updated 08:30 am EST, Wed February 15, 2012
Acer makes 2.5m in Q4 2011
Acer reported some of the first good news for its performance in some time after it generated its first profit in nine months. The company managed to earn the equivalent of $2.5 million after two consecutive losses in 2011. The profit was bittersweet as it contrasted with a $132 million profit one year earlier; total revenue also fell 14 percent to $4.3 billion.
Company chairman JT Wang considered it a sign of recovery. The revival was helped primarily by Acer launching its first ultrabook, the Aspire S3, as part of an attempt to get away from the traditional Windows PC builder's emphasis on low prices and market share above all else. The S3 was prompted by Intel's attempt to formally establish the ultrabook category, which itself was defined by Apple's MacBook Air.
Hard drive shortages relating to Thailand flooding are expected to dampen Acer's early 2012 results, although improving conditions could work to Acer's favor. Acer has also doubled down on ultrabooks and is readying models like the Aspire S5.
The profit didn't overcome steep losses for all of fiscal 2011 of $212 million. Acer pinned the losses on strategic changes, as it moved away from its emphasis on sheer numbers for PCs, as well as one-time costs.
Most have interpreted Acer's actual reasons for loss as its reluctance to address competition from Apple. Much of its reduced PC market share in 2011 came from rapid declines in netbooks and low-end notebooks as customers opted for the iPad, and occasionally other tablets, instead. Wang and other current or recent Acer executives spent nearly all of 2010 and much of 2011 hoping the iPad would go away rather than dealing with it directly.