $10bn in 2004 (Toyota Motors being the other). Many regard these successes as reflecting a continuous and relentless effort at Samsung to improve the way it conducts business. For the last few years, SCM and six sigma have been two pillars of business innovation at Samsung.
      The Samsung Group of companies has large, complex, global supply chains in most of the products it manufactures and makes extensive use of SCM solutions and process innovations to support and improve its operations. Most notably, at SEC, advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems have been adopted since the 1990s and have brought the company many successes in terms of operational excellence. Recently, Samsung Electronics was ranked seventh in a respected analyst’s ranking of the global top 25 companies in supply chain excellence.
      Six sigma has been a key enabler for the group’s success. The Chairman of the Group proclaimed the adoption of a business innovation approach called “new management” in 1993. “New management” is the pursuit of quality-oriented management in business operations as well as in manufacturing. Along with the “quality movement” in industry, new management evolved from initial product quality assurance but later shifted its focus to include the quality of the entire business process, which is the rationale behind six sigma. The outcomes were high-quality, innovative product developments, and consequently an increase in customer satisfaction and profits, and are well demonstrated by many of the world’s best technological resources.

      Samsung’s SCM Business Team (SBT) researched six sigma approaches at General Electric (GE), DuPont and Honeywell to get perspectives on how other companies have innovatively applied six sigma to similar needs: … Each of the above approaches was analyzed and the following conclusions drawn, which fed into the subsequent development of the Samsung SCM six sigma methodology: …

      Future direction
      Today, there are various approaches and systems available for process innovation. Six sigma and supply chain management (SCM) are among those techniques aiming for process and quality improvement, and synchronization of a company’s value chain, from inbound logistics to sales and customer services.
      At Samsung, SCM and six sigma have been two important enablers for the group’s management innovation and growth. However, Samsung realize that there is significant room for improvement in its SCM operation. Thus, the effort has been synthesizing SCM and six sigma and developing a unique six-sigma based methodology to improve its SCM operation.
      Samsung’s effort and investment has turned out to be fruitful. Their SCM six sigma program has produced highly qualified and talented SCM specialists, who are currently training the methodology to other members in their organizations and leading SCM projects. SCM projects are being prepared and conducted in a more disciplined way and their outcomes are continuously monitored and shared through Samsung’s repository for six sigma. Samsung’s endeavour for global optimum is continuing and SCM six sigma is expected to play an enabling role.
      imageSamsung Electronics, a leading Korean company as well as a symbol of the IT industry, carried out an innovative project to strengthen its global Supply Chain Management (SCM) execution ability, gaining the industry’s interest. Samsung Electronics placed its emphasis on the business management scenario of predicting and preparing for future environmental changes and competitiveness, which is one of the survival strategies of an industry with an unpredictable future. The company is aggressively establishing the foundation for enhancing business management speed and efficiency-oriented business management innovations since early this year. In accordance with this type of scenario, Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) Platform provided life to Samsung Electronics’ SCM system. Samsung Electronics decided to implement an action-oriented BI solution that enables on-demand changes of business management plans and reflects these adjustments. As such, it decided to deploy SQL Server 2008, which can satisfy all three major requirements of BI solution, including ‘performance and reliability’, ‘cube write-back’ and ‘user convenience’, and the company is thoroughly experiencing the benefits of this IT innovation. In the face of enterprise-wide application, it has completed application in only its video display business division, so it is still too early to mention any fixed quantity of benefits. However, with this system implementation, Samsung Electronics expects to increase its forecast accuracy for product demands by more than 20%.

      2. Market/Business-specific current and strategic information

      2/A Smartphones:

      imageSamsung executives said the biggest growth in smartphones would come in developing countries, where smartphone penetration remains lower. Worldwide, the company said, there are still three billion more basic “feature phones” in use.

      “We believe there is substantial room for smartphone demand to grow,” said J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division.

      Mr. Shin said the company also intended to increase its market share in tablet computers, where it still trails Apple. Other executives painted a bullish picture even on televisions and home appliances, areas in which sales have been growing slowly or shrinking in recent years.
      imageAt a rare analyst day event held in Seoul today, Samsung’s JK Shin announced that the company had sold more than 100 million Galaxy smartphones and Note phablets this year alone. … While the industry is expecting the high-end smartphone segment to slow down, Samsung is anticipating that the premium smartphone segment will outgrow market forecasts and is also gearing up for ultra premium smartphones. The company is rumored to launch a Galaxy F range of ultra-premium smartphones next year. … Overall, Shin believes that Samsung’s smartphone division still has room to grow with upcoming LTE deployments and the company’s innovations around bendable displays and companion devices.
      Samsung’s stock price plunged 15 percent in June after JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley cut their profit outlooks, citing weaker-than-expected demand for its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. However, the company is rebounding, having sold more than 40 million Galaxy S4s as of last month, according to executives. … It sold about 120 million handsets in the third quarter, researcher Strategy Analytics said on Oct. 29.
      image… “People say the growth of the premium smartphone market will slow, but we don’t think so,” said Shin. “There are lots of opportunities for growth in various areas.” Shin said the market for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones, the fastest broadband devices, will grow 30 percent on average through 2017. About 680 million smartphones will be shipped in 2017, half of them LTE enabled, he said. [correctly from ZDNet: “The expansion of new LTE services, including LTE Advanced, will be the key growth driver,” said Jong-Kyun Shin, president and CEO of Samsung IT & Mobile Communication at an analyst event in Seoul on Wednesday. “Until 2017, we expect an annual average growth of near 30 percent in the LTE smartphone market, reaching 680 million units.” Shin said that come 2017, half [45%] of all phones sold will be LTE phones.]
      imageThe craziest announcement was that 5.2-inch 560 PPI AMOLED smartphone displays are due in 2014, with 3840×2160 displays following in 2015. Assuming a screen size of around five inches, 3840×2160 (UHD, 4K) works out to be around 880 pixels per inch. By virtue of being based on OLED tech rather than LCD, Samsung says that the next few years will see lots of flexible displays being used in curved and bent devices, with foldable devices arriving around 2016. (Read: 8K UHDTV: How do you send a 48Gbps TV signal over terrestrial airwaves?)
      … Is it really beneficial to keep pushing pixel densities as quickly as Moore’s law allows? The higher the pixel count, the more energy a display consumes. Considering our eyes have a tough time seeing the difference between 200 and 300 PPI, let alone 441 (current 5-inch smartphones) and next year’s 560 PPI, it seems a little counterintuitive to intentionally reduce battery life for negligible gain. Yes, Samsung and its users get to wave their huge PPIs in the face of the Apple opposition — but is that really what the smartphone market has come to?
      imageJK Shin, Samsung’s president and chief executive of IT & Mobile (the business segment of Samsung Electronics that compares closely with Apple), outlined his outlook for the smartphone and tablet markets, promising that the company would “play a key role in the premium smartphone market.” He stated that from Samsung’s perspective, the premium market will continue to outgrow market forecasts, an apparent reversal of the company’s warnings from the beginning of the year about increasing competition in the plateauing market for premium Android smartphones.
      That also seems to contradict Samsung’s sales results throughout the year. The company just stated that in its September quarter, premium smartphone sales “stayed about the same” rather than keeping pace with Apple’s growth, which comes entirely from premium smartphones.
      imageJK Shin added that the global smartphone penetration rate is only at 21 percent so far, meaning there’s plenty of room for growth. Worldwide, about one billion smartphones will ship this year, with data from Strategy Analytics suggesting that’ll grow to 1.5 billion by 2015.

      2/B Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung):

      imageBy introducing its Galaxy Note product, Samsung highlighted its status as the creator of‘Fonblet’ market with large display, portability and handwriting technology. We believe that Samsung has a high hope for the big-sized smartphone market with over 5 inch display, which we define as phablet. Also it made us predict that Samsung may be working on a completely new type of ‘Fonblet’ to target both smartphone and tablet segments at the same time in around 2015 or 2016 timeframe.

      2/C Tablets:

      imageA top executive, Shin Jong-kyun, told analysts on Wednesday that Samsung’s tablet business is growing rapidly and the company will become the biggest maker of tablet computers. He didn’t give a timeframe. Shin said Samsung’s tablet sales will exceed 40 million units this year, more than double sales in 2012. “Samsung tablet shipments started to grow remarkably since the second half of last year,” he said.
      Research group IDC estimates that Samsung sold 16.6 million tablets in image2012, lagging far behind Apple Inc. which sold 65.7 million iPads. But Samsung is on the rise, capturing 20 percent market share in the July-September quarter while Apple, which led the commercialization of tablet computing, fell to 30 percent. Apple previously had more than half of the global tablet market but its dominance has eroded as Samsung boosted sales with cheaper Galaxy Tab computers that offer many different screen sizes.
      Source: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24420613

      according to which the Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales is 9.7 million, i.e. with H1’13 17.6 million the Q1-Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales are already 27.3 million units.

      2/D Wearable devices:

      imageSpeaking at the company’s Analyst Day, Samsung Vice Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said Wednesday that his company has been dedicating significant resources to several technologies, including “wearables,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which was in attendance at the event. The slide to accompany his comment showed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and also eyeglasses that might compete with Google Glass.
      Rumors have been swirling that Samsung is at work on smart eyewear. Last month, a patent filing surfaced in Korea for Samsung eyewear. That application indicated that the device would be connected directly to a smartphone and feature built-in earphones.
      Samsung has not announced any plans to launch a Google Glass competitor, but Kwon’s comments seem to indicate such a device is coming.
      Samsung surprised attendees at its analyst day by announcing it will be bringing fully foldable screens to the market “sometime in 2015” and even teased the product with a chintzy promo video. Although the video’s focus was on phone and tablet combinations, the real opportunity here is in wearable techApple and Google should be on notice. Samsung could have a game changer with its foldable screen.
      As the market for smartphones and tablets continues to become more contested, tech companies are increasingly looking at new growth opportunities. They may have found it in wearable tech: According to Juniper Research, worldwide imagespending on wearable tech will hit $1.4 billion this year and increase to $19 billion by 2018. Of these companies, Samsung has the most recent commercial product launch of these new generation of wearable tech products with its Galaxy Gear smart watch. So far, the product has witnessed tepid demand and modest reviews—mostly due to the fact it must be tethered to other Galaxy products for full functionality.

      2/E New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing

      imageInteresting to note here that, in tandem with talk of shareholder-friendly dividend increases, Samsung is also talking up growth, growth, growth. Mr. Shin just ticked off wearable devices, flexible devices, big data, the Internet of things [, and convergence]– “and much more” — as growth opportunities for the mobile division. “Therefore, we expect another huge growth in the mobile market in the near future,” Mr. Shin says.

      Mr. Shin touches on big data, saying that the company will encorporate big data technology in providing software features for its devices. He says the company aims for a “fully integrated” user experience across all Samsung devices.

      2/F Samsung System LSI:

      imageAlluding to Apple’s custom 64-bit A7 Application Processor (which Samsung is manufacturing), [Dr. Namsung Stephen] Woo[, president of Samsung’s System LSI] said “many people were thinking ‘why do we need 64-bit for mobile devices?’ People were asking that question until three months ago, and now I think nobody is asking that question. Now people are asking ‘when can we have that? And will software run correctly on time?'”
      Woo told his audience, “let me just tell you, we are… we have planned for it, we are marching on schedule. We will offer the first 64-bit AP based on ARM’s own core [reference design]. “For the second product after that we will offer even more optimized 64-bit based on our own optimization. So we are marching ahead with the 64-bit offering, and even though it’s a little too early, I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings.” … Woo … offered no comment on how Samsung planned to support existing software on its planned 64-bit offerings, nor even whether such a chip would get custom Android support or use Samsung’s own Tizen or some other operating system.

      2/G Samsung Display:

      image

      According to ZDNet Korea, it looks like Samsung is going to focus on a particular type of tablets, AMOLED ones. So far, the tech giant has released only a handful of AMOLED display devices, so it will be pretty interesting to see what else gets produced.

      A patent of a foldable mobile device filed with authorities in South Korea last month gave some clues as to the future of Samsung mobile devices.
      But at an analyst day on Wednesday, some investors saw prototypes of a range of foldable mobile devices that Samsung is testing,  giving more details  on what they would actually do and look like. Reporters were banned from the conference and were not given access to see the prototypes, while the attendees were not permitted to take any photos inside the venue.
      “The first one they showed us was the size of a [Galaxy] S3 smartphone which can be folded in half from top to bottom. So like a compact powder used by women,” said Jae H. Lee, an analyst with Daiwa Securities who attended the event.
      “There was also one in the size of a lengthy wallet which can be unfolded on both sides into the size of a tablet computer,” Mr. Lee said, adding that both devices looked pretty good.
      Other analysts  also seemed to be impressed.
      Such devices “would further expand Samsung’s competitive advantage in premium smartphones,” Sundeep Bajikar, an analyst with Jefferies LLC who flew in to attend the event, wrote in a research note.
      A spokesman for Samsung Display Co., which makes screens for Galaxy smartphones, said that designs displayed yesterday were “concept versions,” that do not have all the components needed to make a working smartphone.
      The products are likely years away from commercialization; Samsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun, said that “foldable displayswould be presented in 2015.

      2/H Samsung Memory Business:

      Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, vowed to take a solid lead in the global memory market with its advanced vertical NAND flash memory technology, based on plans to unveil 36-layer V-NAND flash memory chips next year.
      “Samsung will definitely, if we can, enjoy an 80 percent market share,” said Robert Myung Yi, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics’ investor relations team, on Wednesday at Samsung Analyst Day 2013, where the company laid out its mid- and long-term strategies to investors and analysts.
      A top executive from Samsung told The Korea Herald that “3-D NAND flash memory stacking 36 layers of memory cells will be mass produced by the latter half of next year.”
      Samsung is currently the sole producer of V-NAND flash memory chips with 24 layers of cells.
      This level of stacking is deemed sufficient to make the product profitable, according to Samsung.
      In terms of V-NAND market share, Yi said the firm would not just pursue higher market share, but also make efforts to secure a high profit margin as well as balance supply between the planar NAND flash memory and V-NAND flash memory. V-NAND chips’ 3-D structure gives them a higher density and capacity than their 2-D rivals.
      image
      The Korean electronics giant expects the 3-D NAND market to grow 105 percent every year until 2017, and its market size to exceed that for planar NAND flash chips next year.
      Stacking memory cells is a core technological issue for chipmakers, including Samsung’s local rival SK Hynix and U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology.
      Despite their technology for the V-NAND, other chipmakers have yet to start mass producing 3-D memory chips due in part to underachievement in cell stacking.
      SK Hynix CEO Park Sung-wook said in October that his firm, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, would be able to stack as many as 24 layers next year, adding, “We can do as well as Samsung.”
      In an earnings conference call later in the month, the firm announced that it would be able to start producing 3-D NAND flash memory either in the second half of next year or in 2015.
      Global competitors have also announced they would jump into the race for V-NAND production.
      Micron CEO Mark Durcan told tech news outlet CNET in August that his company would start providing samples of 3-D NAND to customers in the first quarter of 2014.
      Producers are competing to scale down planar NAND flash memory, still the top product in the chip market.
      After the technology proceeded to the 10 nanometer-class chip and beyond, the chipmakers faced more cell-to-cell interference, which risks the reliability of NAND flash memories.
      The 3-D NAND could be used for a wide range of equipment and devices including enterprise servers and solid-state drives.
      Samsung launched a V-NAND-based enterprise solid-state drive in August.

      2/I Software:

      Samsung today admitted it needs to work on software, an area it’s “not as good” at as hardware. Samsung vice chairman & CEO Kwon Oh-hyun compares the company’s software efforts to the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox’s pitching performance. Kwon notes the Red Sox led the pack in batting this year, but were only an average pitching team. His conclusion? “Even though we’re doing the software business, we’re not as good as we are in hardware.” The Red Sox still won the World Series, though, with the implication being that Samsung is “winning” at technology right now.
      It’s true that software imperfections have yet to hamper Samsung’s march to global dominance. 2013 has seen the Korean company post consecutive profit records and improve its marketshare in key areas, including strengthening its grip on the number-one spot in the smartphone market. That said, Samsung isn’t taking any chances; Kwon says that half of his Research and Development (R&D) workforce is focused on software, and the efforts to improve software are likely to grow moving forward. Given the company is currently spending over $3 billion per quarter on R&D, that represents a colossal investment in software.
      imageCompany president Lee Sang-hoon reaffirms Samsung’s focus on getting software right. “Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software.” Lee says the company’s recent efforts to acquire fresh talent from startups— including the establishment of overseas R&D centers —  are an effort to “address region-specific needs.”
      … Samsung Electronics says that around 40,000 of its 326,000 employees worldwide are software developers – roughly half of them based in South Korea.
      Samsung customises the user experience on its Android-based phones and tablets like the Galaxy Note 3 with software called TouchWiz, which is often heavily criticised for being cluttered, confusing and detracting from the standard Android experience.
      Additional features in its handsets such as “air gesture” (to move pages without touching the screen), “air view” (to enlarge previews without touching the screen) and “smart scroll” (to scroll through pages using eye movement) have been dismissed as gimmicks by some reviewers, who don’t see them bringing any value to users.
      “Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software,” said Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung’s president and chief financial officer.
      In response Samsung will aim to “reinforce our competitiveness in software platform, design and IT” through hiring more software experts, and through the use of overseas research and development centres “to address region-specific needs,” Lee said.
      South Korean Giant Weighs Software Deals to Better Compete With Apple, Google
      Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -1.88% is stepping up its hunt for acquisitions and building out its presence in Silicon Valley to try and overcome its key weakness: software.
      The South Korea-based company became the world’s largest maker of smartphones by manufacturing attractive devices that hit the market quickly and cheaply.
      But to thrive in a mobile-device market increasingly dominated by software specialists likeApple Inc., AAPL +1.57% Google Inc. GOOG +0.80% and Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.75%, which acquired Nokia Corp.’s NOK1V.HE -1.22% phone business last month, Samsung is aiming to become a software power in its own right.
      Earlier this year, Samsung was among the bidders for Israeli mobile-mapping service Waze Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter. Google eventually bought Waze for about $1.1 billion in July, a deal that is under review by the Federal Trade Commission. According to one person, Samsung had approached Waze in hopes of making a large investment and forming a partnership, before acquisition talks kicked off.
      imageSamsung has plenty of other Silicon Valley software startups in its sights, particularly in games, mobile search, social media and mapping-related services, according to employees and an internal document reviewed by the Journal.

      The document, a mergers and acquisitions presentation prepared in February by Samsung’s Media Solution Center, the arm that works on software initiatives, lays out the company’s rationale for bulking up in each category and lists potential acquisition and investment targets.

      According to the document, Samsung has evaluated startups such as Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based developer of gaming platforms, and Green Throttle Games Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions. It has also considered gaming pioneer Atari Inc., which Samsung could have used to offer classic games like Asteroids and Pong exclusively on its mobile phones. Atari auctioned off some of its properties this year as part of a bankruptcy filing after rejecting preliminary bids from several companies for its portfolio of games.
      Samsung has also looked closely at Glympse, a Seattle-based company that allows users to share their location with their friends—a service that Samsung says could be integrated into their phones’ native calendar and contacts functions, differentiating it from competitors.
      Samsung first reached out to Glympse in early 2012, and has raised the prospect of an equity investment, though discussions remain ongoing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last month, Glympse unveiled an app for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
      Elsewhere in the document, Samsung named Tel Aviv-based mobile search engine Everything.me as a possible target. It has also looked at video-chat app Rounds, another Israeli startup, that would help Samsung compete with Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts.
      Samsung declined to comment on its acquisition plans—but it has made no secret of what it calls its “embracing the culture of Silicon Valley.”
      In recent months, the Suwon, South Korea-based company has broken ground on a major research facility near Apple’s offices and launched a software startup accelerator with locations in Palo Alto, Calif., and Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It will make early-stage investments in startups, especially developers of software for Samsung devices.
      Samsung, which has $1.1 billion set aside for early-stage startup and venture capital investments in the U.S., is also poaching software engineers from its U.S. rivals and, at a hotel in San Francisco later this month, will host its first ever developers’ conference, an important step toward creating an “ecosystem” of applications unique to its devices.
      “The kind of things that happen in the Valley are really exciting to Samsung,” said David Eun, the head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center, which operates the software-startup accelerator.
      The aggressive move into its rivals’ backyard is unusual for Samsung, a company that has historically kept its operations heavily centralized and shied away from outside deals. The emphasis on self-reliance runs so deep that Samsung manufactures some 90% of its products within its own factories.
      Privately, company executives portray the recent shift not as a repudiation of its long-term strategy, but rather as a complement to its own research and development efforts, which remain substantial.
      The company spent $10.8 billion on R&D last year, with 67,000 employees devoted to helping Samsung maintain its edge in the global television, semiconductor and home-appliance markets.
      So far, though, its attempts at developing a proprietary-software hit for its mobile phones—which account for two-thirds of Samsung’s operating profits—have fallen flat.
      Among Samsung’s recent efforts are an abandoned mobile operating system, a mobile chat service that has struggled to gain traction and coolly received technologies that anticipate hand gestures and eye movements.
      In November 2009, Samsung launched Bada, an open-source mobile operating system that it hoped could challenge Google’s Android platform. But Bada’s unfriendly user interface and poor syncing with other devices proved unpopular with consumers.
      Earlier this year, Samsung pulled the plug on Bada, rolling those efforts into a new operating system known as Tizen. There too, Silicon Valley plays a key role: Samsung is codeveloping Tizen with Intel Corp. The company has yet to release a Tizen-powered smartphone.
      If Samsung’s new operating system catches on, it could relieve the company’s reliance on Android, which powers the vast majority of Samsung’s mobile devices, including its new smartwatch.
      Breaking through with a proprietary “must-have” software application could also bolster Samsung’s position at a time when the company is vulnerable to competition from Chinese hardware makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Inc. In the most recent quarter, Samsung’s mobile business saw its operating profit margin fall to 17.7%, from 19.8% in the previous quarter amid pricing pressure from rivals and increased spending on advertising.
      Meanwhile, Google’s tie-up with Motorola Mobility in 2011, and Microsoft’s move to acquire Nokia’s mobile-phone business last month, mean that Samsung will face heightened competition from companies that, like Apple, can compete in both hardware and software.
      Samsung’s software success is far from assured. Unlike Apple, Google and Microsoft, the Korean electronics giant doesn’t have a history of software achievements. Instead, Samsung cut its teeth in the world of hardware, where efficiency, flexibility and supply-chain management are paramount.
      Acquiring its way to software dominance is no easier than building up its software capabilities organically. While Samsung has about $50 billion in cash on hand, the company has struggled in the past with deal-making. Even today, some in Silicon Valley say, Samsung has developed a reputation for kicking the tires on a range of potential deals, only rarely pulling the trigger.
      One reason for such caution is Samsung’s purchase of AST Research Inc. in the mid-1990s, an experience that still weighs heavily on company executives.
      The two-part, $840 million acquisition of Irvine, Calif.-based AST, once the world’s fifth-largest computer maker, was conceived as an attempt to break into the U.S. personal-computer market.
      Samsung sustained heavy losses in AST before ultimately giving up on the deal, which remains Samsung’s largest overseas acquisition to date. Even now, upper management remains wary of big acquisitions, in large part because of AST, employees say.
      Samsung’s recent acquisitions have been small, and focused on software developers that can help distinguish Samsung’s phones from others built on the Android platform.
      Last May, Samsung—seeking to create a credible rival to Apple’s iTunes platform—snapped up mSpot Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile-software developer with hopes of creating a one-stop media platform that would allow users to stream and download music on their Samsung devices.
      In the process, Samsung hoped to rival not only iTunes, but also online music-streaming services such as those offered by Sweden’s Spotify AB and Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora Media Inc.
      Earlier this year, Samsung moved mSpot into a new office with plans to double its staff by the end of 2013. Since then, however, the company’s attempts to develop the product, initially called Samsung Music Hub, have foundered.

      2/J Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As):

      Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that it needs to work on software, where it is currently heavily investing to transform itself into a solutions provider from a manufacturing firm.
      Sources say Samsung prefers “Google style” expansion centered on small-sized mergers and acquisitions (M&As). It is interested in buying patents, marketing and human resources in target companies. “Samsung was passive in pursuing M&A deals. But we will become aggressive. Therefore, I don’t think our current cash-holdings are too high,” said the CFO Lee.
      Vice Chairman Kwon insisted that its edge in “vertical alignment” between components and parts will enable it create over $400 billion in annual sales in 2020. … But what’s equally interesting is that Samsung is also eager to develop components. Sharpening components-related technologies is something that really matters to it because of its plan to share confidential data with software giants such as Google and others to develop innovative products and secure advanced chips and flat-screens.

      Samsung Electronics will push for more mergers and acquisitions and increase its presence in health care and smart car industries for future growth, top executives said on Wednesday. … “Convergence (among technologies in different industries) is occurring right now, but not enough. We can create new industries, for example, health care and smart cars,” said Kwon Oh-hyun, vice chairman and CEO of the electronics firm.
      “(By converging Samsung’s information technology with cars) there are a lot (of opportunities) for us to supply to our customers.” Samsung SDI, a battery maker and an affiliate of Samsung Group, has invested in electric car batteries since 2008. It has successfully developed the products and is supplying them to BMW and Chrysler’s Fiat.
      … The vice chairman noted, “Even though our health care business is small, within the coming decade we want to be a strong player in the area,” hinting that the electronics firm will roll out more advanced, small and easy-to-handle equipment such as high-resolution CT and MRI scanners.
      Samsung Electronics wants to invest more money for new growth technologies, and part of that will come from being more aggressive in mergers and acquisitions as well as R&D.
      M&A will aim to reinforce current businesses, secure talent and find new opportunities, said Lee Sang-hoon, president and CFO of Samsung Electronics. The company has already spent about US$1 billion investing in 14 companies since 2010, which has been “somewhat conservative”.

      Samsung currently has a cash pile of around US$50 billion, which is about 20 percent of its market capitalization and has attracted complaints from investors of being at a level too high at their expense. According to Lee, the war chest will now being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions.
      “We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return,” Lee said.
      Lee said the $50 billion war chest was being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions, suggesting the company could loosen its purse strings as it chases the next big thing in mobile technology.
      The change of tack is aimed at responding to an innovation shift in the information technology business to software from hardware, Samsung’s traditional speciality. “I know we have been somewhat conservative in M&A but it may be different in the future. Based on this, I don’t believe the current level of net cash balance is excessive,” he said. We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return.”

      The first multimode Android tablets and laptops from Lenovo

      After Lenovo defies PC slump with 35% profit jump [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2013]

      The rapid rise in mobile computing alongside a wobbly transition to Windows 8 has hit the balance sheet of most PC makers. But Lenovo isn’t most PC makers.

      the company launched its highly anticipated, multi-mode Yoga Tablet, with up to 18 hours of battery life, as well as its new dual-mode consumer laptop, IdeaPad A10 with the ability to flip the screen 300 degrees into a stand mode for a more natural, comfortable touch experience. These innovative offerings for the Android market are the latest steps in Lenovo’s ongoing consumer brand building effort. For the Yoga Tablet Lenovo is even partnering with Ashton Kutcher – the well known actor and technology investor with 15 million Twitter followers – to showcase this cutting edge technology and innovation.

      Consolidated sales of Lenovo’s Mobile Internet Digital Home (MIDH) consumer products, including smartphones and tablets already increased 106 percent year-over-year during the second fiscal quarter to US$1.5 billion, representing 15 percent of the Company’s total revenue during the quarter. In China, Lenovo’s smartphone shipments increased by 64 percent year-over-year, helping the company maintain its strong position as the second largest smartphone supplier in that market. With the latest Android based offerings Lenovo could further its consumer market position in a differentiated way both in China and worldwide. 

      LENOVO® YOGA TABLET

      The Yoga Tablet’s innovation lies in the unique handle design of its cylindrical battery, enabling three different usage modes – hold, stand and tilt, each offering a unique and beneficial way for users to interact with their tablet. The battery lasts up to an incredible 18 hours, taking the tablet experience to the next level. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet is available with both 8- and 10-inch screen sizes along with built-in multimedia features for entertainment on the go.

      Innovative Multimode Design.

      imageYoga Tablet’s pioneering design incorporates a battery cylinder and kickstand on the side of the device, shifting the center of gravity and opening up multiple usage modes: Hold, Tilt, and Stand. In hold mode, the weight of the device falls into your palm rather than your fingers, making it more comfortable for reading and browsing. Lay it down for Tilt mode and you have a perfect viewing angle for typing or gaming. Flick the kickstand and rest it upright in Stand mode to comfortably watch videos, listen to music, or video-chat.
      imageOptional Wireless Keyboard

      Turn your Yoga Tablet 10 into a productivity machine with the optional Accutype keyboard, a stylish Bluetooth accessory that also serves as a cover for your device.

       

      Detailed Specification

      Processor
      Yoga Tablet 8: MT8125 (WiFi)/8389 (3G in select countries, not US) Quad Core 1.2GHz
      Yoga Tablet 10: MT8125(WiFi)/8389 (3G in select countries, not US) Quad Core 1.2GHz
      Operating System
      AndroidTM 4. 2 Jelly Bean
      Display/
      Resolution
      8-inch or 10-inch HD display (1280×800) with multitouch & 178o wide viewing angle
      Memory
      RAM: 1GB LP-DDR2 memory
      Storage
      Internal Storage: 16GB/32GB eMMC
      External storage: 64 GB micro-SD card storage support
      Sound
      Dual front-facing speakers with Dolby® Digital Plus DS1
      Microphone with noise reduction

      Integrated Comms
      Micro USB, up to 32G micro SD card, 3.5 millimeter audio jack, micro SIM (3G in select countries, not US)
      Wireless
      802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi , 3G (in select countries, not US): WCDMA (900/2100 MHz)*, GSM/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)*, integrated Bluetooth® 4.0**
      Camera
      5MP rear camera, 1.6M HD front camera
      Battery***
      Extended battery life with up to 18 hours on a single charge
      Weight****
      Yoga Tablet 8: .88-.89 pounds (401-404 grams)
      Yoga Tablet 10: 1.33-1.34 pounds (605-610 grams)
      Dimensions
      Yoga Tablet 8: 8.39 x 5.67 x (.12 – .29) inches (213 x 144 x (3.0-7.3) millimeters)
      Yoga Tablet 10: 10.28 x 7.09 x (.12 – .32) inches (261 x 180 x (3.0-8.1) millimeters)
      * Phone call functionality only available in select countries: India, China, ASEAN Indonesia, Thailand
      ** Android 4.2 OS supports the PXP profile of Bluetooth 4.0
      *** Actual battery life may vary based on many factors including screen brightness, active applications, features, power management settings, battery age and conditioning, and other customer preferences. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: two hours of video playback plus two hours of MP3 audio playback in Stand-by Mode plus two hours of Internet browsing using WiFi in Tilt Mode plus twelve hours of reading in Hold Mode.
      **** Wi-Fi/3G weight allowance: ± 2g

      Lenovo Unveils Its First Multimode Yoga Tablet [press release, Oct 29, 2013]

      Multimode computing leader Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today debuted its first multimode Yoga Tablet at a livestream launch event with Ashton Kutcher, the company’s newest product engineer. Known for pioneering innovative multimode devices like the Yoga convertible laptop, Lenovo now brings people a new way to get the most out of their tablet experience.
      The game-changing Yoga Tablet features three unique modes, giving consumers a better way to use a tablet. Withhold, tilt and stand modes, the tablet adapts to the way people use it instead of forcing people to adapt to the technology. Additionally the Yoga Tablet has an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life1 to truly fit users’ ultra mobile lifestyles.
      Lenovo Yoga Tablet Product Tour [Lenovo YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
      Meet the Yoga Tablet, Lenovo’s multimode tablet. Enjoy a better tablet experience with three awesome modes: hold, stand and tilt modes and get an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life. Featured song is “Keep Together” by Hunter Hunted. Learn More:http://lnv.gy/yogatablet

      “Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content,” said Liu Jun, senior vice president and president, Lenovo Business Group, Lenovo. “As consumers’ continue to demand innovative multimode designs we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience.”

      Yoga Tablet: Three Modes And Longer Battery Life Give Tablets A Better Way
      One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to tablets. Lenovo designers and engineers identified three challenges tablet users face: fatigue when holding and using the tablet; no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface; and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. These scenarios inspired Lenovo to break the mold on the “sea of sameness” design and to create Yoga Tablet’s unique modes.
      Lenovo Yoga Tablet: Better by Design [Lenovo YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
      Why did Lenovo design the Yoga Tablet with three modes, a unique hinge, and 18-hour battery life? Lenovo product managers, designers and engineers discuss the user research they conducted that directly contributed to the design of this innovative multimode tablet. Learn More: http://lnv.gy/yogatablet

      With its exclusive cylindrical handle, hold mode is designed to fit an individual’s hand, so the Yoga Tablet is easier to hold and offers more control over the device whereas other tablets require two hands. Hold mode makes reading, checking social media and browsing the web easy and parallels how people hold magazines when reading.
      To convert the Yoga Tablet into stand mode, simply rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. Stand mode makes it easy for users to comfortably watch movies, place video calls and interact with the ten-finger touchscreen without having to rely on add-on accessories.
      Users can lay the Yoga Tablet down in tilt mode to type directly on the tablet, play games and just surf the Internet with a better viewing angle. To further enhance the rich content and multimode tablet experience, users can enable the tablet’s auto-detection software that automatically brings up frequently used apps in hold and stand modes.
      The Yoga Tablet’s multimode design not only provides a better usability experience, it offers dramatically longer battery life of up to 18 hours1, which is significantly more than the amount of typical tablets. Its cylindrical handle packs in powerful, dual batteries and unlike most tablets, it uses batteries typically found in laptops. The Yoga Tablet can even charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB on-the-go2. The 10 inch and 8 inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity and feature Android 4.2. Also equipped with Dolby® audio, Yoga Tablet’s front-facing speakers create a powerful surround sound experience through the device speakers and with headphones.
      Extremely mobile, both models are featherweights weighing in at 1.35 lbs for the 10-in model and 0.88 lbs for the 8-in model. They feature high definition 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot, allowing up to 64 GB of total storage, WiFi and optional 3G in select countries and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for rich audio. Lenovo offers an optional Bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover and even wakes up the tablet when it’s removed and puts the tablet to sleep when it’s attached.  Users can also opt for a WD100 dongle in select countries to stream video content from the tablet wirelessly to a TV. Lenovo also offers a portfolio of services solutions for the Yoga Tablet including warranty extensions, upgrades and premium technical support.
      Pricing and Availability3
      MSRP is $249 and $299, for the 8-in and 10-in, respectively. Starting on Oct. 30, the 8-in model will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores and www.lenovo.com while the 10-in model will be available via major retailers including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Fry’s, Newegg.com andwww.lenovo.com. The Lenovo Yoga 10 Bluetooth Keyboard Cover is $69 and will be available beginning Oct. 30 via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.
      For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow news about the Yoga Tablet at #betterway. The press kit is available at: http://news.lenovo.com/betterway.
      About Lenovo
      Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$34 billion personal technology company – the largest PC maker worldwide and an emerging PC Plus leader – serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution.  Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the Company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo, a global Fortune 500 company, has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more information see www.lenovo.com.
      1Actual battery life may vary based on many factors including screen brightness, active applications, features, power management settings, battery age and conditioning, and other customer preferences. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks:  two hours of video playback plus two hours of MP3 audio playback in Stand-by Mode plus two hours of Internet browsing using WiFi in Tilt Mode plus twelve hours of reading in Hold Mode.
      2Additional cable required to use this feature.
      3Prices do not include tax or shipping and are subject to change without notice. Reseller prices may vary. Price does not include all advertised features. All offers subject to availability. Lenovo reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.

      LENOVO® IDEAPAD A10 LAPTOP

      Want to enjoy apps on the go on an ultraportable Android notebook without busting your budget? The Lenovo A10 is an innovative, thin and light, dual-mode laptop that flips 300 degrees from laptop to stand mode, a perfect way to enjoy movies on the go or make the most of touchscreen applications.

      Note: Pricing and availability information will come later. According to a Chinese source the starting price of IdeaPad A10 will be around 1,500 RMB, i.e. US$ 246. The official price of the 10-inch Yoga Tablet in China is 2,299 RMB, i.e. US$ 377. Considering that the price of the Yoga Tablet in U.S. is $299 this could mean an IdeaPad A10 starting price for the external markets as low as $199. In Germany the laptop is priced at €249, corresponding to which $249 is the more likely price.

      Multimode Notebook — Switch Between Laptop and Stand Modes

      imageimage

      When you’re relying heavily on the keyboard — writing emails or blogging, for example — keep your A10 in the classic laptop mode for maximum productivity. But when you’re focusing on touch applications, web chatting, or enjoying a film or video, flip the screen 300 degrees to enter stand mode. The A10’s unique design means it adapts to whatever you choose to Do.

      Detailed Specification

      Processor
      Rockchip RK3188 Cortex-A9 Quad Core 1.6GHz
      Operating system
      Android
      Bus architecture
      1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC2-8500)
      Graphic Chipset
      Integrated Graphics, ARM Mali-400 MP4 533 MHz
      Display/Resolution
      10.1″ HD (1366 x 768) with multitouch
      Standard memory
      DDR3L (Max Memory 1GB or 2GB)
      SSD
      eMMC 16GB, 32GB
      I/O ports
      Combo headphone jack, Combo build in Microphone jack, USB 2.0 × 2, Micro USB × 1, TF card (Micro-SD)
      Audio
      Combo audio jack × 1, Speaker × 2, Built-in microphone
      Video
      HDMI port × 1
      Bluetooth
      only support BT&WIFI combo module
      Keyboard
      New Key Board
      Touch pad
      One piece touchpad
      Integrated camera
      0.3 mega pixels
      Battery
      2 cells/22.6Wh Polymer, supports up to nine hours of continuous video playback
      AC adapter
      5V Universal AC Adapter, 100-240V/50-60Hz, 10W with 5V DC output
      Weight
      less than 1kg
      Dimensions
      just 17.3mm at its thickest point

      Lenovo A10 Debuts as First Lenovo Laptop Powered by Android [press release, Oct 18, 2013]

      Multimode computing leader Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced the Lenovo A10, an affordable, ultra-portable, dual-mode laptop and the company’s first to run on Android 4.2 OS. Weighing less than 1kg and measuring just 17.3mm at its thickest point, the Lenovo A10 is an ideal companion for users on the go, providing easy access to a wide range of apps on a unique, dual-mode platform, which enhances the user experience for entertainment and Web browsing as well as productivity.
      Lenovo IdeaPad A10 – ARM TechCon ’13 [ARMflix YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
      Andy Frame, Senior Marketing Manager, Processor Division of ARM showcases the Lenovo IdeaPad A10, a dual mode Android notebook. It is based on quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 & quad-core Mali-400 GPUs.

      “In laptop mode,” users can take advantage of the A10’s unique, Lenovo-customized user interface, which provides an app launcher, task bar and status bar for quick, intuitive access to the app library and desktop, as well as convenient multitasking and app switching. File manager software, also included with the Lenovo customized OS, makes it easy to locate and manage a library of documents, videos and music. In laptop mode, the device offers a full-size ergonomic, AccuType keyboard for safe, comfortable use.
      With the A10’s 10.1-inch HD (1366 x 768) resolution screen flipped around 300 degrees in “stand mode,” the Lenovo A10 shines as a device optimized for touch-enabled apps and entertainment. The stable hinge and “fold-back” design keeps the device steady and prevents shaking and bouncing while using the 10-point multi-touch screen. Stereo speakers and an integrated 0.3M webcam help users stay connected with family and friends while enjoying an immersive “sight and sound” experience with multimedia apps, games and video.
      The Lenovo A10 is powered by an [Rockchip] RK3188, quad-core Cortex-A9 processor, running at a maximum frequency of 1.6GHz, the highest frequency for all quad-core ARM-based CPUs currently available. The Cortex-A9 processor delivers solid performance for gaming and entertainment purposes, as well as enhances users’ ability to multitask and be productive. In addition, the A10’s battery supports up to nine hours of continuous video playback, ensuring that it is ready to perform, both on the road and at the desk.
      “With the recent explosive growth in Android-based, smart connected devices, customers are relying more on Android apps for both work and play. Why should they be required to switch and duplicate to use their laptop? Lenovo’s A10 brings ultra-portability and dual-mode benefits to Android users at a reasonable price,” said Bai Peng, vice president and general manager, notebook business unit, Lenovo Business Group. “Thin and light, with multiple modes and user-inspired innovations for an outstanding user experience … the A10 is uniquely Lenovo.”
      Pricing and availability varies per region. The A10 will not be available in North America. Please contact your local PR representative for details.
      For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook.
      About Lenovo
      Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$34 billion personal technology company – the largest PC maker in the world and an emerging PC Plus leader – serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution.  Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the Company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo, a global Fortune 500 company, has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more information see www.lenovo.com.
      *Prices do not include tax or shipping and are subject to change without notice and is tied to specific terms and conditions. Reseller prices may vary. Price does not include all advertised features. All offers subject to availability. Lenovo reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.

      Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die!

      Nov 5, 2013: Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation

      … J.T. Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, said, “Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years. With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era.” …

      What I found after carefully analyzing the above outcome is summarized in the titles of the detailed sections of this post:

      1. To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive
      2. Taiwan is still confused
      3. How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end
      4. The road which lead to Acer downfall


      1. To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive

      THE LATEST EPISODES showing what was great from a general consumer point of view but not enough by far from enterprise point of view:

      We would all like to be a touch smarter, a touch cooler, a touch classier, and a touch simpler… With Acer it is possible, explore beyond limits with our touch & type products.
      IFA BERLIN 2013. For the those who missed the latest designed ‘Touch’ innovations from Acer. The Iconia A3: 10.1″ display with wide viewing angle and immersive sound. The Aspire R7: Award wining designed for touch notebook with active pen. The Liquid S2: Full HD 6″ display with 4K recording.
      Highlights from Acer’s Computex Global Press Conference, product booth, and Tiësto party
      See what happended during Acer’s Global Press Conference in New York City on May 3rd, 2013. Redefining the computing experience.

      AcerCloud™ – Be Free! [Acer YouTube channel, Oct 23, 2012]

      AcerCloud lets you access your photos, music, videos and documents wirelessly and simultaneously on all devices anytime and anywhere – it enriches your life with more freedom! See how AcerCloud saves Roy from Major embarrassment! -http://bit.ly/AcerCloud

      AND BACK THEN: May 9, 2011: Interview [AllThingsD]: Ousted Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci Talks About His Departure

      … Lanci said he was pushing the company to become more mobile-focused and more global. Acer, he said, needed to look beyond Taiwan as the world shifted to one in which Intel and Microsoft had less power and computer makers needed to do more work for themselves. … “The real major issue was doing that in Taiwan, this was not possible,” Lanci said. “We needed to go outside Taiwan, be it China or India or even the U.S. or Europe, wherever you can find software resources, software know-how.”

      What Lanci wanted to move beyond:

      Some highlights of the Acer Global Press Conference held in New York on November 23, 2010. Clear.fi, the Acer media sharing system, evolves with the introduction of some brand new products. Iconia, dual screen device, offers an entirely new touch experience, the new tablets ensure HD entertainment and Alive, the next generation content store, provides users with content tailored to their personal interests.
      Dual-screen, multi-touch: ICONIA is the new 14-inches tablet that incorporates the best features of any notebook or tablet device and much more! Thanks to its innovative concept ICONIA was the proud winner of the ‘Last Gadget Standing’ competition at CES 2011, Las Vegas. Welcome to a brand new computing and touch experience!
      Take a closer look at liquid mini, the compact and stylish Acer smartphone that packs maximum possibilities in a minimum size. Discover how many features are enclosed in this charming Android smartphone: multi-touch display, 5 megapixels camera, Acer’s exclusive Social Jogger app that integrates updates from your social network accounts into one feed… and much more!
      At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the new Acer Iconia Tab family was officially introduced: see here the Iconia Tab A500, with a 10.1 display and Android OS, Iconia Tab A100, 7″ display with Android, and Iconia Tab W500, with 10.1″ display and Windows OS.
      NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Iconia, the outstanding Acer’s dual screen device with all-point multi touch functionality, and the 10.1″ Windows tablet, completely touch screen but also equipped with a docking device that includes a keyboard, introduced by Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc.
      NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Enter into the world of Clear.fi: the smartest way to enjoy multimedia at home. Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc., explains that contents stored on any Clear.fi enabled devices can be shared seamlessly with the other devices using the same interface. Take also a look to the new 10.1″ tablet that ensure powerful performances, the 7″ tablet, ideal on the go, and, finally, the 4.8″phone that is a real mini tablet!

       

      The Acer Group is the culmination of years of innovation and change. We have become the global group we are today by adhering to the values and principles we established at our foundation. The language of these values may have changed, but our respect for and dedication to them has not.

      ACER GROUP CORE VALUES:

      The way we must act:
      (1) Innovative
      (2) Fast
      (3) Effective

      The pillars on which we must base our actions:

      (1) Value Creating
      (2) Customer-centric
      (3) Ethical
      (4) Caring

      THE ACER GROUP’S MISSION:

      User-friendly technology makes all the difference in today’s world. Indeed, the innovation and breakthroughs that technology brings can change the course of history.” With this introduction, the Acer Chairman delivers a clear message of the responsibilities and opportunities that technology can provide. Breaking down the barriers between people and technology is not an isolated event. It’s an ongoing process that unlocks our potential to bring innovation to life and embrace the challenges of the future.

      As Acer continues to break down barriers, we have the real possibility to make a difference to the world we live in.
      J. T. Wang
      Chairman, Acer Inc.

       

      Lanci, who was replaced as CEO in March, said that the interests that control Acer were worried that his plan would lead to a de-Taiwanization of the company.

      “I said, ‘Look, it is not de-Taiwanization,’” he said. “It is just globalization. If we want to be in the top three (PC makers) in the next three to five years, we need to be a global company and we need to leverage resources wherever they are.”

      Although today’s tablets are a consumer phenomenon, Lanci said the push by Microsoft to deliver Windows on ARM-based chips will help the devices move solidly into the business domain.

      “You can easily think about a tablet thin and light, like the current iPad 2,” he said, but offering everything that the PC offers as well. However, he said that Acer needed to do more to prepare for that world. In addition to boosting its own software capabilities, he said the company needed a different relationship with chipmakers. The PC world, he said, was one of buying and selling components, with pricing and availability based solely on volume. The mobile world, he said, is based on close partnerships and strategic alliances.

      As for who is doing things right, Apple is clearly winning, but there are others also making moves to adjust for the shifting world.

      “I see Samsung is probably doing the right thing,” he said. “HP, maybe. It depends what they are going to do with software and with WebOS.”

      However, he said much of the PC industry is in a similar position where Acer was.

      So with Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation as the result of Acer Q3’13 Financial Results: Consolidated Revenue NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), Operating Loss NT$2.57B (US$86.61M), Intangible Asset Impairment NT$9.94B (US$335.13M) leading PC vendors of the past should take advice from Dell Goes Private: 8 Things To Expect [InformationWeek, Nov 4, 2013]

      Dell CEO Michael Dell took the company private to gain more independence from Wall Street investors. Now that the buyout’s cleared, what moves can customers expect?

      After eight months of maneuvering, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell has finally taken the company private. Dell executives remained tightlipped about the buyout as the process wore on, and as the flailing PC market continued to punish the company’s margins. But now that Dell has officially delisted, many of its enterprise customers no doubt are asking the question: How will this affect me?

      Many have probably been asking the question for months. Activist investors such as Carl Icahn at times appeared to have the upper hand against Michael Dell. It seemed plausible at points that the founder might be ousted from his own company, or that pieces of the company might be sold off.

      And even after it became clear Michael Dell would prevail, questions still remained. Observers widely interpreted that Dell didn’t want the burden of Wall Street’s quarterly scrutiny; after all, it’s hard to invest in new enterprise services when shareholders are howling about PC profits every three months. But now that Dell has rid himself of investor pressure, the question still remains: What will he do with his new flexibility, and how will it help customers?

      Dell North America President PH Ferrand spoke withInformationWeek about Dell’s strategy as a privately held company. Here are eight takeaways from the conversation.

      1. Dell can make investments as a private company that it couldn’t make as a public company.

      Ferrand affirmed one of the buyout process’s dominant narratives: that from Dell’s perspective, Wall Street was more trouble than it was worth. Ferrand said going private will give the company more flexibility. It “might not have been obvious to investors” when the company needed to double down on investments, he said.

      2. Dell sees no reason to make a smartphone but will continue to make PCs.

      “Very few players make money [selling smartphones],” Ferrand said. “We don’t feel we have to be in the space.”

      That’s consistent with what Michael Dell told InformationWeek last year at Dell World. But many of the device manufacturers with which Dell competes have started positioning smartphones as a gateway to consumer sales and BYOD business. Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device business is a notable example. Execs at HP, another company struggling to adjust to the mobile world, have repeatedly indicated that a smartphone is coming.

      Why is Dell still resisting the trend? “The IT market is a $3 trillion business and we are about 2% of that,” Ferrand said. “We don’t need to have phones to get to 3% or 4%.”

      Even so, Ferrand said Dell remains committed to PCs and intends to become a leader in the commercial tablet space. He said he can’t rule out a Dell smartphone eventually but predicted that in the meantime, people will soon stop differentiating between tablets and computers; instead, they’ll simply talk broadly about mobile devices. If this revolution in user behavior happens, Dell hopes its Venue 11 Pro tablet will be one of the devices that gets it started; a “three-in-one” device, it attaches to a keyboard to become a laptop and docks to an external monitor to become a desktop replacement.

      3. Dell will focus on the hybrid cloud.

      Ferrand highlighted hybrid cloud services as a market on which Dell will focus, and which Dell sees as ripe for growth. “We want to dominate hybrid,” he said, explaining that customers want a company that will allow them to be flexible with their data. Customers want to move applications between private and public clouds as they see fit, and they want security from outages and data leaks, he said. He cited some of the investments Dell has already made to fulfill these needs, such as its acquisition of Gale, a company that makes cloud automation tools.

      But he said direct relationships with customers would be one of Dell’s defining traits as it builds its cloud business. With competitors such as HP, Microsoft, IBM and others occupying the same space, Dell hopes it can stand out not only with its products but also by serving as a “trusted advisor” for its customers.

      4. Dell wants to enable IT to manage BYOD and fragmented workplaces.

      Ferrand said device choice has become a smaller part of Dell’s conversations with customers. The reason? Dell’s cloud, virtualization and device management products allow companies to employ applications to whomever needs them, regardless of what kind device the person is using.

      “Connecting devices” will be one of Dell’s core competencies as a private company, Ferrand said, and it will involve a variety of products from the company’s existing portfolio, from Wyse technologies for thin clients, to KACE products for management and deployment, to Credent technologies for added security. Device management tools and virtual desktop products are fairly common, but Dell hopes the breadth of its offerings can help it to stand out. This “one-stop shop” mentality plays in the “trusted advisor” persona noted above. Ferrand said the attitude would apply to all Dell’s businesses.

      5. Dell will invest in next-gen data center technologies and big-data products.

      Ferrand also said Dell would continue to focus on next-generation data center products and big-data applications. The company has already achieved some early momentum with its Active System line ofconverged infrastructure products, as well as its hyperscale servers built around energy-efficient ARM processors. But for both these data centers products and its emerging analytics tools to stand out in the crowded market, Dell will need to continue showing that its software assets are starting to coalesce. The company spent several years acquiring software patents and expertise, but Dell’s success will rely on integrating all of the technologies at the right price and pace.

      6. Dell will increase its international sales coverage.

      U.S. customers currently account for an inordinate amount of Dell’s business but the company believes emerging markets will be central to its long-term success. Ferrand said the company will continue to participate heavily with channel partners but will also expand its fleet of direct sales representatives throughout the world.

      7. Dell will continue to focus on the middle market.

      As its enterprise portfolio has expanded, Dell has tried to carve out a niche by delivering enterprise-class resources to SMBs and mid-market customers. Ferrand said Dell will continue this strategy as a private company partly because the middle market contains the largest group of potential customers. But he said this focus also enables Dell to design more flexible products. It’s easier to scale up a mid-market architecture than to affordably repackage one designed for large companies, he said.

      8. Dell will execute moves more quickly than in the past.

      Ferrand didn’t offer any hints regarding big moves Dell might be planning — such as another major acquisition, or some kind of new product launch. But he said customers can expect Dell to quicken the pace of innovation. As a publicly-traded corporation, the company faced a variety of hurdles in making aggressive moves. But with Michael Dell now securely in the driver’s seat, Ferrand said changes will unroll much more quickly.


      2. Taiwan is still confused:

      China Times: China’s Internet phenomenon sends warning to Taiwan [Focus Taiwan, Nov 6, 2013]

      MomentCam, a mobile app that transforms pictures into cartoons, has quickly shot to popularity since its launch on Aug. 31, drawing 18.24 million users over the past two months.

      The Chinese company that developed the app, founded by Ren Xiaoqing, has obtained new investment of 30 million Chinese yuan since the app hit the market.

      The success story marks the rise of yet another Chinese Internet entrepreneur after Ma Huateng of Tencent Inc., Jack Ma of Alibaba Group, Yao Jinbo of 58.com Inc., and Zhuang Chenchao of qunar.com.

      China’s booming Internet sector stands in sharp contrast to the situation in Taiwan, where the country’s star ICT industry has been losing its luster and the economy remains sluggish.

      Taiwan’s ICT companies have hit a bottleneck because they have failed to reposition themselves from contract manufacturers to technology developers. In order to rescue the ICT industry, it is crucial for Taiwan to take part in the thriving Internet economy.

      Google Inc. has seen its share price soar from US$85 to over US$1,000 within the nine years since it was launched in 2004, and it currently has a market value of US$338 billion. The market capitalization of Facebook, meanwhile, has reached 1.3 times that of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. — the world’s largest contract chip maker.

      Taiwan’s ICT companies must not continue to confine themselves to the contract manufacturing market. The government should promote an alliance between the ICT industries of Taiwan and China and remove the current restrictions on the flows of information, talent and capital across the Taiwan Strait to salvage Taiwan’s dying economy. (Editorial abstract — Nov. 6, 2013)

      MomentCam app, China’s latest overnight sensation [WantChinaTimes.com, Nov 6, 2013]

      imageThree cartoon portraits made with the MomentCam app. (Internet Photo)
      A smartphone application that converts pictures of the user into cute cartoon characters has become a hit overnight in China, with the number of subscribers topping 20 million in the fourth months after its launch.
      The application, called MomentCam in English — a phonetic rendering of the Chinese which means “magic manga camera,” rose to the top of the free apps category on the Apple online store in China in just three days and notched a record 3.25 million subscribers a day. On the back of its rapid success, it recently attracted a 10 million yuan (US$1.64 million) loan.
      The software was created by two young people, Ren Xiaoqing and Huang Guangming, both members of the Dark Horse Development Camp, a platform dedicated to startups.
      Ren Xiaoqian, a fine-arts major, conceived of the idea when working as a souvenir designer for Walmart in the US in 2006. “A popular [design] for Walmart back then was planting a human face on the body of a cartoon character, although the effect was quite ugly as well as the dark background. This gave me the idea to render photographs of people in a cartoony comic style, believing that it would be even more popular,” Ren said.
      In 2008, she encountered Huang Guangming, then a manager at Microsoft, and they decided to combine their respective expertise in the fields of fine art and computing by returning to China to found a startup.
      The company initially dedicated itself to the production of custom-made cartoon souvenirs for some major local companies before Ren decided to switch to online business entirely due to the ceiling for offline products and her dislike of the need to entertain clients to drum up business.
      From a slow start, the MomentCam app suddenly became a hit overnight. “We were not mentally prepared for the phenomenal growth of subscribers,” Ren admitted. The number of downloads topped 1 million in one month and 10 million in three months as people became aware of the software, which converts a photograph of a human into a cartoon figure in the space of a few seconds.
      Ren said the challenge now is how to maintain the number of subscribers to avoid it becoming a short-lived fad, a fate that has befallen a great many applications in China.

      Windows 8.1 tablet sales 20-30% below expectations [DIGITIMES, Oct 31, 2013]

      Channel retailers are seeing their Windows 8.1-based tablet sales in October 20-30% below than their original expectations, despite strong price/performance ratios.

      Asustek Computer’s recently released Transformer Book T100 is priced at US$349 for a 32GB model and US$399 for 64GB and after bundling with telecom services, the 64GB model’s price drops from NT$12,900 (US$438) to NT$5,000-6,000 in Taiwan.

      Sources from channel retailers pointed out that the weakening Windows 8.1 tablet demand is due to competition from PC and Android-based tablets. Most of these products have received price cuts after the release of Windows 8.1-based 2-in-1 devices.

      Since Windows 8.1-based tablets are starting to face problems similar to those of previous Windows-based models, the sources are concerned that inventory issues may rise again in 2014.

      So far, channel retailers have not yet received any word about price cuts from brand vendors, but some retailers expect Windows 8.1 tablets to receive over 20% discounts in December for the year-end shopping season.

      Dell expected to overtake Acer to become third-largest notebook vendor in 2014, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Sept 17, 2013]

      Microsoft’s ending Windows XP technical support in April 2014 has triggered growing replacement of business-use notebooks, and this is expected to significantly benefit Dell because Dell has more focus on business-use modes than other notebook vendors, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Consequently, Dell is expected to surpass Acer to become the global third-largest notebook vendor in 2014.

      Notebook vendors normally do not rely on business-use models for volume shipments mainly because sales are subject to the government sector’s and enterprises’ procurement scheduling, the sources indicated. But while demand for consumer notebooks has been shrinking due to competition from tablets and smartphones, business-use models have become the main source of growth for notebook vendors, the sources said.

      Dell is expected to continue to focus on the business-use market segment, especially after its privatization, the sources noted. Dell shipped 9.285 million notebooks globally in the first half of 2013, ranking fourth next to Acer’s shipments of 9.814 million units, the sources cited IDC statistics as indicating.

      Commentary: Suppliers need to prepare for Dell strategy change [DIGITIMES, Sept 27, 2013]

      As Dell is expected to become privatized, Taiwan’s upstream component suppliers may need to start preparing for the US vendor’s business reorganization.
      Michael Dell previously said that the company will accelerate its reorganization after becoming privatized and though the PC business will not be abandoned, it will surely no longer be the major focus of the US vendor.
      Dell’s financial report for the second quarter showed that the company still had about 33% of profits coming from computing-related product lines including desktops, notebooks and tablets. However, as the PC industry continues to decline, placing less emphasis on the PC business is a path Dell is likely to take in order to achieve growth in the future.
      The PC industry has already been shrinking for two consecutive years and is expected to continue declining in 2014. Although Wintel has been aggressively releasing new products and cutting prices, it has been unable to stimulate PC demand. This is a clear indication that the industry has already entered the decline stage and users may only replace their PC products when they are no long functional.
      PCs still have low penetration in emerging markets, but as consumers of these markets are also having high interest in smartphones and tablets, the PC industry is unlikely to return to a growth track through these markets.
      With the integration between software and hardware becoming a new trend of the IT market, upstream suppliers may also need to start preparing for Dell’s future strategy of combining software design with hardware products.

      Dell optimistic about Windows 8.1 for enterprise PCs [DIGITIMES, Aug 29, 2013]

      As Microsoft is ready to release Windows 8.1 on October 18, Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman and president of Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions, has expressed his optimism about the operating system. Compared to Android and iOS, Windows’ security and management abilities will allow the OS to become the top pick of the enterprise PC industry, Clarke noted.

      Although Clarke has mentioned that Dell is planning to release several Windows-based tablets in the second half, he has not provided much detail for the related plans.

      However, sources from the upstream supply chain has revealed that Dell is currently planning to release an 8-inch Windows-based tablet in the second half, targeting mainly the enterprise market.

      In addition, Dell is also considering releasing a 10.6-inch Windows tablet, adopting either a Core i or an Atom processor, the sources added.

      Dell aims to strengthen software businesses in Greater China [DIGITIMES, June 24, 2013]

      Dell has set up four major departments, End-User Computing, Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG), Dell Software Group (DSG) and Services, and plans to strengthen businesses in Greater China in 2013.
      The DSG was established earlier in 2013, while the Service department was formed only three years ago. With the four departments, Dell is able to push complete solutions as well as increase service consulting for its clients in Greater China.
      Dell has been acquiring solution providers in the market since 2010 and has acquired players such as Kace, SonicWall and Quest. Thanks to the acquisitions, Dell Taiwan’s software solution business currently has over one thousand clients that are using its solution services including datacenter, cloud computing, information and data management, mobile office management and security and data protection.
      Currently, Dell has about 40-50 service consultants for the Greater China region and is currently hiring more to support demand from the information and data management service sectors.
      Dell Taiwan president Terence Liao pointed out that Dell’s global revenues in 2012 were about US$50 billion and the software segment contributed about US$1.5 billion. Since Dell Taiwan’s software business also shared a similar proportion, it shows that the software business has already become a focus at Dell.
      In the future, Liao expects Dell Taiwan’s sales growth to be driven mainly by cloud computing and security and data protection services, and therefore will offer promotions to push the two services in the channel.


      3. How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end:

      FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS:

      May 8, 2013: Acer forecasts shipment growth in Q2 (update)

      Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Wednesday that it is aiming for single-digit growth in shipments in the current quarter after returning to profitability in the first quarter.
      Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told an investor conference that he expects shipments of Acer’s notebooks, netbooks and tablets to remain flat or increase by up to 5 percent in the second quarter.
      The company said its total PC shipments fell 11 percent sequentially in the first quarter, but it did not disclose the actual number of units shipped.
      According to data compiled by research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Acer shipments plunged 31.3 percent year-on-year to 6.15 million units in the first quarter, well below the industry’s average of a 13.9 percent decline.
      Wong said touch-enabled notebooks are expected to account for about 25 percent of Acer’s total notebook shipments in the second quarter, and that the ratio is likely to hit 30 to 35 percent by the end of the year.
      J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said his company plans to break even in the second quarter, when the shipping quantity of its touch notebooks is expected to double those shipped in the first quarter.
      He said Acer will continue to make more efforts in customer-centric designs and marketing to help the company regain growth momentum in the next decade.
      “Our approach is to focus on driving valuable growth that is profitable and enhances Acer brand value,” Wang said.
      The company’s operating margin in the quarter was 0.03 percent, and it had consolidated revenue of NT$91.7 billion (US$3.08 billion), down 9.4 percent from the previous quarter due to seasonal factors.
      The company’s first quarter net income was NT$515 million, or NT$0.19 per share, derived mainly from non-operating income such as foreign exchange gains and the disposal of stock.
      Acer’s operating income was NT$29 million, compared with an operating loss of NT$3.37 billion in the fourth quarter of last year that included a NT$3.5 billion intangible asset impairment charge for the loss in value of its rights to four trademarks.
      Acer unveiled a series of Windows 8-based laptops and tablets in New York on May 3 in a bid to boost shipments and strengthen its bottom line, but the company is still struggling to cope with weak PC demand and strong competition from other brands.
      Kirk Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at British banking group Barclays Plc, said Acer’s operating margin of 0.03 percent was much lower than his forecast of 0.18 percent and a consensus estimate of 0.17 percent by Bloomberg.
      “We expect Acer to guide revenue to grow by single digits sequentially, after posting quarter-on-quarter revenue contraction for five quarters in a row,” Yang said in a note to clients before the investor meeting.
      “However, we estimate that Acer’s operating margin in the second quarter of 2013 will not see any meaningful recovery due to weakening global PC demand and more low-priced tablet PC shipments in the mix,” he wrote.
      Barclays forecast that Acer’s sales revenue will grow 4.8 percent for the whole of 2013, with its operating margin improved to 0.8 percent. It maintained an “equal-weight” rating and a target price of NT$24 on the stock.
      Acer shares closed up 2.26 percent at NT$24.85 before the announcement of the quarterly results.

      August 8, 2013: Acer aiming to break even in Q3

      Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Thursday it expects to break even or record a small operating loss in the third quarter of 2013, despite its disappointing results in the previous quarter.
      The company’s mobile PC shipments — including notebooks, netbooks and tablets — are forecast to grow by 0-5 percent sequentially in the third quarter, Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told investors in a conference call.
      However, Acer has lowered its annual tablet shipment target to between 5.5 million and 6.5 million units, from its projection in May of 5 million to 10 million units, Wong said.
      He said touch-enabled notebooks will account for 20-25 percent of Acer’s total laptop shipments this year, below its previous estimate of 30 percent, in light of weakening demand for such products.
      “I think applications are most important. Today, there are still no killer applications for touch (notebooks),” Wong said in the conference call.
      Asked about Acer’s full-year outlook, he said the company is trying to “sustain its market share while protecting its bottom line.”
      The company is aiming to stay profitable in 2013 after registering losses over the past two years, Wong indicated.
      J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company is expanding its non-Windows business, including Android-based tablets and smartphones, as well as the web-centric Chromebook laptops promoted by Google Inc.
      Non-Windows business is expected to make up 10-12 percent of Acer’s revenue this year and 20-30 percent next year, Wang said.
      Acer reported an operating loss of NT$613 million (US$20.47 million) for the second quarterfollowing six consecutive quarters of operating profit — because of increasing investment and the rising cost of memory chips.
      For the first six months of 2013, the Taiwanese PC maker’s consolidated revenue fell 18.9 percent year-on-year to NT$181.35 billion, resulting in an operating loss of NT$585 million and earnings per share of NT$0.06.
      British bank Barclays Plc maintained its “equal-weight” rating on Acer shares and cut its earnings per share estimates by 5.4 percent for 2013, and by 5.3 percent for 2014, forecasting a contraction in Acer’s sales and more competition pressure.
      “We expect Acer’s sales to continue to be weak and do not expect any further momentum currently,” Kirk Yang, head of Asia ex-Japan Tech Hardware Research at Barclays, said in a research note dated Aug. 6.
      “We expect Acer will face a more competitive situation in the tablet and notebook segments in the near term and we don’t see it having an obvious plan in place to react,” said Yang, who reduced his price target on the stock from NT$24 to NT$23.
      Acer shares ended 3.97 percent lower at NT$20.55 Thursday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

      August 30, 2013: Talk of the Day — Will Acer be sold or merged?

      Acer Inc., Taiwan’s leading computer vendor, has seen its share price plunge to historically low levels in recent months.
      Market sources said earlier this week that investment banks are planning to broker a merger between Acer and one of two major rivals — Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer or China’s Lenovo Group.
      Acer founder Stan Shih said Thursday that he had an open mind toward such an overture.
      I would let nature take its course,” Shih said, but he added that no investment bankers have approached him for such talks.
      In charting the company’s future development strategy or direction, Shih said, the rights and interests of all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and society at large, should be priority concerns.
      Shih has retired and is no longer involved in Acer’s management, but he remains the company’s largest shareholder, controlling 2.64 percent of its shares. His wife has a similar sized stake in the company.
      Shares of Acer gained 2.57 percent to close at NT$19.95 Friday.
      The following are excerpts from local media coverage of Shih’s views on Acer’s future:
      Economic Daily News:
      Acer spokesman Henry Wang said Thursday that the company has never thought about a merger with any other corporation.
      We are restructuring and streamlining our operations, and focusing more on innovating,” Wang said.
      While the company is tapping into the ever-expanding tablet market to help compensate for declining PC sales, it has also launched a new generation of laptops and desktops, including an ultra-thin laptop-tablet hybrid, he said.
      In the past, some foreign analysts have suggested that Taiwan’s two leading PC makers — Acer and AsusTek — should merge to expand their operating scale and enhance their international competitiveness.
      Acer Chairman J.T. Wang also said previously that Lenovo, which has emerged as the world’s second largest PC vendor and has a comprehensive portfolio of products, proposed a few years ago to buy out Acer, but Wang said he politely rejected such an offer.
      On Thursday, Stan Shih was asked to comment on reports that investment banks intend to mediate an Acer-AsusTek merger or an Acer-Lenovo merger.
      Shih said Acer is not a company that can be evaluated solely in financial terms.
      “Capitalists tend to assess things simply in monetary terms, but Acer has something invaluable,” Shih said.
      As one of Taiwan’s few international brands, Shih said, Acer has come a long way and overcome numerous challenges in building up its brand recognition.
      “I hope local people will give Acer more encouragement and support,” Shih said. (Aug. 30, 2013).
      China Times:
      Shih said a company’s share price is not the sole indicator used to assess a company’s value.
      “I have not been bothered by fluctuations in Acer’s share price,” Shih said Thursday when chairing an event marking the start of applications for this year’s Acer Digital Award.
      But he added that the PC industry is changing rapidly.
      “We should let nature take its course. If somebody wants to take over Acer at a price beyond what anybody could imagine and create an even better brand based on it, why we should resist such a deal,” he said. (Aug. 30, 2013).

      May 11, 2013: Acer, Asustek upbeat about Windows 8 market reception

      Taiwan-based Acer Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc., two of the world’s leading personal computer vendors, are optimistic about the market reception of Microsoft Corp.’s latest operating system Windows 8, which is to be revamped, market sources said Saturday.
      Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said Microsoft is eager to communicate with hardware device providers like Acer in an attempt to improve the Windows 8 functions and make the platform more user-friendly.
      Amid lackluster market reception since the new Microsoft operating system was launched at the end of October 2012, the U.S.-based software giant said it is planning to revamp the OS so that consumers will learn how to use the new platform more quickly.
      The plan to launch a new version of Windows 8 was announced after Tami Reller, Microsoft’s chief marketing and financial officer, conceded that it was not easy for consumers to get used to the platform.
      Many business users have been urging Microsoft to restore the “Start” button in its latest OS. In the earlier Windows versions, the icon appears in the lower-left corner of the computer screen, but is not visible in the latest software.
      To stir up buying interest, Microsoft has lowered its royalties by US$20-US$30 (NT$600-NT$1,000) on touch notebook computers 11.6 inches or smaller, while offering incentives to distributors of Windows 8 tablet computers.
      Market sources said Microsoft is expected to cut its royalties on Windows 8 tablet computers so that they can be sold at around US$199-US$349 and thus make them more competitive in the market.
      Wang said the changes in Microsoft’s strategy will have a positive effect on market reception of the Windows 8 OS and also on the future development of the PC industry.
      Acer said that with touch devices becoming the mainstream in the PC market, it will continue to unveil tablets, touch ultrabook computers, and combination PCs and smartphones, all running either Windows 8 or Google’s Android operating system.
      Meanwhile, Asustek said Windows 8 is a good product, although some consumers have not gotten used to it. Once Microsoft revamps the OS, sales of Windows 8 mobile devices will pick up, Asustek said.

      June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines

      imageAcer Chairman J.T. Wang (left) holds the 8-inch Iconia W3,
      and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Birkin holds the 5.7-inch Liquid S1.

      Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. unveiled a series of new products Monday, including an 8-inch Windows tablet and a 5.7-inch phablet.

      At an international press conference held under the theme of “Redefining Technology Through Touch,” Acer showcased a wide array of its latest products one day ahead of Asia’s largest computer trade show.

      The 8-inch Iconia W3, one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets on the market, weighs 500 grams and is less than half an inch thick. With a battery life of eight hours, the device can beam out 720p video playback on a 1,280 x 800 display. It also comes with an optional full-size keyboard.

      The company also displayed its first phone-tablet hybrid product, the Liquid S1, with the aim of gaining traction in the fast-growing hybrid market.

      The new quad-core phablet features a 5.7-inch 720p display, weighs 195 grams and runs on Google’s Android 4.2 operating system.

      Acer projected that the global phablet market will grow to about 10 million units in 2013, up from between 7 million and 8 million units last year.

      June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines (update)

      Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said on the sidelines of the launch ceremony that touch technology applications have become all the rage, and this will continue in the future.

      “It’s all about touch,” he said, adding that the launch of the new products is expected to meet consumer demand.


      4. The road which lead to Acer downfall
      :

      Acer press release:

      March 31, 2011: Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci resigns – With immediate effect

      Gianfranco Lanci is appointed President of Acer Inc., effective January 2005 … Current President, J.T. Wang, will step into the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as Stan Shih retires from Acer at the end of this year. The new positions are effective from 1 January 2005. Lanci’s designation marks Acer’s appreciation for his outstanding performance in the European market, including his management style and successful business model – which may now extend to the Acer group worldwide. …
      Acer’s Lanci Takes Over CEO Role [IDG News Service, June 13, 2008] … Gianfranco Lanci, who came to Acer from Texas Instruments (TI) when Acer bought the TravelMate laptop PC business from TI in 1997, will add the CEO position to his current role as president of Acer.
      The company’s laptop business has been a driving force in its double-digit growth over the past few years and helped catapult Acer into the number-three spot in the PC industry.
      J.T. Wang, the current chairman of Acer, relinquished his CEO title at Acer but took on the title of Acer Group CEO on Friday, Acer said in a statement.
      Wang took over as chairman at Acer from company founder Stan Shih several years ago, after Acer split itself into three distinct companies in order to separate its branded business from its contract manufacturing operations. Acer took over as the branded company, while Wistron took most of the PC-related contract manufacturing and BenQ took on mobile phone and PC-related work.
      Shih retired from Acer in December 2004.
      Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci has resigned from the company, with immediate effect. Acer Chairman J.T. Wang takes acting role in the interim. The company has commenced with the planning of organizational and operational adjustments for the sustainable future of Acer.
      The resignation was approved at a meeting of Acer’s Board of Directors today, and the company has communicated internally with its worldwide employees.

      On the company’s future development, Lanci held different views from a majority of the board members, and could not reach a consensus following several months’ of dialog. They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation.

      The change does not affect current operations which are functioning as normal. Acer’s strong management team of multi-nationals has been well-informed and is committed to overseeing and implementing the company strategies, as does the amicable company relations with industry partners persist. Acer will continue to push for globalization, follow its multi-brand and channel business model, develop competitive products and services, and foster closer relations with key vendors and channel partners.

      Acer Chairman, J.T. Wang expresses, “The personal computer remains the core of our business. 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.”

      “In this new ICT industry,” continued Wang, “Acer needs a period of time for adjustment. With the spirit of entrepreneurship, we will face new challenges and look to the future with confidence.”

      In his role as President and CEO, Lanci has contributed significantly toward Acer’s growth. The company expresses its true appreciation for Lanci’s efforts and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.

      April 19, 2011: Acer appoints Jim Wong as Corporate President – Through teamwork, company to face challenges and embrace opportunities of the new ICT industry

      Acer Inc.’s board of directors has approved the candidacy of Jim Wong as the new Corporate President, with immediate effect. Wong previously held the positions of corporate senior vice president and president of IT Products Group (ITGO). Together with Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang, they will lead the company forward to embrace new challenges and opportunities in the new ICT age.

      Acer Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang … “As the ICT industry shifts from single to multiple operating system platforms, it opens up new challenges as well as new opportunities. Acer needs a leader who is familiar with technology, as well as understands the market. We reviewed Jim’s potential and agreed he would fit well in the role.”

      The rapid growth from data-creation to data-consumption devices is increasing the ICT market scale and opening up new prospects. Acer will aggressively yet cautiously develop data-consumption products, tablet PCs and smartphones based on the solid foundation of the main PC business.

      Jim Wong, new corporate president of Acer states, “The IT industry is encountering a profound change. I foresee many new opportunities and am ready to face the challenges ahead. I will encourage teamwork throughout the company and work closely with the new management team. We are ready with a clear set of goals and action plans.”

      In the PC business, Acer will continue to seek volume/shipment growth, but we must optimize our multi-brand strategy by having clear differentiation of the brands’ positioning and create value for our customers. Concurrently, Acer shall focus on developing selective models for mobile devices to lay a solid foundation for the future.
      Three key principles have been defined by Acer’s new management to ensure successful decision making:

      • Promote the spirit of teamwork to enhance company’s overall competitiveness, and encourage closer communication between front-end and back-end management teams for better mutual understanding.
      • Simplify operational systems and processes to boost effectiveness and speed.
      • Strengthen corporate governance and enhance company sustainability.

      Wong joined Acer in 1986, with experience in sales, product marketing, product development, with a keen understanding of ODM supplier operations and the brand business. In 2001 when he took charge of the ITGO, he has been one of the core members of Acer’s top management team. In 2005 he was promoted to corporate senior vice president.

      Born in 1958, Wong holds a bachelor degree, majoring in mathematics from Soochow University in Taiwan, and an MBA from Emory University, Georgia, USA.  In 1999 he received Taiwan’s 17th Annual Management of Excellency Award.

      Acer ICONIA [press release, Nov 23, 2011]

      Not so long ago mobile computing devices with touch screens were only found in science fiction. Now Acer presents ICONIA, a new concept device set to add a brand new tablet experience, combining the versatility of a conventional 14” form factor with a unique dual-screen layout and highly intuitive all-point multi-touch functionality, which means you can use all the fingers of your hands to navigate ICONIA.

      If you are looking for a different and innovative approach to personal computing, look no further. With its two all-point multi-touch displays Acer ICONIA offers an enhanced content consumption experience and brings the interaction with the tablet to a new level.

      Multimedia, entertainment, communication, web browsing and office productivity seamlessly flow across the dual screen, allowing users to set the best scenario for what they are doing. To improve readability of web sites or documents, the window can be spread across both screens. But the dual screen also means you can do one thing in one screen and something else entirely on the other: you can browse a website on the top screen and view the contents of your favourite folder on the bottom one or you can watch a video on the top screen and check out your multimedia library in the other.

      “We took this insight and created a range of easy to use devices with touch technology including Smartphones, Notebooks, AIO PCs, Tablet and our latest addition, the ICONIA Touchbook: this level of commitment to touch technology is something no other PC vendor can compete with.” states Jim Wong Acer Inc. Vice President and ITGO President. “The Intel® Core™ i5 processor together with our experience with touch technology has allowed us to completely remap the user experience to create a far more natural interaction with our devices.

      April 19, 2011: Acer establishes Touch Business Group to enhance development of new mobile devices

      • Acer Corporate President Jim Wong to lead Touch Business Group
      • Campbell Kan to lead PC Global Operations
      • Walter Deppeler to lead Chief Marketing Office

      Acer Inc. announces organizational adjustments in separating the back-end product-line operations into two independent entities: Touch Business Group (Touch BG) and PC Global Operations (PCGO) lead by new Acer corporate president, Jim Wong, and Campbell Kan, former VP of the smart handheld business unit, respectively. In addition, Acer announces new functions for mid- and long-term business planning and operation analysis.

      To make significant inroads in the mobile device business, Acer has reorganized the former IT product global operations into two independent entities. The newly founded Touch BG comprises of the former tablet PC and smartphone teams, while the PCGO consists of the main PC product lines.

      The Touch BG shall be led by new Acer corporate president, Jim Wong, and president of Eten Information Systems, Simon Hwang, concurrently appointed deputy president of Touch BG.

      Acer president, Jim Wong, states, “Touch/mobile devices open up a host of new opportunities. They form Acer’s new business and growth engine for the future. To focus on this market, we saw the need to allocate sufficient resources, and devise a new management structure different from the PC business specifically for this line of business.”

      New Functions
      Acer also creates three new functions deemed necessary for company’s competitive development, they are: Chief Marketing Office (CMO) – responsible for brand position and marketing strategy; Chief Technology Office (CTO) – responsible for mid to long term planning and integration of technologies; and Operation Analysis Office (OAO) – for studying and analyzing company business models and financial affairs.

      Senior corporate VP and EMEA president, Walter Deppeler, shall concurrently serve as CMO, while Tiffany Huang, AVP of supply chain operations will concurrently oversee the OAO. The CTO will be jointly led by former VP of quality and service, Jackson Lin, former CTO of products development, R.C. Chang, and former VP of technology center, Arif Maskatia.

      May 26, 2011: Acer’s manufacturing base in Chongqing commences operation – Ceremony to mark milestone achievement joined by Mayor Huang Qifan and Acer President Jim Wongise competitiveness on a global scale.

      Acer’s new global IT manufacturing center in Chongqing has commenced production. Today a ceremony attended by Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan and Acer President Jim Wong was held to mark this achievement. The city of Chongqing in western China offers excellent infrastructure including land and air transportation, and stable manpower supply. The newly operational manufacturing center is expected to enhance Acer’s worldwide business and logistics to boost overall competitiveness.

      Acer President, Jim Wong, remarked, “Our decision to go west in China is a global strategy. Since December last year, the steps in setting up this manufacturing base have been smooth, enabling our production start in May. Acer is extremely grateful for the support of the Chongqing government and our manufacturing partners to make this a possibility.”

      “Major OEM companies have already set foot in Chongqing and all will begin shipping by the second half of this year,” continued Wong. “Key component suppliers have also set up presence here to create a complete supply chain. To begin with, we will produce our notebook and netbook PCs in Chongqing and gradually expand our manufacturing volume. By the end of 2011, 30-40% of our total notebook and netbook PCs will be produced here.”

      June 1, 2011: Acer Chairman & CEO to relinquish his remuneration

      Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang is taking responsibility of the one-time write-off totaling US$150 million by relinquishing total remuneration from his position as director of the company board, as well as employee bonus of  2010.

      With Acer’s substantial loss in write-off, Wang deeply feels regretful of the current situation and will dedicate his efforts fully to investigating the reasons behind the loss and to improving internal management.

      July 18, 2011: Dave Chan appointed General Manager of China Operations, Acer Touch Business Group – Focus on penetration into China touch mobile device market

      Global IT industry veteran, Dave Chan, has been appointed General Manager of China Operations, Acer Touch Business Group. Under Chan’s leadership, Acer expects to accelerate penetration into China’s smartphone and tablet PC market.

      Chan has been working in the high-tech industry for more than 20 years, accumulating a wealth of experience in the consumer/retail business and operations with extensive geographic experiences ranging from global, regional (Asia) and country (China). Prior to this, he served as senior official for eight years at a first-tier IT company, responsible for notebooks, smartphones and tablet PCs in China.

      Acer Corporate President, Jim Wong, said, “Touch mobile device is Acer’s new strategic business. While China’s huge IT market, with unique applications and customer segment, presents great business potential. To address these specific needs, we established a separate business group overseeing the China touch mobile device market and will allocate the needed human resource.”

      “Dave will lead Acer’s touch business development team in China,” continued Wong, “cooperate with local telcos and operators on R&D, software, sales and services. His joining ensures that Acer has substantial leadership to steer this new business forward in China.”

      To make significant inroads in the mobile device business, Acer announced in April the newly founded Touch Business Group comprising of the former tablet PC and smartphone teams, and directly overseen by Wong.
      Chan holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University and MBA from Santa Clara University.

      July 18, 2011: Acer sets up global R&D center in Chongqing – Focus on smart handheld application software and services

      A new global R&D center, Acer Intellectual (Chongqing) Co. Ltd., was inaugurated today to enhance Acer’s development in smartphones and tablet PCs. The center shall cooperate with Chongqing municipal government and China Mobile Ltd. in researching and developing smart handheld devices as well as related software and services.

      An inaugural ceremony was held today and joined by Chongqing government officials, during which Acer also signed an agreement with Chongqing Economic and IT Commission (CQEIC) and China Mobile’s Chongqing subsidiary (Chongqing Mobile) to jointly research and develop smart handheld devices, including smartphones and tablet PCs, application software and services.

      To begin with, Acer will invest US$4 million in Acer Intellectual (Chongqing) Co. The center, led by Acer Corporate President Jim Wong, will also focus on the smart handheld user behavior study in the China market.

      Acer’s R&D taskforce has already begun collaborating with Chongqing Mobile and local IT companies to successfully develop software applications for Android based TD (time domain) smartphones; the applications are used by Chongqing civil servants. Further on, together with Chongqing government, the center will develop smart handheld mobile terminals to provide more value-added services.

      January 8, 2012: Acer Unveils World’s Thinnest Ultrabook: Aspire S5

      “The Ultrabook is much more than just a product segment,” said Jim Wong, president of Acer Inc. “It’s a new trend that will become the mainstream for mobile PCs, and customers will see the unique features gradually extended across Acer’s notebook family.”

      January 8, 2012: AcerCloud Connects All Personal Devices Securely for Anytime, Anywhere Access to Digital Media and Data

      Acer today previewed its upcoming AcerCloud, which securely connects all personal smart devices for anytime, anywhere access. Featuring Acer Always Connect technology, users can retrieve multimedia and data files anytime, even when their main PC is in sleep (standby/hibernation) mode. Users can enjoy these advantages knowing that their information is stored and transferred securely via strong encryption and authentication. Bringing users tremendous functionality and value, Acer will include the AcerCloud, without additional cost, on all new Acer consumer PCs.

      Acer reduces the complexities of today’s fast-paced lifestyles by developing solutions that enable devices to communicate, simplifying the process of content sharing. With the ever-growing number of smart digital devices, users need to share and back up their multimedia and data files in a simple, smart way.

      Acer Inc. President Jim Wong stated, “AcerCloud not only provides the simplicity and efficiency when accessing and sharing data, but it’s also free with a new Acer PC and gives our users peace-of-mind, knowing that their data is safely transferred in a personal cloud space.”

      AcerCloud will be bundled on all Acer consumer PCs starting Q2 2012. It will support all Android devices, while future support is planned for Windows-based devices. The service will be available in America, Europe, Asia and China.

      August 30, 2012: Acer Steps Up Marketing, Engages Red Peak Group and Appoints Michael Birkin as Chief Marketing Officer

      To energize and strengthen Acer’s global marketing organization, Acer will engage Red Peak Group, a global marketing services firm, and appoint Red Peak Chairman Michael Birkin as Acer Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This strategic move is aimed at strengthening Acer as a marketing-oriented company.

      Red Peak will assign Birkin and other Red Peak members to perform related marketing functions and services for Acer. And as CMO, Birkin will lead the global brand marketing team, and report directly to Acer’s chairman and CEO, commencing October 1, 2012.

      According to Acer Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang, “Our key objectives for Red Peak are to enhance Acer’s marketing strengths and help steer the existing company mindset.”

      “In the product development stages, we will place marketing ahead of R&D and design,” said Wang. “Our precise understanding of customers’ needs will lead the way in products and services development. We will build an end-to-end marketing environment and enhance our marketing-oriented mindset.”

      Birkin is regarded as one of the world’s most respected brand strategists and marketing experts. During his career he served as the CEO of Interbrand Group, the brand consultancy, and worked in various capacities at Omnicom, the global advertising and marketing communications services group. In 2010, Birkin founded the Red Peak Group, a marketing services company with offices in New York, London and Los Angeles, offering a full range of services including brand consulting and design.

      In addition to the marketing organization and personnel changes, the incumbent CMO Walter Deppeler, has been assigned to lead a newly established marketing committee as Chairman, responsible for integrating Acer’s global branding and marketing strategy.

      June 4, 2012: Acer Unveils Windows® 8 PC Lineup: Ultrabooks™, Tablets, and AIO Desktops – Creating a world of explorers through transformational user experiences

      Acer today announces its series of Windows 8-based products, which includes the premium Aspire S7 Ultrabook™, ICONIA W Series tablets, and Aspire U Series all-in-one (AIO) desktops, all featuring innovative ergonomic designs and appealing beauty that deliver greater convenience and delight to the overall user experience.
      “It is a watershed moment for Acer,” says J.T. Wang, Chairman and CEO of Acer Inc. “Acer has always been committed to breaking the barriers between people and technology and the leading design of these products, when coupled with the Windows® 8 touch functions, will provide transformational experiences for users whether they are creating important output or simply being entertained.”
      Jim Wong, Corporate President of Acer Inc. comments, “Acer collaborated closely with Microsoft Corp. and has taken the lead to engineer new products that will be great with Windows® 8, demonstrating our product development efficiencies and taking advantage of our ability to provide an enhanced and satisfying computing experience. By focusing on ergonomics and style, we are addressing key consumer demands.”
      Wong continues: “Interaction between human beings and computers should be easy rather than complex. In our view, the touchscreen experience enabled by Windows® 8 is a massive step forward – simply because it makes computing more intuitive by offering users a backward in interface. We understand Windows® 8 innovation and benefits and by utilizing Intel’s architecture and platform performance on our products, we believe we will provide users a better touch experience across devices for both consumer and commercial products.”
      “Microsoft and Acer have been working together on new devices for Windows® 8, and it’s great to see the progress Acer is making,” says Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, OEM Division, Microsoft Corp. “We expect customers to have a great experience using the combination of Windows® 8 and the new hardware designs from Acer.”
      “Intel and Acer continue to focus on innovation and collaboration delivering engaging and secure user experiences,” says Kirk Skaugen, Vice President and General Manager, PC Client Group of Intel Corp. “Combined with the increased responsiveness of Intel’s 3rd generation Intel Core processor, new breakthrough capabilities possible with future Microsoft Windows® 8, and the added flexibility of touch, the Acer Aspire Ultrabook™ will provide a magnificent experience for users.”
      Wong says further, “At CES we announced Acer’s new brand positioning, the visible statement of which is to explore beyond limits. Today’s announcement is the most significant yet in our goal to create a modern day explorer in everyone. Our new products are 100% designed and created to enable anyone to accomplish more whether they be an individual or a business.”
      In the development of the new product lineup, Acer has been working even more closely with Microsoft and Intel.
      PRODUCT INFORMATION
      The Aspire S7 Ultrabook™ — the premium model in the S Series — boasts a sleek aluminum unibody design. The 13.1-inch model is currently the thinnest Full HD touch Ultrabook™ and features glossy tempered glass, while the 11.6-inch model is the smallest Full HD touch-enabled Ultrabook™. Both devices are kitted out with the innovative Acer Twin Air cooling system for best thermal comfort, as well as a light-sensing keyboard that adjusts its backlight to facilitate typing, even in low light.
      The ICONIA W510 and W700 tablets have raised touch functionality to the next level. The W510 is equipped with a 10.1-inch display and has tri-mode touch, which allows users to touch, type and view. It also delivers up to 18 hours of battery life and headlines Always On, Always Connect technology. The W700 is the best-performing Windows tablet with a versatile cradle that is adjustable for different viewing requirements while offering data storage expansion and an additional battery. Sporting an 11.6-inch Full HD touchscreen, this tablet stuns with high-quality 1080p images.
      Aspire U Series AIO desktops are also available in two sizes. The 27-inch 7600U has an ultra-slim 35 mm profile and a gorgeous Full HD edge-to-edge screen and Dolby® Surround Sound. This AIO features multi-user touch, and can be tilted from 0 to 90 degrees. Furthermore, the screen can swivel to all sides when laid flat. The 23-inch 5600U is the slimmest AIO PC that can tilt from 30 to 85 degrees, enhancing personal touch use. Both models have leading ergonomic designs, and a slim, stylish finish that complements interior decor.

      October 30, 2012: Acer Aspire S7 Series The Thinnest and Lightest “Touch & Type” Ultrabooks™

      First previewed at Computex Taipei, the Acer Aspire S7 Series, the thinnest and lightest Ultrabooks™, has been hailed as one of the most exciting Windows 8-based touch Ultrabooks to launch. It was also featured prominently in Microsoft’s launch event in New York and highlighted as one of the best PCs ever made. The positive reviews have been unparalleled.

      As thin as a smartphone, the S7 is an iconic combination of power and beauty. The use of straight lines, glossy white glass, electroluminescent lighting and anodized aluminum have culminated in an Ultrabook that champions cutting-edge technology and innovative design. The dual torque hinge and Acer Green Instant On / Always Connect features ensure the ultimate in control and seamless usability.

      “Acer took a fresh approach to the design and development of the Aspire S7, using premium construction methods and materials,” said Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer. “The high level of engineering and design quality we set for the S7 was achieved by placing the user experience as our top design priority, and by our ongoing commitment to introducing technologies into our products that truly complement human behavior, and stimulate curious and progressive thought and action.

      November 12, 2012: Acer America’s New C7 Chromebook: Secure, Speedy and Simple

      Editor’s Summary:

      • Available for purchase starting tomorrow in the U.S. through Google Play, Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com at an affordable $199
      • Provides hassle-free computing with automatic security and software updates
      • Great for use as an additional home computer
      • Includes built-in apps for productivity, collaboration and entertainment

      Acer America today debuts its new Acer C7 Chromebook, its next-generation mobile computer that runs Google’s Chrome operating system and is priced at a low $199.

      The new Acer C7 Chromebook is the ideal additional laptop for families, students and business people that need a fast, easy and secure way to get online to do their computing in the cloud, such as using Gmail, keeping up on social networks, shopping, and paying bills.

      Today’s computer users are doing more online heightening the need for enhanced security, quicker online access and an easy-to-use interface,” Jim Wong, corporate president, Acer Inc. “The Acer C7 Chromebook provides all this at an affordable price, making it the right choice for families and students on a budget as well as anyone who wants a new or second mobile PC for web-based computing.”

      “The core of Google’s Chromebook vision is creating a better, more simple computing experience and making it available to everyone,” said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president, Chrome and Apps, Google. “We’re excited about the Acer C7 Chromebook, the newest addition to the Chromebook family. The Acer C7 delivers a hassle-free computing experience with the speed, security and simplicity that users expect of Chromebooks built in.”

      December 10, 2012: Acer Appoints Tiffany Huang President of PC Global Operations – Incumbent president, Campbell Kan, to serve as special assistant to Acer chairman

      Acer announces the appointment of Tiffany Huang to become the president of Personal Computer Global Operations (PCGO), reporting to the corporate president, Jim Wong. Huang shall replace Campbell Kan who will serve as special assistant to the chairman, J.T. Wang. Both appointments shall take effect from January 1, 2013.

      Kan has held key positions within Acer’s IT products global operations over the past twelve years, and is accredited for his excellent management and contribution to the mobile PC business. With his extensive knowhow, Kan shall take charge of key projects assigned by Acer chairman where he can lend his expertise for the future of the company.
      With her latest appointment, Huang leaves her post as associate vice president of Supply Chain Operations Business Unit after twelve years in this field. In the past year, she has also held positions in the Operations Analysis Office responsible for analyzing and strategizing corporate operations, and the Strategic Demand Planning Business Unit for demand and material planning.
      During her career at Acer, Huang has demonstrated clear potential with her leadership quality, execution and communication skills, and experience in cross cultural and cross functions. Her sense of business acumen, global insight, matched by accurate end-to-end projections on many occasions deemed her to be the ideal candidate to take the position as president of PCGO, as Kan assumes his new post.
      Huang joined Acer in 1988 in the legal division dealing with intellectual property rights. From 1997 to 2001 she served as director of operations management at Acer’s U.S. operations. In 2001 she returned to the Taipei headquarters and was later promoted to associate vice president of supply chain operations until the latest appointment.
      Born in 1964, Huang has a Bachelor of Science degree in Law from Taiwan’s Chung-Hsing University.

      January 7, 2013: Acer Extends AcerCloud to Top Three Operating Systems, Making it Easy to Share Files and Media among Windows, iOS and Android Devices

      Acer today announced cross-platform support for AcerCloud, the company’s file sharing and media management solution, free to Acer customers. Consumers can now share, retrieve and enjoy their multimedia and data files using a variety of computing devices, regardless of which operating system they are running – Windows, Android or iOS.

      AcerCloud uses the free space on a PC’s hard drive as cloud storage spaceUsers simply designate one of their PCs as their “Cloud PC,” enabling them to use the available hard drive space on their own PC, giving them security and full control over their storage needs.  And unlike other cloud solutions, consumers won’t receive constant reminders about exceeding capacity with solicitations to pay for more storage.

      “With AcerCloud, Acer now supports free file sharing between all of the key mobile devices, adding tremendous value to Acer customers,” said Acer President, Jim Wong.  “AcerCloud greatly simplifies our customers’ ability to manage all of their digital assets across all of their devices, regardless of platform.”

      Acer, Asustek actively marketing cloud computing solutions [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2013]

      Acer and Asustek have been pushing forward in marketing hardware/software-integrated cloud computing solutions focusing on educational applications and web storage, respectively, according to the companies.

      Acer has integrated its servers with software used in eDC, its electronic information management center, into cloud computing solutions and promoted sales through cooperation of system integration providers, the company indicated. The cloud computing solutions are mainly used for educational purposes, with procurement by local governments being the major source of business, Acer noted. In addition to contracts from schools in Taiwan and Thailand, Acer has been marketing products in Nanjing City, eastern China, and Chongqing City, western China, and plans to tap the North America and Europe markets, Acer noted.

      Asustek has its subsidiary, Asus Cloud, responsible for operating its cloud computing business. In addition to Taiwan-based Cathay Financial Holdings and Taishin Financial Holding, Asus Cloud-developed storage solutions have been adopted by the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) under the government-sponsored National Applied Research Laboratories, Asus Cloud CEO Peter Wu said. Asus Cloud will offer a storage solution of 1PB in total capacity for NCHC, with more than 10TB to come into use in the second half of 2013, Wu indicated. In addition, Asus Cloud has signed with the government of Chongqing City to develop cloud computing platforms for education, civic services and by small- to medium-size enterprises in the city, Wu said.

      June 3, 2013: Acer Enhances its Flagship Ultrabook™, the Aspire S7

      “We designed the S7 to be the best touch Ultrabook in the world, bar none,” said Jim Wong, Acer Corporate President. “We listened carefully to users to find substantial ways to make it even better.” The re-engineered S7 delivers improved battery life of up to 7 hours, a 33% increase from its predecessor. Its new light-sensing EL backlit keyboard is also refined, with a deeper keystroke for more natural and comfortable typing. Plus, thanks to 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling technology, the noise at maximum load is more than 20% lower than the previous S7, keeping the system quiet and cool. … The new Aspire S7 will be available in Q3 2013.

      The end of the road announcements:

      Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation; Corporate President Jim Wong to Succeed as CEO – Wang to remain in chairmanship to fulfill tenure as Acer begins a comprehensive restructuring and transformation [press release, Nov 5, 2013]

      Acer announces that the resignation of J.T. Wang, Chairman and CEO, has been approved by its board of directors. Wang shall remain in chairmanship until the end of his tenure next June. The Board and The Search Committee also agreed that Corporate President Jim Wong will succeed Wang as the new CEO from January 1, 2014. A comprehensive restructuring plan has been formulated by the Acer management team, and without delay, the Board will commence with its corporate transformation.
      J.T. Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, said, “Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years. With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era.”
      Acer’s board of directors stated, “We are very grateful for Wang’s contribution and hard work. The past two to three years have been extremely tough for Acer due to the rapidly changing industry and market conditions. We fully respect Wang’s decision to step down; however, in the interest of ensuring company stability and a smooth transition during this latest restructuring and transformation, we have asked J.T. to remain to complete his tenure as Chairman which ends in June 2014.”
      Wang elaborated, “Together with the management team, we have crafted a far-reaching plan for Acer’s transformation. I wish to thank the board members for their support and to Jim for assuming the CEO duties. I feel optimistic toward Acer’s future. The management team promises to carry out the internal restructuring and will work closely with the Board on the corporate transformation.”
      Acer’s Board has set up a Transformation Advisory Committee with board member [founder] Stan Shih as Chairman and Acer co-founder George Huang as executive secretary. The committee will propose changes in the company vision, strategy, and execution plans for the Board’s approval. They will work with the management team to carry out the transformation to increase shareholder value. To support new development needs, the Board has approved the issue of 136 million new common shares for a capital increase in cash (approximately 4.8% of total shares).
      Stan Shih stated, “After I retired from Acer I shifted my attention to promoting public interests. But when J.T. tendered his resignation, the Board turned to me for help. In consideration of personal social responsibility and for Acer’s onward sustainability, I agreed to take on the duty to help the management team with a smooth handover during this transition period.”
      Shih added, “After making structural adjustments, we will introduce more competitive products within the existing PC, tablet, and smartphone business and stabilize our market share. This will be the basis of our transformation and for developing new business opportunities.”
      Acer’s personnel and business restructuring plans include reducing manpower, product plan termination with related product tooling and legal fees, resulting in a one-time cost of US$150M which is expected to be reported in the Q4’13 financial results. Acer will cut its worldwide employees by 7% resulting in OPEX savings of US$100M annually from 2014.

      Acer Q3’13 Financial Results: Consolidated Revenue NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), Operating Loss NT$2.57B (US$86.61M), Intangible Asset Impairment NT$9.94B (US$335.13M), PAT NT$-13.12B (US$-442.19M), EPS NT$-4.82 [press release, Nov 5, 2013]

      Acer’s financial results for Q3 2013, approved by its Board of Directors, are: Consolidated Revenue of NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), up 3.1% quarter-over-quarter and down 11.8% year-over-year; an Operating Loss of NT$2.57B (US$86.61M). In addition, due to a non-cash related intangible asset impairment of NT$9.94B (US$335.12M), profit after tax was NT$-13.12B (US$-442.19M), and earnings per share was NT$-4.82.
      Q3’s operating loss was mainly due to the gross margin impact of gearing up for the Windows 8.1 sell in and the related management of inventory. In addition, in Q3, there were one time compensation payments related to the long standing eMachines consumers litigation. This is now settled.
      The intangible asset impairment loss, which includes trademarks and goodwill, is NT$9.94B (US$335.13M).This impairment, which covers the Gateway, Packard Bell, Founder, iGware and ETen brands, is made in accordance with IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and is reflective of changes in business strategy. The impairment is a non-cash charge and has no impact on Acer’s business operation and working capital.
      Acer’s consolidated revenue for the first three quarters is NT$273.50B (US$9.22B), down 16.6% year-over-year; operating losses for this period are NT$3.15B (US$106.3M). Due to the impact of the intangible asset impairment of NT$9.94B (US$335.13M), PAT is NT$-12.95B (US$-436.42M), and EPS is NT$-4.76. After the impairment of intangible assets, Acer’s net value per share is NT$23.1.
      Looking at Q4, due to the adjustment on brand strategy, shipments for Acer’s notebooks, tablet PCs and Chromebooks are expected to decrease by 10% compared to Q3, however, the gross margin is expected to improve.
      Notes:

      • The spot rate as of November 5, 2013 was used — US$1: NT$29.67.
      • Acer Inc. consolidated revenue includes revenues from other companies in which Acer Inc. has 50% or more ownership, and already deducts any revenues between Acer Inc. and these companies to avoid double-counting.