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News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.techrepublic.com

With the recent departure of Acer's CEO, JT Wang, the good fortune of OEMs appears to be ending, as Microsoft is now encroaching on their territory with their own devices like the Surface and Surface Pro. Despite the Surface receiving a lukewarm reception and being a $900 million write-down for Microsoft, the state of the PC market has shifted significantly from where it was before the launch of Windows 8. For this and other reasons, Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has abruptly announced his intention to leave when a successor has been named. While it appears that the root of these problems is Microsoft, there is plenty of blame to go around for the present state of things. If one was to hasten to pick any one decision that ultimately resulted in Acer's fate being sealed, it would be the 2011 exit of CEO Gianfranco Lanci. Under Lanci's leadership, Acer's valuation doubled from $10 billion to $20 billion. In addition, Acer's global market share increased substantially and led to the purchase of Gateway Inc. (and by extension, budget manufacturer eMachines) in 2007, to increase their presence in the United States. Packard Bell, which had a thriving European operation, despite shuttering U.S. operations in 1999, was purchased by Acer in 2008 for the same reason. Lanci's departure was a result of his desire to reform Acer to widen their focus to mobile phone and tablet products. This strategy was presumably to counter HP, who had then recently acquired Palm and was preparing the release of the HP Pre 3 smartphone and TouchPad. Other PC vendors, such as Lenovo and Sony (then Sony Ericsson), were also preparing Android phones and tablets at the time. Ultimately, expanding these operations required more engineers and global talent to be hired for product design and engineering. The interests controlling Acer feared this was a "de-Taiwanization" of the company, which led to end of Lanci's tenure at the firm. Somewhat reflexively, Lanci's successor, JT Wang, declared in August of 2011 that "tablet PC fever is starting to cool down." Under Wang's leadership, Acer ceased production of netbooks at the end of 2012, in favor of similarly-functioned Chromebooks sans the Microsoft licensing fee. Acer has increased their tablet offerings, spanning both Windows and Android products, but sits at 2.5% market share as of Q3 2013. With the release of the iPad Air, Samsung Note 10.1 (2014), Kindle Fire HDX, and possible refresh of Google's Nexus 10 in time for the holiday season, Acer's market share in tablets is expected to decline. For Q3 2013, Acer's PC market share was 9.8%, which is a 22.8% decline from Q3 2012, according to Gartner. Acer isn't the only one suffering, because PC sales have declined over the last six consecutive quarters. The problem of shrinking sales is an industry-wide problem, the root cause of which may be Microsoft. With the exception of Microsoft's range of input devices, such as the Natural Keyboard and SideWinder joystick, Microsoft's attempts at producing hardware have been lackluster, fraught with quality control issues, and generally poorly received. The Xbox 360 had failure rates estimated at 33%, with issues surrounding bad heat dissipation to the improper use of lead-free solder unsuited to the temperatures the device reaches. The Microsoft KIN smartphone was discontinued after 48 days for simply being unwanted. The Zune, Microsoft's answer to the iPod, was not quite a failure as much as it was a bumpy transition; it was incapable of playing music wrapped in Microsoft's own PlaysForSure DRM scheme. Given these less-than-stellar results from previous hardware ventures, the announcement of the Surface came as something of a shock to the industry at large. Microsoft and OEMs have heretofore subsisted on a mutual partnership, one that Microsoft seems to be abandoning. They have doubled down with the release of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 but have been struggling to unload their first-generation tablets on consumers. Over the summer, Microsoft was giving away Surface tablets to attendees of the ISTE conference and announced education-exclusive pricing of $199 for the 32 GB Surface RT. This Black Friday, Best Buy will offer the 32 GB Surface RT for $200. Aside from Microsoft's foray into hardware, the case can be made that the problem is that consumers do not want Windows 8. Recall the aforementioned Gartner survey, which indicates that Q3 2013 is the sixth consecutive quarter of worldwide PC shipments. Windows 8 hit RTM on August 1, 2012, with general availability on October 26, 2012. The first full quarter after general availability, Q1 2013, was met with a 14% drop in sales compared to Q1 2012, according to IDG. The interface changes that accompany Windows 8.1 are not a substantive improvement. Windows 7 reached general availability on October 22, 2009. According to NetMarketShare, the market share for Windows 7 in Q4 2010 — approximately a year from release — was 20.27%. At present, we are slightly over a year from the release of Windows 8, and the combined market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 this month is 9.25%. Windows XP, which faces the end of extended support in April 2014, remains at 31.24%. Windows 8 is not a successful product by any meaningful metric, and perhaps the toughest challenge any company can face is when their biggest competitor is their own back catalogue. Acer's misfortunes are a symptom of an industry-wide ailment, for which there is no immediate hope of a correction. The only vague prospect of salvation is the eventual naming of Steve Ballmer's replacement as CEO of Microsoft. Who do you think would be best suited to run Acer or Microsoft, and how would you change the present state of things at those firms? Let us know in the comments section below.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2015-02-06

Medical professionals may obtain payment authorization from their patients, even before the insurance company or other payer has determined the patients ultimate financial obligation. In particular, the medical professional or their administrative staff may estimate the patients financial obligations, obtain authorization for payment, and then subsequently collect payment at a later date once the actual financial obligation has been determined.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2016-09-06

A closure includes a body having an open bottom formed of a skirt that defines an outer periphery of the body and an end wall defining a body dispensing aperture and a raised body portion providing a closed barrier. The closure also includes a cover coupled to the end wall of the body and having a cover dispensing aperture, the cover being rotatably movable relative to the body between a dispensing position with the cover dispensing aperture substantially aligned with the body dispensing aperture, and a closed position with the cover dispensing aperture substantially aligned with the raised body portion, wherein the cover dispensing aperture includes one or more dividers defining sub-apertures.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2015-06-11

A fuel depot in space is provided. The fuel depot has a collapsible housing with a guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) system, a power management system, and a reaction control system (RNC). Connected to the housing are a plurality of fuel tanks that are connected via collapsible rods. The fuel tanks have pipe systems that are in communication with a plurality of pumps to transfer fuel from the tanks through a refueling arm and into a spacecraft during refueling.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2013-01-15

A child resistant closure is provided that is configured to fit over the opening of a receptacle to form a container. The closure includes an inner dosage cup and an outer cap portion that receives and retains the inner dosage cup. The outer cap portion is rotatable relative to the inner dosage cup and defines at least one viewing window that allows for visual indication of a level of contents within the inner dosage cup.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2015-01-02

A closure includes a body having an open bottom formed of a skirt that defines an outer periphery of the body and an end wall defining a body dispensing aperture and a raised body portion providing a closed barrier. The closure also includes a cover coupled to the end wall of the body and having a cover dispensing aperture, the cover being rotatably movable relative to the body between a dispensing position with the cover dispensing aperture substantially aligned with the body dispensing aperture, and a closed position with the cover dispensing aperture substantially aligned with the raised body portion, wherein the cover dispensing aperture includes one or more dividers defining sub-apertures, and wherein each of the one or more dividers includes a flat top surface and extends away from the flat surface to form a pointed bottom edge that projects toward the open bottom of the body.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2015-01-22

A closure includes a skirt defining an outer periphery of the closure and having an open bottom end configured to fit over the mouth of a receptacle, an end wall positioned atop the skirt to close a top end of the skirt and form a top face of the closure, one or more openings formed through the end wall, and a sealing rib formed on the top face and diametrically disposed outboard the one or more openings.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2014-04-09

To provide a jigsaw puzzle that is manufactured easily and conveniently in a short time and allows reduction in production costs, and a method of manufacturing the same. A jigsaw puzzle obtained by stamping out a laminated sheet of a plurality of synthetic resin sheets with a stamping blade to be divided into a plurality of small pieces, wherein the laminated sheet is formed of: a soft sheet of a soft synthetic resin having a sheet shape formed by extrusion moulding; and a hard sheet of a synthetic resin that is harder than the soft sheet and is bonded to the soft sheet.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2014-01-31

A flex hinge closure with a drain-back channel is provided. The closure includes a base portion having a dispensing aperture, a raised pour lip formed along a perimeter of the dispensing aperture, a raised rib forming a closed shape surrounding the raised pour lip, and a drain-back channel defined by a space between the raised pour lip and the raised rib. The drain-back channel is configured to collect excess material dispensed via the dispensing aperture and to drain the excess material back to a receptacle. The closure further includes a cap portion hingedly connected to the base portion. The cap portion is configured to rotate relative to the base portion about the hinged connection between a closed position in which the cap portion covers the dispensing aperture and an open position in which the cap portion uncovers the dispensing aperture.


Patent
Gateway Inc. | Date: 2014-04-04

A container for storing dispensable contents includes a tub. The tub includes a body having one or more walls extending from a base, an opening, a neck formed around the opening and extending out from the body to form a lip, and a shelf disposed on an inner perimeter of the neck and below the lip. The container also includes a removable insert disposed below the lip and above the contents. The removable insert includes a scoop implement for dispensing the contents, and an outer frame removably coupled to the scoop implement, the outer frame configured to rest on the shelf and support the scoop implement above the contents. The container also includes a closure configured to removably cover the opening.

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