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Friday, July 22, 2011, 07:30 am PT (10:30 am ET)

Netbook maker Acer accuses Apple of starting 'patent war'

Manufacturers of Android devices continue to unite against Apple, with Acer joining the fray as the company's claims of patent infringement continue to threaten HTC.

Acer's chairman, JT Wang, said his company is ready to face any patent infringement challenges associated with adopting Android, according to a report Friday from DigiTimes. He also accused Apple of being an instigator with its legal action against HTC.

"As Apple's patent lawsuits against HTC have created concerns among market watchers, and have even strongly impacted HTC's stock price, Wang pointed out that the player, which started the patent war, wants either money or market influence and should consider any related losses as costs of doing business," the report said.

The comments are not the first time Wang has disparaged Apple. Last fall, he predicted that the iPad's share of the tablet market would plunge to less than a third because of the "closed platform" of Apple's iOS.

Acer has been a fervent defender of Android on tablets, as Wang said he believes Google's mobile platform "simply needs a little more time before it turns strong."

Acer's chief executive resigned from the company in April as the company looks to reorganize in an effort to take on Apple's market-leading iPad. At the time, it was said that the impact from successful Apple products was a "key reason" for the departure of Gianfranco Lanci.

Acer


The release of the iPad in 2010 had a major impact on the netbook market, of which Acer was king. Thanks in part to the iPad, Acer has seen its sales plummet drastically.

In the latest quarterly PC sales figures, Gartner found that Acer's shipments dropped more than 22 percent in the U.S. from 2010. Things weren't much better worldwide, where Acer's estimated sales also dropped more than 20 percent year over year.

Q211 PC numbers

Gartner's preliminary Worldwide PC market share estimates for the second quarter of 2011.


The collapse of the netbook market has led Acer to embrace Android on a series of tablet-style devices the company hopes will take on the iPad. Acer has also adopted Google's other operating system, Chrome, to build low-cost Chromebooks built for the Web-centric platform.

Acer's alignment with Google and Android makes it one of a number of manufacturers with a close eye on Apple's patent infringement suit against HTC. Earlier this month, a judge at the ITC gave an initial ruling that HTC has violated two patents owned by Apple.

Apple's initial legal victory has led some onlookers to suggest that other Android device makers could also be in trouble based on their use of Google's platform. It's also been suggested that Apple could collect a lucrative royalty rate from Android device makers, similar to the $5-per-unit fee Microsoft allegedly collects from HTC.