Acer and Microsoft to Jointly Promote Table PCs

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Acer and Microsoft will jointly call a meeting early this month to discuss and set strategies to further promote sales of Tablet PCs around the world, according to sources at Acer.

Acer will offer an in-depth development plan aiming to boost sales of Tablet PCs in the six selected markets of Australia, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Taiwan and the US to around 20% of the notebook market in 2004, the sources said.

However, a successful implementation of the plan depends largely on Microsoft s willingness and determination to push the product into the mainstream, said Jim Wong, president of Acer s IT product business group.

Microsoft should lead the promotion campaign to open up the world markets to Tablet PCs so that Tablet PC vendors have an opportunity to boost the product into the mainstream in their own markets, Wong said.

Acer aims to boost sales of Tablet PCs to account for around 20-25% of its total notebook shipments within three years, Wong said. The company said earlier it has sold over 100,000 Tablet PCs in the past year, while its total notebook shipments are expected to surpass two million units this year.

To help boost sales, Acer has recently lowered the prices of the relatively low-end Tablet PC models to around US$1,000 per unit and the slim-type models to below US$1,200, Wong said.

However, some sources pointed out that the key for successful marketing of Tablet PCs will hinge on how fast Microsoft can bring its next-generation operating system, codenamed Longhorn, to market.

Microsoft has decided to postpone the debut of the Longhorn system to the second half of 2005, instead of the original schedule of late next year or early in 2005. The delay raises uncertainty for Tablet PCs, the sources said.

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