Acer Co-Founder Stan Shih Returns to Struggling PC Maker After Record Loss

Paul Lilly

Stan Shih faces some tough challenges

A recurring theme in the tech industry is that sometimes you have to look backwards in order to move forward. Apple did it when Steve Jobs came back to lead the Cupertino company into a new era of unprecedented riches, Dell's doing it with Michael Dell returning in an attempt to return the No. 3 PC maker back to glory, and now Acer's following the blueprint by bringing in company co-founder Stan Shih after a quarter of record losses .

News of Shih's return comes not even three weeks after former chief J.T. Wang announced his resignation , who stepped aside to make way for Jim Wong, while Shih was to serve on an advisory committee. Something happened between then and now, as both Wang and Wong have decided to step down, though they will remain as advisers, The Wall Street Journal reports .

Confused? The bottom line here is that Shih is back in charge. He will serve as Acer's interim president until an "appropriate candidate" is found, at which point there could be yet another round of management musical chairs. In addition, Shih will be offering his services pro bono.

"Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the reign without salary," Shih said in a statement.

Like other PC makers (save for Lenovo, which wields a magical formula for success, apparently), Acer's challenge is in finding a way to cash in on mobile devices without giving up on traditional PC sales. The problem there is that the mobile sector is dominated by Samsung and Apple, along with established competitors like Amazon (Kindle Fire).

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