The PC business is going through a difficult period and the company that's arguably most exposed is Taiwanese PC giant Acer.
As we reported earlier this month, iSuppli reported a year on year fall in sales of almost 20 percent for Acer in the last quarter of 2010. We have since spoken to Acer representatives, and they insist that other reports have painted a better picture of Acer's performance, but nobody's trying to claim it had a good Q4.
A recent announcement from Acer, as reported by Reuters, revealed it expects sales to fall by ten percent sequentially in Q1 2011. So that's a significant fall on an already disappointing quarter and well below Acer's target of three percent growth. Acer has yet to publish the statement on its website, but we've been assured by its representatives that the report accurately represents what was said.
The main reasons given for the fall is weak PC demand in Western Europe and the US. Acer is likely to be especially affected by such a trend as the major driver of PC growth over the past few years has been consumer notebook purchases, and relies more on this market than rivals such as HP and Dell, which have greater exposure to the enterprise market.
What remains unclear is how much of the fall in demand for consumer notebooks is down to tablets, as people divert funds they may otherwise have spent on notebooks to the novel form-factor. One possible indication is the reported statement from Acer that new tablet models scheduled to launch in Q2 may improve sales.