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Acer Says Microsoft Could Catch Up to Google, Apple in Mobile

Acer Says Microsoft Could Catch Up to Google, Apple in Mobile
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp., unveiled the Windows Phone 8 software in San Francisco, on Oct. 29, 2012. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp.’s operating system for mobile devices could become a serious competitor to Google Inc. and Apple Inc. software in the next year, Acer Inc. President Jim Wong said today.

The main thing holding the platform back is a lack of applications -- a failing that Microsoft is working to solve, Wong said in an interview after introducing a new line of Acer products in New York. Acer, the fourth-largest personal-computer maker, sells a range of PCs and tablets with Windows, though it doesn’t offer any phones with Microsoft software.

“Windows for now is still a leader in the productivity field,” he said, referring to Microsoft’s dominance in PCs and office software. Within the next year, the mobile version of the software is poised to mount a real challenge, he said. “We have high hopes.”

With the PC industry in decline, Acer has an interest in its partner Microsoft making the transition to mobile devices. Global PC shipments tumbled 14 percent last quarter, the fourth straight period of decreases, according to research firm IDC.

So far, Microsoft hasn’t made much of a dent in either smartphones or tablets. Windows accounted for less than 4 percent of tablet shipments in the first quarter, compared with 40 percent for Apple’s iOS and almost 57 percent for Google’s Android, according to IDC. In smartphones, Microsoft had 2.7 percent of the market at the end of last year. Android and Apple combined controlled more than 90 percent of shipments, IDC said.

At the New York event, Acer unveiled four computing products, including a 7.9-inch Android mini-tablet and a convertible tablet that pairs with a keyboard.

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