Can Acer Turn Heads With Its Tablet PC?
Now Acer is gearing up for a global advertising blitz, to be built in part around the TravelMate 100, with the goal of reestablishing its position as a top PC vendor, according to Stan Shih, Acer's chairman and cofounder.
Shih says Acer is willing to spend what it takes to rebuild its brand, which has been diminished since the company's heady days in the mid-nineties when its
Set to ship for $1,999 when Microsoft launches its
By tapping the TravelMate 100 as the center of its brand-building efforts in markets like the United States, Acer is taking a gamble with an unproven product, but Shih believes that the TravelMate 100's design mitigates the risk that the Tablet PC won't find favor with end users.
"Our Tablet PC design is convertible from a Tablet PC to a notebook, so we have some downside risk protection," Shih says. "Microsoft is also going to promote this new platform, the Tablet PC, and they have got a lot of resources."
Shih says Acer's
"Microsoft will not compensate me if I have too much inventory," he says. "We don't want to have overexpectations but we are prepared to catch this opportunity."
If the Tablet PC and the TravelMate 100 don't win market acceptance, that's OK, Shih says. Acer will already have benefited from increased exposure of its brand to customers, he says: "It's a one-time cost."
"In the past, we have never had the opportunity to visit the top 50 companies in the United States and today Microsoft is bringing us into those companies," Shih says. At present, several large U.S. companies are already using the TravelMate 100 in trials, including Bank of America and 7-Eleven.