Acer Founder Dismisses Tablets As ‘Short Term Fad’

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Tablets are a short-term phenomena says Acer’s founder, as Forrester warns iPad rivals to cut their prices

The founder of computer maker Acer has stepped into the tablet and ultrabook debate by dismissing the new form factors as fads.

Stan Shih, the founder of Acer, was quoted by Digitimes as commenting that the fads for ultrabooks and tablet PCs are short-term phenomena. Reportedly, he also urged companies in the notebook supply chain to come out with more value-added products through innovation.

Shih also reportedly stated that Apple’s success with its iPad tablet has been achieved through its outside-the-box thinking, which he said is an attitude that all notebook players should learn.

Tablet Debate

Of course it is worth pointing out a number of issues here. For starters Acer is bringing out its own ultrabook device.

And, of course, the PC maker is also working on a seven-inch tablet PC, after it revealed plans in January this year to introduce two or three tablet computers during 2011. It has also drastically scaled back its own tablet sales predictions.

It is not unknown for Shih to make controversial comments. Back in January 2010 for example he predicted that American PC vendors would be dead in 20 years, due to their alleged inability to produce inexpensive PCs, much to the irritation, no doubt, of Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Acer was forced to deny at that time that its tablet move would allow it to eventually phase out netbooks altogether. Acer of course already attempted to enter the tablet market, but was forced to discontinue an earlier 12-inch device in July 2010 after it sold less than 300 units in a month.

In March, Acer’s then CEO and president, Gianfranco Lanci, (pictured) suddenly resigned after clashing with the board over the future direction of the company, which was thought to include a debate about Acer’s commitment to the tablet form factor.

Gartner has already warned that the iPad and tablets will hurt PC sales. IDC recently found that PC shipments in Western Europe fell by 20.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011 because of the growth of interest in tablets.

Tablet Price Cut

Meanwhile analyst house Forrester has warned in a new report that Apple’s tablet rivals stand the most chance of success in Europe, and that they have to cut their prices if they hope to take on the Apple juggernaut.

Senior analyst at Forrester, Sarah Rotman Epps, said that the Apple iPad will maintain its lead in Europe despite the growing numbers of tablet rivals. But she warned Apple only has 52 Apple stores in Europe, and 30 of them are in the UK, so Apple would be more vulnerable to competition there.

“But no competitor has met Apple’s challenge,” she wrote. “Despite Apple’s potential vulnerability, we estimate that Apple still has 70 percent market share for tablet sell-through to consumers in Europe. iPad competitors’ prices are too high, and no competitor has matched Apple on content or channel strategy,” she added.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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