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Is tablet fad killing PC sales?

by on28 March 2011

Acer warning might be trying to say something else
Acer has warned that its PC sales in the first quarter are short of expectations. The FT claims that this is highlighting the continued shift of consumer preferences in Europe and US from notebooks towards tablet devices.

But Acer never said that. It did say that PC revenues were 10 per cent less than in the fourth quarter of last year, during which Acer suffered an 11 per cent year-on-year fall in revenues.

Jenny Lai, head of Taiwan research at HSBC said that it shows that tablets’ cannibalisation of the notebook and netbook markets is definitely happening. If that was the case then the fall should be much greater as Acer relies on Netbooks.

While keyboardless netbooks should damage netbook sales, it is not clear how they could be harming PC or notebook flavours. Instead what could be being seen is the impact of the Japan earthquake on supply chains. Acer’s statement is a reminder that any weakness in global demand represents a far greater danger for most technology groups. Acer has also been losing ground againgst a more vibrant Dell.

There has also been a financial crisis which has tiggered the consumer market while corporate IT spending that has driven the PC market. There is weaker consumer demand from developing markets in China and competition from other mobile devices. Top contract PC manufacturers in Taiwan, which account for 90 per cent of production, were down roughly a fifth from January and even Hon Hai, which makes Apple stuff saw an 18 per cent decline.

The claim is probably more the Tame Apple Press suggesting that the company's latest shiny toy is changing the industry, which it isn't.

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