Acer Drastically Scales Back Tablet Targets

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Acer has slashed its tablet shipment targets by almost 60 percent in the face of ongoing iPad domination

Acer has followed many of its tablet rivals in announcing it will drastically scale back its tablet shipment targets this year.

Earlier this month JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz suggested in a research note that Samsung, Motorola and other manufacturers were reducing their build plans for their respective tablet offerings, following a lukewarm reception by consumers and businesses.

And now Acer has followed suit, after J.T. Wang, the company’s chairman and acting CEO, confirmed that the PC maker would scale down its tablet hopes.

Tablet Headaches

According to Reuters, Wang told reporters after a shareholder meeting that the new target for tablet shipments this year was 2.5 to 3 million units, much lower than the 5 to 7 million units target Acer had set at the beginning of the year.

Acer also said it expected to sell 800,000 tablets in each of the second and third quarters. Last month, the company posted a 29.2 percent drop in total sales.

Acer had been hoping to challenge Dell for the second spot among worldwide PC vendors behind HP, and it was helped two years ago when netbooks were popular, as the PC maker was closely associated with that particular form factor.

However it is fair to say that the company has struggled to adapt to the arrival of the tablet.

In March, then CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci resigned after reportedly clashing with the board over the issue. This clearly signalled the troubles within Acer over the vexing tablet issue.

Tablet History

Last year Acer had attempted to enter the tablet market, but was forced to discontinue a 12-inch device in July 2010, after it sold less than 300 units in a month.

However Lanci signalled his determination to try again in October 2010, when he confirmed that a family of tablet computers were on the way, some running Microsoft’s Windows platform and others running Android.

Then in January this year Acer revealed plans to introduce two or three tablet computers during 2011, a move that it was thought would allow the company to eventually phase out netbooks altogether, although Acer denied this.

And then finally in April, Acer’s Iconia Tab A100 arrived in the UK, and became one of the cheapest Android Honeycomb tablets available on the market.

Sales Impact

There is little doubt that the netbook form factor has been under severe pressure following the sudden success of the tablet, and particularly the Apple iPad.

Indeed Gartner has already warned that the iPad and tablets will hurt PC sales, and other analysts remained locked in a debate over how much of an impact the tablet is really having.

To be fair to Acer however, Wong is thought to be increasing the company’s efforts behind mobile computing, with expectations that tablets and smartphones will account for 15 percent of its revenue in 2013 and a third by 2015.

Acer recently signed onto Intel’s “ultrabook” vision, which was unveiled at the Computex 2011 show on 31 May, and is hoped to revive the netbook industry. Wong said the company plans to release an “ultrabook” this year.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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