Acer is locked in a struggle with Microsoft over the future of the Tablet PC.
The PC and electronics vendor is convinced that Microsoft is not doing all it can to push the technology.
Jim Wong, president of the Acer IT products business group, complained that the situation was "a mess". Acer has invested heavily in the Tablet PC market, selling a range of four models.
"We are disappointed in the market. We believe it will happen, but it will happen too late. We keep on challenging Microsoft," he said.
Wong believes that a lack of applications is the root of the problem, with application vendors having to wait for Microsoft to fully commit itself to the Tablet.
"Microsoft has to communicate with the channels and the users. Once people try it, they appreciate it," he said. But, he added, Microsoft must kick-start the process and get people trying out Tablets.
Price is also a problem. Currently, users must pay the full cost of XP Professional Edition and then pay a premium for the Tablet Extensions. Acer wants both products to be priced the same.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates chose his Comdex keynote to announce price breaks for the Tablet PC OS, but these are not due to come into effect until mid-2004.
Acer chairman and cheif executive, Stan Shih, recently discussed the issue with Gates.
"He appreciates the problem," said Shih. "There are two things he can't control: the availability of applications and the other vendors."
Acer also has disagreements with Microsoft over the latter's strategy to converge IT and the consumer electronics market, and believes the company must better develop Media Center if users are to embrace it.
It has researched how consumers use home entertainment systems and is pressing Microsoft to make the platform more stable.
If consumers are to accept home entertainment systems based on PC technology, the technology must be simple and response times must be fast, said Wong.
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