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Acer is taking to the cloud as it looks to expand beyond its core PC business, buying cloud specialist iGware July 21 for $320 million.

Acer, which regularly competes with Dell for the No. 2 spot on the list of the world s top PC makers, will call the new business the Acer Cloud Technology Co. once the deal closes, which is expected to happen by September. In addition to the iGware acquisition, Acer officials also said they were in talks with video game company Nintendo, which is a client of iGware, about a working relationship after the deal closes. However, no details were given.

Acer executives said the iGware acquisition will not only give the company a foothold in the burgeoning cloud business, but also expand what it can offer existing and new customers.

"iGware offers expertise in cloud technology software design, with services already deployed on a large-scale and long-term basis,” Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang said in a statement. “As a mid- to long-term investment objective, the valuable core technology and capabilities will help create uniqueness for the Acer brand, and support a vast number of our users based on open platforms."

Acer joins a growing number of tech vendors — including Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft — in offering cloud services. Among the inter-related trends driving demand for such services — research firm Gartner is predicting a $73 billion market for cloud services by 2015 — is the rapid growth in the use of Internet-connected smartphones and other mobile devices, and the increasing mobility of both consumers and employees, all of whom are looking for ways to store and access data over the Internet.

In a report released in June, networking giant Cisco Systems predicted that by 2015, there will be almost 15 billion network-connected devices — from smartphones and tablets to notebooks, appliances and other smart machines — with the average U.S. citizen having seven connected devices.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Acer Jumps Into Cloud With iGware Acquisition