Taiwanese PC maker Acer suspends operations in Russia

Taiwanese PC maker Acer suspends operations in Russia

Taiwanese PC manufacturer Acer backtracked, saying on Friday it would suspend operations in Russia because of the war in Ukraine.

“Due to recent developments, Acer has decided to suspend its activities in Russia,” Acer said in a statement. “The company is focused on the safety of all of its employees, which includes continued efforts to help each individual and their families affected by the current situation. Acer hopes that peace will be restored as soon as possible. Acer’s thoughts are with those affected and works with several international agencies and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] on humanitarian support.

Acer’s office in Russia will remain open, the company said.

“Acer’s office in Russia is still open for information and basic service purposes, but no longer supports sales transactions,” according to an Acer spokesperson.

The move comes days after Acer received an “F” grade in a Yale School of Management report for continuing to do “business as usual” in Russia. Acer is one of more than 200 companies, including IT vendors such as the Taiwan-based PC maker ASUS, Israeli Security Company Checkpoint Software Technologies and based in Hong Kong Lenovo— the report identified Friday as “digging in” and “defying demands” to exit or curtail activity in the Russian market.

CRN has reached out to Asus, Check Point and Lenovo for comment and had no response as of press time.

The researchers responsible for the Yale report did not respond to requests for comment before press time. [Update: Yale researchers since have updgraded Acer to a “B.”]

With the flip-flop, Acer joins hundreds of companies around the world, including PC makers such as Dell Technologies and HP Inc..—To suspend or curtail business operations in Russia following that country’s invasion of the Ukraine at the end of February.

Mike Turicchi, vice president of NCS Technologies, based in Gainesville, Va., said the dispute puts companies in a tough spot.

“It’s a tough business decision for a company to make, but it’s the right thing to do. I was disappointed that it took Acer so long to suspend business operations in Russia when the majority of tech companies went offline a month ago,” Turicchi said via email to CRN, noting that NCS Technologies is not an Acer partner. “We all feel some pain as a result of the sanctions and will continue to face challenges in the weeks and months to come. It’s a small price to pay when you see what Ukrainians are going through.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions on Russia and some of its wealthiest citizens in an effort to create economic consequences for Russia’s actions.

Acer issued its first statement on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on Friday as part of its first-quarter 2022 financial results release.

It has the second-largest PC market share in Russia with 16.8% of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Statista. Lenovo (with 18.5% market share) and Asus (with 15.6% market share) complete the top three.

While many tech companies have done business since the invasion began, some are taking even more action as international outrage grows. Intel announced on Tuesday that it would close all of its operations in Russia, terminating its 1,200 employees there. Initially, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant complied with US sanctions that called on tech companies to cut supplies and sales.

“Intel continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine and calling for a speedy return to peace,” the company said in a statement.

Yale’s report lists more than 600 companies that have pulled out of Russia. Other companies that suspended business but maintained operations received higher ratings. An “A” grade was given to companies that have completely shut down their presence, going beyond current US sanctions that call for a trade ban.