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New Acer will be more like Apple, less like HP

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The details behind the rift that saw Acer's CEO Gianfranco Lanci (pictured) suddenly resign yesterday are now starting to emerge. Simply put, Acer's board wants the Taiwanese company to be more like Apple and HTC, according to Bloomberg, raking in big profits on fat margins. Lanci's approach, however, was to aggressively increase volumes and use its scale to negotiate cheaper prices from suppliers in a race to steal market share from Dell and HP. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Acer's profit margin in the last fiscal year was just 2.3 percent compared to Apple's 21.5 percent. Daunting, to say the least.

With Lanci gone, JT Wang, Acer's chairman and temporary CEO, plans to put more effort into expanding its smartphone and tablet business while broadening efforts around enterprise sales. For Wang, Lanci's departure marks a break with the past, saying, "Recently the iPad [tablet computer] and other new form factors have had a very big impact on the PC market. We have to change our business strategy." While PCs will still be core to the business, Wang said "we won't be in a hurry to change to become the world number one." Unfortunately for Acer, its brand is more closely associated with low-cost laptops than with the premium devices required to significantly expand its profit margins. We'd wish 'em luck but we think Acer will be better served by an innovative CEO and focused R&D.

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