Acer challenges Amazon, Google in cloud

Taipei - Acer is getting into the cloud-computing business to compete with the likes of and Google.

The difference is the maker of notebooks wants you to host the service on your own personal computer.

The Taipei-based company says its private cloud offers more security than rival services that store information on off-site servers.

Acer’s software to operate a personal cloud is free and compatible with a wide variety of smartphones, tablets and computers, according to the company.

Facing a third straight annual loss, co-founder and Chairman Stan Shih came out of retirement to help lead a revival at the business as demand for PCs slumps.

Amid the company’s $691 million loss last year, the fledgling cloud services unit was a lonely bright spot, turning a small profit.

Shih spoke in an interview with Bloomberg News.

“I’d like to see more than 50 percent of profit from non-PC as quick as possible,” Shih said, referring to the company’s cloud-computing business.

That cloud services unit generated NT$1.3 billion ($43 million) in revenue last year from clients including Bank of America and UBS, said Rex Wu, a vice president at the company.

That’s less than 1 percent of Acer’s NT$360 billion in revenue for the year.

The market for the so-called Internet of Things -- which ranges from Web-enabled home appliances to centrally linked industrial equipment -- is estimated to generate $8.9 trillion in revenue by 2020, up from $4.8 trillion in 2012, researcher IDC reported in October. - Bloomberg News