Acer boss: Windows 8 to make-or-break 2013 for PC manufacturers

Taiwanese consumer electronics giant Acer has confessed that a massive amount of uncertainty hovers over the PC market at the moment, following the release of Microsoft's radical new Windows 8 operating system.

Acer, the world's fourth largest PC manufacturer by shipments, has ventured that outgoing unit volumes could rise of fall by up to 5 per cent in Q4 2012, depending on how Windows 8 is received – a worrying scenario for the Taipei-based company, given that its operating margin is just 0.33 per cent, according to the FT.

"This kind of uncertainty we never encountered in the past 20 years," said JT Wang, chairman and chief executive of Acer, ahead of the Windows 8 launch yesterday.

Mr Wang's recent comments subtly echo his earlier criticisms of Microsoft, voiced back in August. Then, he advised the Redmond-based firm to "think twice" about ditching its manufacturing partners in favour of solo hardware forays like the Surface tablet.

"An industry leader competing with its partners is a very new situation....the uncertainty has really created a lot of negative impact on the ecosystem," Mr Wang added yesterday.

Earlier this week, Acer posted a Q3 2012 net profit of NT$68 million (£1.44m), massively missing market expectations of some NT$450 million (£9.5m).

In line with his CEO's comments, Jim Wong, Acer's corporate president, claimed that the company's most pressing fear was that Windows-inclined consumers might eschew new hardware purchases this holiday season as they sought to familiarise themselves with Microsoft's new, touch-centric platform.