By David Owen at the Grosvenor House in London

Acer 24_JulyJuly 25 - Senior figures in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) now think it unlikely that Acer will renew its computing equipment sponsorship for the 2013-2016 period, insidethegames has learnt.

If confirmed the Taiwanese company's decision not to renew would leave an important question mark over this element of the IOC's flagship TOP (The Olympic Partner) worldwide sponsorship programme, with little more than 18 months to go before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

In trying to persuade another computer maker to replace Acer (pictured top), the IOC would probably need to confront the way in which the pace of technological innovation is affecting technology companies, with functions that until recently required a computer now being performed routinely by mobile phones and other devices.

One possible approach could be to persuade Samsung, already an IOC sponsor, to broaden its product category.

This notion might well appeal to the company with the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games set to take place on South Korean soil in Pyeongchang.

2018 Winter_Olympic_and_Paralympic_Games_24_JulyPyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games

Whether the IOC would be able to extract more value out of the sponsorship to reflect the wider category is, however, more questionable.

Given the time pressures, it appears possible too that the computer category might become a domestic sponsorship category, at least for the time being.

Sochi signed a deal in June 2011 for Microsoft to be an Official Supplier of the Games.

More recently, the United States software giant signed an agreement that gives Sochi access to its cloud technologies as it ramps up preparations for the event.

Such a move, though, could potentially make it difficult for the IOC in 2013-16 to match the $957 million (£617 million/€793 million) raised by TOP in the present Olympic quadrennium about to culminate in London.

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