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Acer makes play for the cloud with iGware acquisition

Internally troubled Taiwanese giant belches up $320m

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Acer is making a play to build out its own cloud infrastructure after forking out $320m for US firm iGware.

The troubled Taiwanese hardware vendor is going through a make-over by top brass following the departure of CEO Gianfranco Lanci at the end of March, before it publicly admitted to inventory woes that would cost it $150m to write down.

The consumer slowdown has impacted Acer's shipment numbers; only last week it was shunted into fourth spot in the global PC leagues, and the firm is trying to reduce its reliance on retail by building a much bigger professional PC and infrastructure outfit.

The deal with Silicon Valley-based iGware – which could rise by a further $75m depending on performance-based earn-out – is the first step on the road to a future outside of pure box-shifting, and provides the basis for the Acer Cloud.

iGware flogs cloud software and infrastructure tools including "device eco-systems, virtual consoles and personal cloud", supporting 100 million consumer devices worldwide including Nintendo Wii, iDS and 3DS and the future Wii U.

"The goal of Acer Cloud is to allow our users enjoy and manage all their ICT devices, contents and resources with ease, by integrating all Acer products including PCs, tablets and smart handheld devices within a safe and secure environment," said Acer CEO JT Wang.

The Acer Cloud will be built on an open platform with hardware and software design integration set to begin in late September, the firm said, adding it expects to launch products that use the Acer Cloud during 2012.

Founder and Chairman at iGware, Dr Wei Yen, said: "This merger will provide a significantly larger platform to further develop and extend our technologies to Acer’s global customers. At the same time, it will allow us to continue working closely with our existing partners and build additional strategic relationships with others." ®

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