MWC 2015: Acer trumpets devices strategy

MEA smartphones boss explains to why the firm is a ‘top-three’ consumer devices vendor

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MWC 2015: Acer trumpets devices strategy Mulligan: We are a top-three vendor in the screen-delivery business.
By  Stephen McBride Published  March 3, 2015

Acer is, in one respect, a ‘top-three' devices vendor worldwide and poised to ‘ultimately win' in the market, according to the head of the company's Middle East and Africa smartphones division.

Patrick Mulligan, general manager, Smartphones, Acer MEA, spoke to in Dubai last Thursday, ahead of Acer's participation in Mobile World Congress 2015, Barcelona. He introduced us to a range of Windows 10-ready smartphones, due for launch at MWC, and when challenged on Acer's strategy for remedying its modest market rankings in individual device categories, he defended the Taiwanese company's position as strong, on aggregate, across device types.

"I guess it depends on how you define the market," he said. "If you look at Acer today as a brand in terms of delivering screens to consumers, we would be in the top three, worldwide. I'm talking about consumer desktops, laptops, projectors, smartphones. We are a top-three vendor in the screen-delivery business."

Acer does not appear in the top five vendors by shipments for either smartphones or tablets, each segment being dominated by Apple, Samsung and cheaper Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo, according to Q4 figures from IDC. In PCs, the company has fared slightly better in recent years, having secured the number-four position in Q4, according to IDC, behind Lenovo, HP and Dell. Acer also managed to improve its market share, year on year, to 7.7% from 7.3% in Q4 2013. Its domestic rival, Asus, was ousted from the top five by Apple.

"We are not a strong player in the smartphone business itself, but if you look at what's happening in terms of the delivery of screens, with the launch of Windows 10 being a very good example, this is about making sure you have a seamless experience wherever you happen to be, whether you're on a tablet, laptop, desktop or smartphone," Mulligan argued.

"Getting traction in the smartphone business is a very difficult proposition, but as the lines blur between what is a smartphone, what is a phablet, what is a tablet, what is a two-in-one and what is a desktop, then Acer is in a very strong position to compete in that space. We are probably the largest vendor of Microsoft OS in the world."

Despite its public embrace of Microsoft's OS, Acer has not forsaken Google. Windows 10 is a gamble and as yet untested in the market, but Google's success story with Android continues, as the platform now accounts for 81.5% of handsets, according to IDC figures for calendar year 2014. Meanwhile, Windows Phone's market share of the mobile OS market has shrunk, from 3.3% in CY 2013 to 2.7% in 2014.

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