updated 08:15 am EDT, Thu April 26, 2012
Acer sees slight bounce back in Q1 2012
Acer in discussing its latest results at an investor's conference was hopeful that this was a sign of a widescale resurgence in PCs for the industry. Its climb from 10.1 percent share in the fall to 10.9 percent this winter was a sign the company's "competitiveness is coming back," according to chairman JT Wang, and that Acer would climb back to third place while Dell sank. Demand for the spring would be typical in light of world economic troubles, but it would grow in earnest in 2012 and expand to more than 10 percent in 2013.
This would translate to a slight revenue increase in the spring, but growth only truly picking up later on. In the winter, it had seen an expected post-holiday revenue drop of 11.4 percent to the equivalent of $3.8 billion, but its operating income was better, at $4.7 million.
Most of the improvement in the later half would come from more competitive ultrabooks as well as the release of Windows 8, which most expect in the fall. Wang interpreted low sales of Windows-based ultrabooks to date as as a sign that the field just needed to lower prices and put more money into advertising PCs, complaining about both an "inadequate marketing effort by the whole PC industry" as well as purportedly high prices.
Unlike in the regular notebook market, where Windows PC builders have had the option of using basic plastic, lower-end processors, and cheap rotating storage, the demands of having both a very thin and very fast design in the ultrabook space has so far forced companies to use higher quality parts closer to those of Apple, whose MacBook Air pioneered the category. Newer ultrabooks like Acer's own Aspire S5 may challenge this, but the company has admitted that it got the existing S3 to $799 only by selling at break even.
Wang's statements show the company still embodying its insistence that the PC market would return to its growth of past years despite the iPad and other tablets, including Acer's own, taking hold. In 2010, Wang had repeatedly argued that the public would naturally return from PCs to the iPad. Acer's unwillingness to adapt to the iPad's market effect and its relatively mild initial response in the Iconia Tab A500 led to the company falling from second place in PC share to fourth, and in the US dropping out of the top five entirely late into 2011. [via Reuters]