updated 10:10 pm EST, Wed November 9, 2011
Acer, ASUS, in trouble competing with MacBook Air
Acer and ASUS were understood late Wednesday to have cut their current ultrabook orders by 40 percent after poor sales in the first month. Having originally targeted their total orders at between 250,000 to 300,000 each, Digitimes heard from contract ODMs (original design makers) that systems like the Acer Aspire S3 and ASUS Zenbook were down to between just 150,000 to 180,000. Their relatively high prices for normally budget-focused PC builders wasn't the only factor, the sources claimed, as the PCs themselves weren't stacking up to the MacBook Air.
Neither the Acer nor ASUS systems had the quality of Apple's system, according to the tips. Recent reviews have pointed to Acer's system having a cheaper body, while the ASUS device's buggy trackpad software has been a regular point of criticism.
Performance was also an issue. Because of the need to stay thin and light, the two Taiwan companies couldn't get a significant performance boost over Apple.
The two, and other Windows PC builders, were supposedly putting most of their hope in sales from May 2012 onwards. What would occur in May other than possible Intel Ivy Bridge updates isn't known, but most of the attention would be on Windows 8. Contacts have presumed that the OS would ship in October, much like the release of Windows 7, and that the touch-focused OS would revitalize Windows ultrabooks.
While the numbers haven't been confirmed, they corroborate earlier talk of 100,000 sales each and early frustration. Both Acer and ASUS are used to undercutting Apple by using lower-cost parts, but neither has had significant leeway because of the need for lightweight materials, long-lasting batteries, and faster chips.