Acer Inc. is a Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation headquartered in Xizhi, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Acer's products include inexpensive desktop and laptop PCs, tablet computers, servers, storage devices, displays, smartphones and peripherals. It also provides e-business services to businesses, governments and consumers. In 2012 Acer was the fourth largest personal computer vendor in the world.Gartner Says Declining Worldwide PC Shipments in Fourth Quarter of 2012 Signal Structural Shift of PC Market
In the early 2000s, Acer implemented a new business model, shifting from a manufacturer to a designer, marketer and distributor of products, while performing production processes via contract manufacturers.Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, Bart Sleb, 2005. In addition to its core business, Acer also owns the largest franchised computer retail chain in Taipei, Taiwan.
Acer was founded by Stan Shih (施振榮), his wife Carolyn Yeh, and a group of five others as Multitech in 1976, headquartered in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. It began with eleven employees and US$25,000 in capital. Initially, it was primarily a distributor of electronic parts and a consultant in the use of microprocessor technologies. It produced the Micro-Professor MPF-I training kit, then two Apple II clones; the Microprofessor II and III before joining the emerging IBM PC compatible market, and becoming a significant PC manufacturer. The company was renamed Acer in 1989.
In 1989, Shih hired Leonard Liu away from a 20-year career with IBM, making him president of the Acer group and chairman and chief executive officer of Acer America Corp. Liu's managerial style reflected his experience at "Big Blue": in contrast with Shih's traditionally progressive corporate culture, Liu tried to centralize control of Acer. At the same time, the computer industry quickly matured, shifting from a high profit margin business to a low margin commodity practically overnight. Price wars pushed component prices down so rapidly, and a strong New Taiwan dollar made the country's goods so expensive, that it became difficult to make a profit on the finished product.