Acer

Sarah Mishkin

Acer, the Taiwanese computer company, has struggled for a while to sell enough computers to stay profitable, but investors still found room for disappointment in its most recent results.

Shares were down nearly 4 per cent in Taipei today after management spoke with analysts and the media to explain its second quarter operating loss of NT$613m and its 19 per cent year on year fall in revenue to NT$89.4bn. 

Who’s buying?

PC companies just can’t get a break.

Shipments from the Taiwanese manufactures that make most of the world’s desktop and laptop computers hit a three-year low last quarter as consumers waited for fixes to Windows and decided to buy tablets and smartphones in the meantime. For those Taiwanese companies, those disappointing stats are one more reminder of the need to diversify away from their core PC business.

 

Tech has had a rough week, between the worries surfacing about Microsoft’s Windows 8 and doubts about Apple’s newly unveiled iPad mini and disappointing second quarter results.

Those worries have taken their toll on supply chain companies and computer makers in Taiwan, for whom the fourth quarter is not shaping up to be the holiday-led recovery many hoped for.

 

Chris Nuttall

Acer completed a slow reveal of its Windows 8 US launch products on Monday with all-in-one desktop PCs (pictured left)and two touchscreen displays.

This follows the unveiling over four different days earlier this month of Aspire S7 and M5 Ultrabooks, V5 series notebooks and two Iconia tablets. 

Some good news for Acer — the PC-maker narrowly edged out Lenovo and HP as the largest notebook PC seller globally last quarter, writes Sarah Mishkin in Taipei.

Narrow here means narrow. Acer now has 15.4 per cent of the market. Tied for second place are Lenovo and HP, which each have 15.3 per cent, according to new research from Gartner.  

PC-maker Acerhad said that it could post as low as zero per cent annual growth in the number of computers it ships this year.The announcement sent its shares tumbling 3 per cent, even though news that PC sales are freezing should hardly be surprising given the global economic slow down.Acer, the world’s third-largest computer vendor, had previously forecast 10 per cent annual growth in the number of computers it ships. That has now been trimmed to zero to 5 per cent growth, according to a company source.

 

Acer and its former chief executive Gianfranco Lanci may have parted ways for almost a year now, but it is apparently not quite water under the bridge between the two sides.

The Taiwanese company said on Tuesday that it has initiated legal action in Mr Lanci’s home country of Italy, alleging that Mr Lanci violated non-compete clauses in the contract he signed with Acer upon leaving in Febuary 2011 – Mr Lanci joined Lenovo as a consultant in September, and the Chinese company last month announced Mr Lanci would head its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, effective April. 

Tech news from around the web:

Ultra-thin notebooks and tablets to rival Apple’s MacBook Air and  iPad 2 respectively are expected to take centre stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which officially opens on Tuesday. 

When Acer last March unceremoniously ousted its then-chief executive Gianfranco Lanci, it was not an amicable parting, with both sides apportioning blame on the other for the split.

But if the Taiwanese company had thought they were rid of Mr Lanci by forcing his resignation, then they are sorely mistaken. Mr Lanci was this week appointed the head of Europe, Middle East and Africa by none other Lenovo, Acer’s Chinese rival. 

lenovo ideapad

To judge how tastes and fashions can change, I placed our four-year-old family laptop, an Acer Aspire, next to the latest version, launched this week, the S3.

Acer had subcontracted the design of our old Aspire to BMW and it had a glossy black exterior curved like a bonnet, while its lid opened and shut with the solidity of a German car door.