Count Acer as being disillusioned with Windows 8, but seeing a future in Chrome. President Jim Wong says that Windows 8 "is still not successful," while touting the benefits of Chrome notebooks, which he says already account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of Acer's U.S. sales.
That's what Wong told Bloomberg in an interview. He said:
"Windows 8 itself is still not successful. The whole market didn't come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that's a simple way to judge if it is successful or not."
To make up for the disappointing sales of Windows 8 devices, Acer is looking elsewhere. And right now, it's finding that Chrome has been surprisingly successful. Acer released Chrome notebooks for $199 in November, and Chrome now accounts for between 5 percent and 10 percent of Acer's U.S. sales. It's been so successful that Acer may roll it out to other developed markets.
Wong says that Chrome's "value is that it's more secure." He notes that it has been able to gain significant market share with educational institutions and savvy high-end Internet users without the massive marketing campaign Microsoft has launched for Windows 8. He told Bloomberg:
"You saw that all the marketing and promotions were not as broad as Windows 8, so to reach this success is encouraging."
As for Windows RT tablets, Acer hasn't released any, and may not. It's still deciding whether they can be successful.
None of this is good news for Microsoft. Chrome becoming successful is one of Microsoft's biggest nightmares, for many reasons. First is that it cuts into Windows revenue. Second is that it cuts into Office revenue, because Chrome won't run Office. And third is that it cuts into Bing revenue, because Chrome uses Google for search.
I don't expect Chrome to challenge Windows 8 any time soon, and likely never. Still, when a big partner like Acer says that Windows 8 has essentially been a failure, and that low-end hardware like a Chrome notebook has been successful, Microsoft has to take note. Whether it can do anything about it is another question, one that's not easy to answer.