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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

TheAcerGuy moves

I have mentioned before on numerous occasions that I wanted to move this blog over to its own domain.

Well the time has come to make the change so I would invite you to visit TheAcerGuy's new home at

Like all things new, this change came with its own, unique set of problems. In switching over to Wordpress, I have lost all the comments and some of the images are still stored on Blogger's servers so this blog will remain open as long as they'll let me.

I have imported the Swicki but it no longer offers images. At least the file is the same! And I still have to get the RSS subscription options up.

Apart from that, it's running fine. See you there.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Acer ranked 46!!

Another sports announcement: Acer has now teamed up with Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., becoming Official Sponsor of Yamaha Factory Racing Team.

Rumours of Valentino Rossi's association with Ferrari have been circulating throughout his global fan base for years.

Acer, already Official Sponsor to Scuderia Ferrari, has just given them another direct link as can be seen in the photo kindly "borrowed" from Derapate.

Joking aside, this announcement, published here, is yet another step forward in Acer's aggressive sponsorship campaigns announced this year and, according to the press release, will see the Acer brand placed on both the motorbikes and on the race suits of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards, all pit crew member uniforms working in the box and on all transport vehicles of the team.

If the excitement over Valentino's riding skills this season are anything like his performance last year (check out this French commentator at the 2006 Donington GP), Acer's popularity will be catapulted through the roof!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good idea kicks up a Storm

In a case of "credit where credit is due", I gotta hand it to the guys at Dell for bringing the world IdeaStorm.

Without going over the where's and the why's, and leaving aside the how's and who's for a minute, have you seen the what's?

If anyone's unfamiliar with IdeaStorm, it takes the Web 2.0 voting system made famous by Digg and applies it in a kind of online suggestion box. Shel Holtz gives a pretty good review on his blog.

The results must be making some people very very nervous indeed.

At time of writing, the suggestion "Offer the 3 top free Linux versions for free pre-installation on all Dell PCs" had received 92,806 votes (in 12 days) while "Provide for free pre-installation alongside Microsoft Works and Microsoft Office. is more capable than Microsoft Works, and a serious competitor to Microsoft Office, at a fraction of the cost (it's free!)" had clocked up 60,300 votes (in 11 days).

Given the "weight" of bundled MS software on the final price of all Windows PCs, and the fact that a huge percentage of calls to customer support are software-related issues as opposed to hardware failures, it'll be interesting to see where this goes. After all if the public is ready, who's to blame Dell for putting pressure on MS?

I wonder how closely the boys from Redmond are following this.

Acer gets into a Ferrari Challenge

Who said computers were boring?

Die-hard gamers know they’re not and anyone who’s earned 8 Linden dollars an hour gyrating somewhere meaningless in SecondLife knows there’s plenty of room for a giggle online.

Yesterday I received another mail from Ferrari World which I like to keep track of but never ventured into as I’m a little fussy about my paid memberships and have trouble thinking what Ferrari could possibly offer me under a paid subscription that I can’t get free somewhere else online. But that’s another story.

I was intrigued by the words “X-Challenge” on one of the stories and clicked to see what it was.

Turns out Ferrari World has launched a free racing simulation game called Ferrari X-Challenge where you can whiz round Fiorano or Mugello in an F430 Challenge. Club Ferrari members get to race each other online which is where that subscription fee enters the equation. Without it you’re on your own which, if you’re like me and your virtual driving skills would get you arrested in real life, is much better as I did more damage to my car than I’d care to admit publicly.

What’s this got to do with Acer? Well, as Official Sponsors to Scuderia Ferrari, Acer gets its own car!

Personally I think looking at a Ferrari F430 in “Acer Green” is more of a challenge than getting to grips with the car itself but hey, nobody’s perfect!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

c530 up and running straight out of the box

I know this might sound a bit of an oxymoron but here's an interesting video I found over on YouTube of a guy unpacking his Acer c530 Pocket PC.

Why's this interesting? Apart from the sheer quantity of connection cables that come out of the box, I like the way the guy is able to unpack it, fit the battery and have it working in less that 150 seconds.

I'm not sure if that's a record but it sure is impressive to see something working so fast straight out of the box. Certainly never happens to me...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Acer build quality

Here's an interesting forum I ran into today.

NotebookReviews is a site dedicatd to open (sometimes very open) discussions on the quality of products and services from IT manufacturers.

I was looking at the "Acer build quality" forum and thought I'd share this poll with you.

Alexa's take on the world of IT

As many of you know, I've been getting really interested in Acer's online performance.

No, I'm not talking about SignalUp technology or wireless connectivity.

I'm referring to its sites.

I am a regular visitor to Alexa, which although mind-bogglingly geeky, does give a pretty good view of the world's top websites.

TheAcerGuy isn't there of course, but Acer is, along with its local satellite sites and, more importantly, its competitors.

If you throw in enough addresses, and plot the differences in Word, Excel or whatever, comparing the results can make fascinating reading (if you're in to that sort of thing).

But there's one feature I'm particularly fond of and right now it's showing a major shift. Alexa traffic Rankings gives you the possibility to compare site performance with competitors on the same graph (up to 5 at a time).

Now Acer's at the bottom of my 5 brand list (Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus) but rather than drawing your attenytion to the bottom (the only way is up!), have a look at what's going on up at the top. All but 1 is stable.

Daily Reach (20/02/2007)

Daily Page Views (20/02/2007)

What on earth is happening to Dell??

OK Page Reach is different to Page Views (can anyone explain this in plain English?) but either way there's a worrying haemorrhage there.

Are you seeing this Richard?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Acer C510 at Crave

There's something spooky about Acer at the moment.

Don't get alarmed, this is not a warning, complaint or anything like that. Just the opposite.

For years Acer has been the underdog, living silently with this "budget PC" name tag. I personally always championed Acer's notebooks because I literally penned (typed) my entire career on them. How's that for an endorsement?

But now things are different for Acer. Call it expanded product range, call it technical expertise, but lately Acer just keeps getting it right.

First of all you can see it in the way it's rapidly becoming one of the top brands.

Then you can see it in the way it's now compared with the big-boys in the home entertainment sector, how it's learning the rules and making its own particular mark with innovative convergence products like the Aspire iDea.

And now there are reviews like this one for the Acer C510 Pocket PC over on Crave.

As a general rule, Acer picks uphill battles with some of its products, combining two (or more) products in one and upsetting one or the other parties. Witness the 37" LCD TV with built-in media gateway, the MP340 portable hard-disk-cum-MP3 player. And then there are the hand-held devices.

By combining a pocket PC with a GPS navigator, Acer has carved a whole new challeng for its designers and technicians but, judging by the review, seems to have pulled it off.

"There are some ropey examples out there, but Acer seems to be getting the hang of combining a Pocket PC with GPS. The key thing it's got right with the C510 is the integrated antenna -- some rivals have flip-out aerials, which make them a bit unwieldy. It's also small and pocketable, weighing just 122g."

Sounds like Acer's pretty much figured out this convergence thing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Italian Press Conference photos

As promised, here are some photos taken at yesterday's Italian press conference.

Apologies for the quality but do have a look at the past models. It's fascinating to see how just how much notebooks have changed in such a short period of time.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Acer Italy press conference

Today I got to get out of the office and go into town.

I’m in Milan at the Acer Italy Press Conference. So far the vibe’s pretty good.

There’s a video playing at the moment showing the numerous awards received by Acer and its products over the last year or so. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on a version to post here although it’s a long one.

The presenters today include Massimo D’Angelo, country manager for Italy, and Valentina Sodini, the Italian notebook product manager. This is her first time in front of the press. As it turns out she’s a natural.

The plan is to talk about results (we already know those but thankfully they get them out of the way right away) and 2007 objectives which is a little more interesting but that’s just me.

The usual line up of current products greeted the attendees but that wasn’t the major attraction. At the back of the conference room – placed on top of a snaking display case that showed the major milestones in the evolution of the brand, from its origins as Multitech through to the name change in 1987 and brand logo evolution – were some of the most significant notebooks in Acer’s history, ranging from the TravelMate 2000 from 1990 right up to the latest Veriton 1000 small form factor PC.

Tomorrow I’ll get a Flickr slide show up – it’s really worth a look.

There is definitely a shift in focus here. The change from a sales-oriented company to one proud of its origins, identity and future is palpable.

OK. Massimo’s on. He starts off by looking at the global positioning, Acer is fourth, only slightly behind Lenovo so at least we have a clear shot at the objective for 2007.

In EMEA, Acer is number 2 overall behind HP but number 1 for notebooks. HP shouldn’t be underestimated though as they’re growing very, very fast in EMEA. Interesting fact: the two leading companies represent over 40% of the total notebook market.

Desktops are a little less promising; Acer is in third position behind HP and Dell.

The competitive edge is coming through. Massimo is clearly aware of the difficulties of the market, the abilities of the competition and also the sheer potential of Acer.

Massimo is now talking about the challenges Acer faced in 2006 among which, reduced ASPs feature heavily. This is interesting in light of the declarations made by Gianpiero Morbello a few days ago in the UK. Perhaps Acer is so confident about the success of its products that it has decided to drive the market back up again?

Become Top 2 within 2008.
N.1 notebook
N.3 desktop
N.4 Server

Look out competition - this is where Acer’s going to pushing hardest ;-)

Massimo has now moved on to structural changes within the company.
Acer has split its European operations into two areas: mature markets and emerging markets. At the same time, the company has split its product divisions into two new business divisions. Professional and Consumer, meaning that product managers no longer have a broad market sweep spanning from home users to large enterprises.

The Extensa makes a welcome return at the value end of the professional notebook segment that includes TravelMate, Veriton and Ferrari brands. Aspire (NB and PC) to be handled by consumer division.

There will no longer be business products (TravelMates) available in consumer channels and vice versa. Essentially, from now on, you’ll only find Aspires and consumer products in retail stores. For everything else, you’ll have to go to another channel (Acer Point). From the looks of things that also includes the premium Ferrari range too, but I’ll have to check on this.

What this also means (although no-one’s mentioned it) is that there’ll be a clear distinction between the Aspire and TravelMate lines, which at the moment overlap considerably, both in looks and features. Don’t know how or in what form, but it seems to me that if they have separated these two product lines into two distinct divisions and they are no longer to be sold through the same channels, they are going to be very, very different from each other sooner or later.

Now here’s something special. Acer Italy has invested 1 million Euros in a new site for service laboratory, designed to:

• Improve logistic flows
• Increase availability of spare parts
• Improve the quality of repairs
• Reduce repair cycle times

Acer has also invested in Customer Service and Support (CSS) software that measures cycle times, average repair times, max delays for repairs, average no. calls, call centre success rates etc..

This is great news as it’s more than likely to be (if it isn’t already) replicated across the entire European region and beyond.

Another novelty is that dealers are now to be included into the service flow. That means, rather than schlepping off to the Acer service centre, customers can now take their malfunctioning products back to where they bought it and these dealers will take care of sending, tracking and returning the damaged product. The dealers will then be remunerated directly from Acer for their trouble. Now that’s what I call a step in the right direction!

This program is due to be up and running by the end of March 2007.

Valentina Sodini
Valentina gets straight to the point, explaining Acer’s approach to its customer base and the products and solutions that derive from this relationship.

She’s describing Acer’s approach to its customer base. The way it focuses on end users, the market, the channel and its needs. Valentina’s doing a great job but apart from the new organizational structure, there’s no news here, except for the rising popularity and impact of online E-Tailers.

Q&A Time: Massimo confirmed that Vista will make no impact on the retail price of Acer’s products and went through the Vista upgrade process. This is handled directly through the moduslink website (details available on Acer’s press release).

There have been claims that this is a free service whereas in fact the company responsible for shipping the software is charging the users shipping costs (currently averaging at about 20 Euros).

OK that was a long day and this is an unusually long post but I wanted to share this side of the Acer experience with you. Tomorrow I’ll try and get some of the photos up.

Acer durability tests

Another interesting video about the quality testing performed on Acer notebooks.

Durability testing is something rarely mentioned but these tests do play an extremely important part of the initial design brief of the product.

I'll write more on the subject shortly.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Upping the price or the quality of the range?

The headline of an article over on RegHardware says that Acer is about to put up the prices of its notebooks (in the UK).

But if you read the article, you'll see that this isn't the case and a price rise is not in the plan. What the article does say is that Acer is "looking to get more SKUs (notebooks) on the shelves of its partners, at more price points", with 17 inch and 20 inch models available at the higher end of the spectrum.

Translated, this means Acer is going to offer a bigger, more feature-packed range through its channel partners this year and that may well push the average sales price up.

But far from giving its customers less for their money, this decision will put a greater number of premium models (higher spec and higher cost) onto the market and help Acer shed its budget image.

Upgrade your Empowering Technology

During my usual rounds of what's out there concerning Acer, I came across this forum post where you can upgrade the Empowering Technology from version 1.0 to version 2.0. The guy who posted it did it successfully on his Aspire 5672.

There's even a video showing you how it looks (you might want to open it on the YouTube page and expand it to full screen as the quality isn't that good).

If any of you decide this is worth it (the upgrade links all point to Acer Support Site), let me know how you get on.

While I'm on the subject of upgrading, has anyone actually upgraded to Windows Vista on their Acer yet? If there's anyone out there that has I'd love to know how you got on and how easy/difficult it was.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Good news from Egypt

There is something fascinating about news aggregators. Apart from consuming a HUGE amount of time, they give you access to stories you would otherwise never have access to. I use Newsgator, although I’m also getting into which is another thing altogether.

This morning while looking through my Acer keyword search, I came across an fascinating story about Acer’s recent success in Egypt.

“Acer Computer Middle East and Mantrac have announced today that they will look to supply the lion's share of PCs earmarked for millions of homes across Egypt as part of its ‘PC for Every Home’ initiative”.

It’s not the sales story that interests me, more the initiative itself, which aims to make PCs affordable to most, if not all, sectors of the Egyptian population. The project talks of distributing 7 Million PCs over a period of 7 Years.

Obviously there are financial rewards for winning a public tender offer like this, in addition to marketing gains. But if Acer was given the highest rating after a “rigorous assessment” by the Egyptian Government, this is good news for everyone involved, none more so than those about to get online for the first time.

Acer and Barcelona team up

Here's an interesting story for all you sports fans out there. I found it in the Sunday Times last week-end but only now have I been able to track it down online.

It’s not the easiest of sites to navigate and the link above may well take you to the home page but if you make it to the Business section and pull down the drop-down menu, you should find it there.

What’s the story??

Acer has entered into a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona.

Similar to Acer’s Gold Partner sponsorship of F. C. Internazionale Milano – Inter, this deal will give Acer exclusive rights to pitch-side advertising at Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium.

In the article, Gianpiero Morbello, Acer’s UK managing director, says that “the arrangements would be in place in time for Barcelona’s next Champions’ League match”.

This is aggressive brand placement. In the sports world, Acer’s got sponsorship deals with some of the world’s leading teams, including Ferrari, Inter (in Italian) and now Barcelona, not to mention Acer’s ties with Women's World Cup golfing tournament in South Africa and Acer's involvement in the Acer Girls Golf Program.

Sport is part of the Acer ethos. The competitive pursuit of maximum results has driven Acer from one success to another, and is just one of the reasons Acer is becoming so popular the world across.

However it’s not just sport that absorbs all of Acer’s sponsorship energy. “Building Bridges Between the High-Tech and Artistic Worlds” is the introduction you’ll find on the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre website, demonstrating that Acer’s sponsorship interests go beyond the most obvious, ROI-friendly choices. Acer was also Sponsor of the 2006 Tour in China of Milan’s world-famous La Scala theatre.

But this piece is about football. Football’s another story and Barça is on another level entirely. MÉS QUE UN CLUB!

One important addition to this post is that alongside several other charitable initiatives, FC Barcelona has made a commitment to Unicef’s humanitarian aid programs through the donation of one and a half million euros for the next five years. This is why the team players now wear the Unicef logo on their shirts.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ferrari 1000 tablet?

You remember recently there was that furor when Microsoft and Edelman (and AMD) teamed up and handed out something like 100 Acer Ferrari notebooks to some of the planet's top bloggers?

Well I've just come across a fascinating vlog posted by one of them, Hugo Ortega the guy behind Ubertablet.

Ever wanted to see the world's first Ferrari 1000 TABLET?

Check it out..

The real value of the Acer brand

I have received a fascinating report on Brand Value.

It all started with an article in the Daily Mirror reporting that Acer was third on the list of companies that “used the most branding”.

Well that confused me so I headed off to the publishers of the report over at Brand Finance and downloaded the BrandFinance250 report, an extremely detailed and well-written annual report on “the world’s most valuable brands”.

Acer’s third place comes in quite a particular category, “Brand contribution to enterprise value”.

Essentially, this category ranks how much of a company’s value is determined by the brand itself. An interesting quote at the foot of the page says that the average brand value of the 250 companies considered in the list was 18%, indicating how strong the Acer brand is and ultimately how much its brand reputation plays in determining the value of the company.

Oddly enough, the Acer brand isn’t listed on the ‘Brand Strength Index’ of the same report, which suggests that while it plays a decisive role in determining the value of Acer, as a brand, it still has somewhere to go.

Of course that fits in with a recent declaration by Gianpiero Morbello, Acer UK’s managing director who, in last week’s Sunday Times declared: “We are not scared to say that we will be No.1 overall sooner or later”.

The only way is up?

Gridvista and other technologies

A few months ago I posted an article about the various technologies used on Acer products.

I've noticed that Acer is now driving interest in this subject by dedicating a part of its corporate websites to these added-value technologies.

But if you want to see Gridvista in action, check out this advert.

Acer TravelMate C100 TV ad

OK, so YouTube had a major setback last week thanks to Viacom's reluctance to allow Google's latest acquisition continue to stream its content.

But that doesn't mean it's lost its claim as one of the top places to find stuff that interests the likes of you and me.

I don't know where you're reading from but where I live, Acer doesn't air TV ads, so it was great to uncover this one for the TravelMate C100 tablet.

The thing I really like is the comment underneath the video (on the YouTube site). " Looks like it has a long bat life". Brilliant critique :-)

Shifting the focus of "benefits"

Please forgive my foray into unchartered waters for a minute but I wanted to use this space to underline something I'd like all PC vendors to commit to more aggressively.

Greenpeace regularly publishes their Green Electronics Guide and you can see the updated one here.

I found the video below over on Drew Meyer's blog and it stopped me in my tracks.

This may sound prosaic, particularly coming from me, but if "solutions" has ousted "technology" as the driving force behind innovation, then isn't it time these same solutions provided more than just a personal benefit by actively contributing to the long-term prosperity of the people whose lives they were originally intended to serve?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Acer Ferraris pick up more awards

While I'm on the subject of awards, I just read here that the Acer Ferrari 1000 and Ferrari 5000 "are winners of the 2006/7 Good Design Award accredited by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization. The Good Design Award is among the world’s most famous historical design awards, and since 1957, has served to identify excellent design products that promote the quality of life via the power of design."

Knowing how painstakingly thorough the Japanese are when it comes to aesthetics, this award is yet another recognition of the level of care and thought that went into these outstanding designs.

Trusted Review of the C510

If you don't want to take my word for how good the C500 series is, the C510 got a score of 8/10 over on the Trusted Review site.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

C500 series mixes functionaly, value and award-winning style

Have you ever noticed the trend for PC magazines (and not only) to give out awards to the best-performing, highest-value, lowest-weighing products?

OK, “lowest-weighing product” might not be a real award but what difference does it make to you, the buying public?

I drive a Ford S-Max which, in case you haven't noticed, is Car of the Year. I know that didn't influence my decision one way or another but there again, it is comforting to know that what I think is a great car, is actually, at a global level, considered to be just that. I'm not crazy after all!

So when a notebook, digital camera or LCD monitor wins an award, on face value it might not seem like an important event, but the fact remains that in the hugely competitive world of IT, an award singles you out as delivering more quality, more performance or simply better value than the alternatives, and that small detail can make a very large difference in the fortunes of that product.

So it’s nice to see that the Acer c500 personal navigator series has won a coveted iF Design Award. The iF (International Forum) design award was established 53 years ago, making it one of the world’s most celebrated design authorities.

If the design is first class, the C500 is hardly lacking spec-wise with its 2.8" QVGA screen, Samsung S3C2442 processor at 300Mhz, 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM, Bluetooth, WiFi (on certain models), GPS and a SDIO slot.

Considering all it offers, the top-of-the-range, WiFi-equipped Acer 530 isn't even all that expensive.

All change at Dell could help the rest of us

There have been some pretty unsavoury reports over the departure of Kevin Rollins from Dell. A typical article, like this one over on Yahoo! News, focuses more on the recent "fall from grace" of Dell than on any strategic decision or personal motivations for the change, almost attributing the entire blame for Dell’s less-than-first-class results to Mr. Rollins.

Over on Dell’s blog, the tone is much more low-key with Michael Dell giving a quick, 16-second video comment on his new role.

Whilst I’m no financial expert and far be it from me to pass judgement on this decision, the Yahoo! article above underlines just how savagely unhealthy the IT sector is as a whole, and I’m sure Michael Dell’s reappearance will help revitalize both Dell’s fortunes and reinvigorate the market for all of us.

I wish him the best of luck.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Marcoms magic

It's been a great week so far.

Monday I got to meet most of the EMEA marcoms managers. Some new faces and some I have already had the pleasure of meeting before.

So before I go any further, a big thank-you to the people from Benelux, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, UK, France, Italy, and South Africa who made the trip. It was also great to meet the ever-affable Philip again, who's in charge of the MEA region. How that man manages such a vast territory with its many cultural, language and logistic challenges is simply beyond me.

It was fascinating to see the peculiarities of the individual countries discussed within the broader context of a single regional division. The differences in cultures, markets, public opinions and user needs are what makes this job so fascinating.

It was also great to see just how much local news escapes the bigger picture. For example, I had no idea that Acer was the official sponsor of the
Women's World Cup golfing tournament in South Africa. Nor that a spin-off of this is Acer's involvement in the Acer Girls Golf Program - a development program for young aspiring players from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I think that beyond the obvious interest in corporate sponsorship, social causes of this nature are always worthy of note, no matter where they originate from and it is something I'd like to cover more in this blog.

Tuesday was action time. Online activities, media planning and, why not, even blog matters.

So rather than being a quiet period, it's all systems go here at Acer. And with the help of people like those I met on Monday, it's going to be yet another great year.

Monday, January 29, 2007

TheAcerGuy website update and Wordpress news

Just a quick update on The Acer Guy website.

The domain's registered (, but I decided to switch to Dreamhost and this will slow down the launch as I can't transfer the name until 60 days from registry.

The site's coming together. I'm doing quite a lot of SEO work on it to make sure it gets a read and also quite a lot of research into the actual content. There may also be videos and perhaps even a "How to... " page at some future date. The only thing that lets it down is the overall design so I might get it covered with some professionally-designed CSS at a later date. It's all practice anyway.

I also trying to find an RSS reader to embed into the home page, with independent Acer news, and that's proving tricky for someone with my level of knowledge... Any suggestions?

The move to Dreamhost also means that The Acer Guy blog will soon move over to Wordpress. I like Blogger but need the kind of functionality offered by Wordpress. As it stands, you can't import blogs from the New Blogger directly so I'm going to have to do that manually too so I don't lose anything.

All in all, we're a couple of months away from launch (he says, crossing his fingers)...

Acer shines in Manila...

Well, it's not just roses in EMEA. Looks like Acer is putting on quite a show in the Philippines too. Thanks Richard for the heads up ;-)

Interesting to see the way different journalists describe how Acer clawed its way up the rankings ... also like the quick summary of Acer's history.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Budget or Dependable?

There is an interesting article over on BusinessWeek called Acer's Hot New Designs. Lots of high-res pictures and quotes from senior management.

I particularly like the quote "The Taiwanese PC maker is ... releasing new designs to give its budget image a tune-up".

Talk about unsung heroes. Have these people heard about Empowering Technology, seen a list of the proprietary technology installed across the product range or even held a Ferrari 1000 in their hands and felt the exquisite solidity of the case? There is nothing budget about any of this.

My Acer notebooks have seen me through serious battles and have never failed (even when I accidentally blew one up I managed to recover the hard disk contents). Budget? The correct word is Dependable.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No AcerGuy till Friday

Tomorrow morning (today at this point in time) I'll be getting on a plane to spend three days in storm-battered UK.

I'm going to do what everyone connected 24/7 should every once and a while. Switch off.

That's right, no PC for three days. It's like going without cigarettes when you're on 2 packs a day, or without seeing your children... the withdrawal symptoms are already showing as I'm actually writing about it.

Still, it'll give me time to think about the future of TheAcerGuy, the site and, more urgently, the blogging platform (I want to change over to WordPress and give it a real domain).

I like WordPress as it'll also give me the chance to add categories as there is as much theory (PR involvement in corporate blogging) as there is business practice (4Q results show Acer catching up on Lenovo). And I thought it was just going to be about notebooks...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Acer accused of being an 800 pound gorilla - and it's great!

As I wrote a few days ago, Acer put in an amazing performance last year, conceding third place to Lenovo but making up so much ground overall, it's getting noticed (and not just for its Ferraris!).

So much so, that in an article over on the Inquirer, HP and Dell have been advised to look in their rear-view mirrors for Acer, an 800-pound gorilla that increased sales by 37.1 percent for the whole of 2006, according to Gartner numbers for Q4.

The same article also suggests that Acer is looking to tie up with US retail giant Best Buy to sell notebooks from February which could generate a 100 percent rise in US sales.

I wonder where we'll be this time next year?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Spicing up the Blu-ray/HD-DVD debate

They say that you can tell the state of the economy by watching the performance of paper producers. The better the economic climate the greater their profits as more companies ride the economic wave by spending on advertising...

One of the more curious twists to this year's CES was the indicator used to settle the score over the modern-day VHS Vs. Betamax battle, Blu-ray or HD-DVD.

Across the way from the CES in Las Vegas this year, the adult entertainment industry held its annual bash, and the film producers had
no doubts over their chosen format.

Not your usual benchmark by any means but one that could well send shivers (more like secretive winks) throughout the entire IT business for years to come.

And, unsurprisingly, it all boils down to cost.

"Blu-ray has superior quality, yes, but HD DVD is easier to produce, cheaper to produce and there are more HD DVD players in homes than there are Blu-ray players, for example in the Xbox 360," said one representative.

Others complained that Blu-ray discs cannot be multiplied on low cost machines and, as a result, the costs of large scale Blu-Ray disks manufacturing cancels any form of profit. Other small brands also stated: "Only bigger studios can afford Blu-ray, and even then it's not economical.”

So, HD-DVD just got the thumbs up from one of the largest-growing digital entertainment industries. Still not convinced? According to
PricewaterhouseCoopers', the Global Entertainment and Media industry is set to generate $1.8 TRILLION by 2010.

I know I’d settle on the easiest format, not that I’m at all interested of course.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Breathing down their necks...

Well it looks like I got my answer.

According to IDC, the top five PC vendors by worldwide market share in the fourth quarter 2006 were HP (18.1 percent), Dell (14.7 percent), Lenovo Group (7.3 percent), Acer (7.1 percent), and Toshiba (3.7 percent).

Individually, again according to IDC:

HP built on its third quarter momentum, boosting year-on-year growth to nearly 24% (the fastest for HP since 2000) and taking a clear lead in worldwide shipment volume for the quarter. Growth in the United States rebounded to near 16% from a dip to single digits in the third quarter, while international growth surged above 28% with a strong showing in EMEA.

Dell was unable to recover from a slow third quarter and stumbled through the end of the year. Shipments to the U.S. market, which continue to represent over 50% of Dell volume, were down nearly 17% year on year following a single-digit decline in Q3. In addition, international growth, which was reasonably stable in the third quarter, fell to just 1.5% in 4Q06 with notably slower growth in all regions. Dell's focus on profitability over share is coming right at a time of aggressive competition from companies such as HP, Acer, and Apple, and is compounded by a slow commercial market. As a result, Dell is in the unusual circumstance of seeing volume decline sequentially from the third quarter in both the United States and worldwide.

Lenovo continues to benefit from its leadership position in Asia/Pacific, while struggling for traction in other regions. The company continues to gain share in APeJ, which accounts for nearly 60% of volume, while shipments declined in the United States and Japan, and modest volume gains in other regions were not enough to preserve share.

Acer had another solid quarter with strong gains in all regions. EMEA represents roughly 70% of Acer's worldwide shipments, and grew by nearly 37% in the fourth quarter, but expansion in the United States and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) also contributed to the company's gains.

Toshiba's focus on portable PCs continues to give the company an edge in overall growth. Worldwide shipments were up more than 17% in the fourth quarter, with an increase of more than 14% in the United States. Although growth was slower than last quarter, and closer to market rates for portable PC shipments, Toshiba continues to gain share in total shipments and benefits from the higher margins for portable PCs.

Overall, we're going to have to concede defeat to Lenovo, but if you look closely, we're catching up. Fast.

Windows Experience Index - a reference we could all use??

I recently saw a post by Mauricio Freitas regarding the Windows Experience Index for his Ferrari 5000 (4.9).

I followed that Wikipedia link to find out more on the WEI and from there found another, very interesting site where users can upload their own scores or singular scores per component (the Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) analyses all hardware components and your overall system score is determined by the lowest individual result).

This got me thinking:

Wouldn't it be great if hardware manufacturers used this as a performance benchmark for their products? At least we'd all have a common frame of reference...

Acer Vs. Lenovo

There's an interesting article by Bruce Einhorn over on Business Week about the battle between Acer and Lenovo to claim the title of "the leading computer company out of Greater China".

It's interesting to see the many parallels between these two IT rivals, and Bruce does a great job of getting straight to the point.

Just like in Formula 1, often the most interesting battles aren't for the lead (I know who's side I'm on).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Swicki results

While TheAcerGuy isn't exactly ranking well on whatever search engine you use, it does attract some visitors.

And those visitors seem to be using the Swicki that's been sitting there on the right since November to find out more information on Acer.

I thought I'd post the results so far as they provide a curious insight into what's hot (important) and what's not.

Acer support - 36
Acer laptop - 29
Asus Lamborghini - 25
Acer notebook - 23
Acer Travelmate 270 - 18
Gianfranco Lanci - 15
Acer Ferrari - 14
Acer USA - 14
Empowering Technology... - 14
HP PDA - 14
Acer review - 13
Fingerprint recognition... - 13
Acer PDA - 12
Acer computer - 11
Acer deals - 11
Acer mobile solutions... - 9
acer n music matc - 9
Trusted Platform Module... - 9
Acer PC - 8
Acer notebook cpu upgrade... - 3
Acer USA warranty - 2
internet explorer 7 - 1
orbicam spec - 1
travelmate 8200 - 1
Acer - 0
acer c500 pocket pc trave...- 0

As expected, support is top of the agenda. Given the heat some other manufacturers have been taking over their customer support, this is not at all surprising.

Interesting to see the Asus Lamborghini up there above the Ferraris (who'd have thought?) along with HP's PDAs that also feature for some reason which means that Acer's are obviously well worth a look.

One curious one (for me at any rate) is the interest in Internet Explorer 7. I have a hunch this has to do with the ActiveX issue but who knows what you guys are looking for??

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Acer releases LunchApp ActiveX vulnerability patch

Well 2007 got off to a bit of a bumpy start, didn’t it?

First the Ferrari storm and now a security flaw. I can understand how the Ferrari thing didn’t go down too well but the response to this security flaw was astounding. I mean, check out this post. Talk about tough love…

Acer has just released a Press Release about the issue and, more importantly, a patch.

After a bit of research, it turns out that this application is part of the bundled software suite that comes with every Acer computer. Ironically, it seems it was originally designed as a technology facilitator. Ahh the best-laid plans…

I’m copying a description of the application I found on the discussion forums over at Broadband

lmanager.exe is a process associated with Acer Launch Manager from Dritek System Inc.."LaunchBoard software from Darwin turns your keyboard into a remote control for the Internet and your computer! With LaunchBoard 2.0, you can customize up to 38 keys on your PC keyboard to instantly launch Web Sites, start applications, perform custom macros, handle Windows shortcuts, store passwords, and perform loads of other customizable functions" U LaunchApp Alaunch.exe Acer Launch tool utility on laptops U LaunchAp LaunchAp.exe Part of Acer Launch Manager - programmable keys on such laptops as the TravelMate 610 Author: Dritek System Inc.Part Of: Acer Launch ManagerLManager.exe file informationThe process Acer Launch Manager Keyboard Application belongs to the software Acer Launch Manager by Dritek System Inc (

So what have we got? A simple bundled program designed to give users even greater control over their hardware that in time (9 years is a long time in my book), became something vulnerable to malicious attacks.

Doesn’t the same description tell the story of a LOT of software programs out there? That’s why most of us install upgrades and security patches and some even switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox, isn’t it?

So, back to the problem. Judging by the contents of the press release, Acer introduced this patch into its OEM manufacturing process on 4th December. What that means is that all computers built by Acer’s suppliers after that date will not be affected by the flaw.

Then, following standard procedures, it was passed on to the global service team and finally to the public.

My advice? Download it and feel better about your PC.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bill Gates on the future of Microsoft

Fascinating "informal" video of with Bill Gates speaking at CES on the future of Microsoft, online applications, gaming and the IT world at large.

I've never seen him so relaxed!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Debate on Corporate Blogs

I always wanted this blog to stay away from corporate issues but every now and then something blips on the radar that can’t be ignored. Bear with me for a minute.

If anyone has been watching, there have been some healthy (for want of a better word) exchanges of opinions going on between several key IT players over the past few weeks.

First HP used a favourable article on
ZDNet to have a go at IBM and Dell on Eric Klintz’s Marketing Excellence blog. Lionel from Dell responds on the same thread but the argument dies.

Chris from MWW Group (PRs to among others) tracks back to this on their
Open the Dialogue” blog and uses it as a healthy example of what blogging is all about – real people debating real issues head to head, without PR interference.

The thing is none of this “wanton sincerity” is true at all.

First of all, simply by debating on HP’s MARKETING EXCELLENCE blog, means that all sincerity flies straight out the window (remember,
All Marketers are Liars, says Seth Godin).

Then I replied to Chris with a post just before Christmas about how difficult (artificial) it is to compare independent professional blogs to corporate ones. My post wasn’t published. True I’m a little guy, but the “Openness” of MWW Groups “Dialogue” is now in doubt.

Want to see a really open debate? One with real people arguing about real issues? Then read the vehemence over at
Scoble’s blog following his dig at Apple after his son’s Mac Book Pro had problems, complaining that despite Apple’s poor service and Dell’s openness, the former gets good press while the latter suffers from the opposite.

The comments are what Scoble himself in his book
Naked Conversations defined as “Tough Love”.

On corporate blogs it’s a different story and Klintz’s refusal to take the argument with Lionel any further is a clear demonstration of this.

True, a blog must by definition be open and personal, but surely not to the point where a company of the caliber of HP filters the replies it posts (read Lionel’s reply) and places a legal disclaimer at the foot of each page which reads:

“Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of HP and may not have been reviewed in advance by HP.”

In this case, there is a certain inconsistency in what employees are saying about their companies, and how these same companies wish to be represented.

If you’re truly sincere, why not, as Dell has rightly done, stand by your comments and do without the disclaimer? At least that way you bind the underlying truth of your words to the principles, values and goals of the company you (directly or indirectly) represent.

And that’s where an intelligent marketing department enters the equation.

As I mentioned in my unpublished post, “I think that only the foolish would seriously believe that behind the apparent liberty with which Dell, HP and Lenovo people blog, marketing didn’t have a hand in establishing the general guidelines and
best practices to be implemented.”

Look closely and you don’t find debate on corporate blogs. Discussion yes, and even some serious “link appreciation”, but not debate.

Investor relations, client loyalty and sheer common sense dictates that corporations of this scale will continue to foster brand awareness with the same care and attention they have devotedly applied since conception.

Blogging gives them another channel, it’s true. A more open channel for sure (with (unfiltered?) feedback to boot!), but a channel all the same.

And that’s how it should be.