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Is there any hope left for Acer?

Originally a device manufacturer for bigger brands and one of the stars of the netbook age, the company’s once bright flame has dimmed in recent years. Now founder Stan Shih — who retired from the company back in 2004 —  is once again stepping in to lead Acer as its new chairman and acting corporate president, the company announced today.

It seems like a last-ditch attempt to revitalize Acer, following the recent resignations of both its CEO and chairman J.T. Wang (who was appointed to the CEO role just a few weeks ago) and president Jim Wong. Acer’s board has gone as far as to relinquish the CEO role altogether, perhaps in a hope to give Shih (and the board) more direct control over the firm.

In its last earnings report, Acer posted an operating loss of $20 million and saw its revenues dip by 20 percent. The company also announced a round of layoffs, likely meant to get its operating budget back in check.

Acer, the world’s No. 4 PC maker,  has never been known for high-quality devices. That’s likely why it did so well during the netbook era, a time of cheap and disposable tablets. But with the rise of smartphones and tablets and consistently slowing PC sales, Acer never found its footing.

“Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the rein without salary,” Shih said in a statement. “I will honor and complete all the public affairs and event engagements that I have committed to, but I will also fully support Acer’s ICT device business and carry out the company transformation. In addition, George Huang who is one of my co-founding partners of Acer will join with me and the management team to lead our company at this time.”


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