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Acer boss tells Microsoft to "think twice" about Surface decision

Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer has rounded on ally Microsoft, lambasting the US tech giant for its decision to make a solo foray into the tablet market with Surface.

Warning the influential software maker to "think twice" before going it alone, Acer chief JT Wang claimed that the Redmond-based firm's incursion into the realm of hardware was ill-advised.

"We have said think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction," Mr Wang told the Financial Times.

He also ventured that the move was especially risky given Microsoft's lack of hardware expertise.

"It is not something you are good at, so please think twice," he reiterated.

Mr Wang is the first head of a major PC manufacturer to speak out about the Surface issue. His criticism highlights the potential for a massive rift between Microsoft and its OEM partners after it announced it is entering into direct competition with many of them via the incoming tablet range, which will drop at the end of October.

Campbell Kan, Acer's president for global PC operations, added that Acer may be forced to consider alternative partners if Microsoft intends to continue producing its own hardware.

"Microsoft hasn't given us a very clear picture. If going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?" he asked.

Earlier in the summer, Microsoft made the blockbuster announcement at that it was to launch its own tablet range, dubbed Surface, in an effort to allay some of the disruption caused by the rise of mobile technology and, in particular, Apple lines like the iPad.

Speculation has mounted since then that the move may sour Microsoft's relationships with its hardware buddies, with HP's decision to scuttle a Qualcomm-powered consumer tablet running the next-gen Windows RT OS thought by some to be a sign of things to come.

In addition to Acer, partners like Dell and Lenovo are likely to be affected by the new tablet venture, though the US company's iconic former CEO, Bill Gates, has weighed to say that a Microsoft-built device needn't be incompatible with third-party slates also running Windows 8.

"I actually believe you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a rich ecosystem of manufacturers and you can have a few signature devices that show off, wow, what's the difference between a tablet and a PC?" Mr Gates said back in July.