If you can’t beat them, join them.

This seems to be the new motto over at Acer, who up until now had the choicest of words for Microsoft and its decision to enter the hardware market. Executives at Acer bad mouthed the Redmond giant in the harshest possible ways very recently.

Linxian Lang, the President for Greater China at Acer advised Microsoft to stick to software, labeling the hardware business as “hard rice”.

CEO of Acer wasn’t far behind in his criticism of Microsoft, calling the company far too powerful in that it could kill the entire hardware ecosystem, including all other smaller companies.

This public bashing was one of the reasons why Acer was not be included in the shortlist of companies allowed to release Windows RT tablets.

All that, it seems, has changed.

Microsoft is set to unveil its Integrated Development Program (IDP) in the 2013 edition of Consumer Electronics Show very soon, and Acer’s name is popping up as one of the likeliest companies to partner with Microsoft and release a tablet next year.

The Redmond giant already opened the innings by releasing its branded Surface tablets a month or so back with the Surface RT. A Pro version is set for next month.

But it’s clear the maker of Windows is looking to hit the home run by bringing in a few partners on board. In fact, word on the street is that as many as 10 manufacturers are looking to get in on the Windows RT action and collaborate with Microsoft.

Not all will make the cut. We’ll keep you posted on those that do.

What exactly to expect as a result of this collaboration, you ask? A whole lot of variety for starters — both when it comes to specs and prices — and smaller sized tablets (7-inch Windows on ARM, anyone?) are not out of the question either.

Like I said, if you can’t beat them, join them.

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