Nov 5, 2013: Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation
… J.T. Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, said, “Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years. With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era.” …
What I found after carefully analyzing the above outcome is summarized in the titles of the detailed sections of this post:
To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive
Taiwan is still confused
How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end
The road which lead to Acer downfall
1. To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive
THE LATEST EPISODES showing what was great from a general consumer point of view but not enough by far from enterprise point of view:
A Touch More: Acer’s 2013 Campaign Anthem [Acer YouTube channel, Nov 5, 2013]
We would all like to be a touch smarter, a touch cooler, a touch classier, and a touch simpler… With Acer it is possible, explore beyond limits with our touch & type products.
Acer @ IFA Berlin 2013 [Acer YouTube channel, Sept 26, 2013]
IFA BERLIN 2013. For the those who missed the latest designed ‘Touch’ innovations from Acer. The Iconia A3: 10.1″ display with wide viewing angle and immersive sound. The Aspire R7: Award wining designed for touch notebook with active pen. The Liquid S2: Full HD 6″ display with 4K recording.
Acer at Computex 2013 [Acer YouTube channel, July 1, 2013]
Highlights from Acer’s Computex Global Press Conference, product booth, and Tiësto party
Acer Global Press Conference NYC May 3rd, 2013 [Acer YouTube channel, May 13, 2013]
See what happended during Acer’s Global Press Conference in New York City on May 3rd, 2013. Redefining the computing experience.
AcerCloud™ – Be Free! [Acer YouTube channel, Oct 23, 2012]
AcerCloud lets you access your photos, music, videos and documents wirelessly and simultaneously on all devices anytime and anywhere – it enriches your life with more freedom! See how AcerCloud saves Roy from Major embarrassment! -http://bit.ly/AcerCloud
AND BACK THEN: May 9, 2011: Interview [AllThingsD]: Ousted Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci Talks About His Departure
… Lanci said he was pushing the company to become more mobile-focused and more global. Acer, he said, needed to look beyond Taiwan as the world shifted to one in which Intel and Microsoft had less power and computer makers needed to do more work for themselves. … “The real major issue was doing that in Taiwan, this was not possible,” Lanci said. “We needed to go outside Taiwan, be it China or India or even the U.S. or Europe, wherever you can find software resources, software know-how.”
What Lanci wanted to move beyond:
Acer Global Press Conference NY – Highlights [Acer YouTube channel, Nov 23, 2010]
Some highlights of the Acer Global Press Conference held in New York on November 23, 2010. Clear.fi, the Acer media sharing system, evolves with the introduction of some brand new products. Iconia, dual screen device, offers an entirely new touch experience, the new tablets ensure HD entertainment and Alive, the next generation content store, provides users with content tailored to their personal interests.
ICONIA, the dual-display tablet [Acer YouTube channel, Jan 21, 2011]
Dual-screen, multi-touch: ICONIA is the new 14-inches tablet that incorporates the best features of any notebook or tablet device and much more! Thanks to its innovative concept ICONIA was the proud winner of the ‘Last Gadget Standing’ competition at CES 2011, Las Vegas. Welcome to a brand new computing and touch experience!
Acer liquid mini hands on – MWC 2011 [Acer YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2011]
Take a closer look at liquid mini, the compact and stylish Acer smartphone that packs maximum possibilities in a minimum size. Discover how many features are enclosed in this charming Android smartphone: multi-touch display, 5 megapixels camera, Acer’s exclusive Social Jogger app that integrates updates from your social network accounts into one feed… and much more!
ICONIA Tab family at MWC [Acer YouTube channel, Feb 16, 2011]
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the new Acer Iconia Tab family was officially introduced: see here the Iconia Tab A500, with a 10.1 display and Android OS, Iconia Tab A100, 7″ display with Android, and Iconia Tab W500, with 10.1″ display and Windows OS.
Introducing Iconia and the Windows tablet [Acer YouTube channel, Dec 6, 2010]
NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Iconia, the outstanding Acer’s dual screen device with all-point multi touch functionality, and the 10.1″ Windows tablet, completely touch screen but also equipped with a docking device that includes a keyboard, introduced by Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc.
Tablets, smartphone and the world of Clear.fi [Acer YouTube channel, Dec 6, 2010]
NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Enter into the world of Clear.fi: the smartest way to enjoy multimedia at home. Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc., explains that contents stored on any Clear.fi enabled devices can be shared seamlessly with the other devices using the same interface. Take also a look to the new 10.1″ tablet that ensure powerful performances, the 7″ tablet, ideal on the go, and, finally, the 4.8″phone that is a real mini tablet!
So Acer Group Core values were too little to succeed [ayuternad YouTube channel, Sept 19, 2010]
The Acer Group is the culmination of years of innovation and change. We have become the global group we are today by adhering to the values and principles we established at our foundation. The language of these values may have changed, but our respect for and dedication to them has not.
ACER GROUP CORE VALUES:
The way we must act:
The pillars on which we must base our actions:
(1) Value Creating
THE ACER GROUP’S MISSION:
“User-friendly technology makes all the difference in today’s world. Indeed, the innovation and breakthroughs that technology brings can change the course of history.” With this introduction, the Acer Chairman delivers a clear message of the responsibilities and opportunities that technology can provide. Breaking down the barriers between people and technology is not an isolated event. It’s an ongoing process that unlocks our potential to bring innovation to life and embrace the challenges of the future.
As Acer continues to break down barriers, we have the real possibility to make a difference to the world we live in.
J. T. Wang
Chairman, Acer Inc.
Lanci, who was replaced as CEO in March, said that the interests that control Acer were worried that his plan would lead to a de-Taiwanization of the company.
“I said, ‘Look, it is not de-Taiwanization,’” he said. “It is just globalization. If we want to be in the top three (PC makers) in the next three to five years, we need to be a global company and we need to leverage resources wherever they are.”
Although today’s tablets are a consumer phenomenon, Lanci said the push by Microsoft to deliver Windows on ARM-based chips will help the devices move solidly into the business domain.
“You can easily think about a tablet thin and light, like the current iPad 2,” he said, but offering everything that the PC offers as well. However, he said that Acer needed to do more to prepare for that world. In addition to boosting its own software capabilities, he said the company needed a different relationship with chipmakers. The PC world, he said, was one of buying and selling components, with pricing and availability based solely on volume. The mobile world, he said, is based on close partnerships and strategic alliances.
As for who is doing things right, Apple is clearly winning, but there are others also making moves to adjust for the shifting world.
“I see Samsung is probably doing the right thing,” he said. “HP, maybe. It depends what they are going to do with software and with WebOS.”
However, he said much of the PC industry is in a similar position where Acer was.
So with Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation as the result of Acer Q3’13 Financial Results: Consolidated Revenue NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), Operating Loss NT$2.57B (US$86.61M), Intangible Asset Impairment NT$9.94B (US$335.13M) leading PC vendors of the past should take advice from Dell Goes Private: 8 Things To Expect [InformationWeek, Nov 4, 2013]
Dell CEO Michael Dell took the company private to gain more independence from Wall Street investors. Now that the buyout’s cleared, what moves can customers expect?
After eight months of maneuvering, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell has finally taken the company private. Dell executives remained tightlipped about the buyout as the process wore on, and as the flailing PC market continued to punish the company’s margins. But now that Dell has officially delisted, many of its enterprise customers no doubt are asking the question: How will this affect me?
Many have probably been asking the question for months. Activist investors such as Carl Icahn at times appeared to have the upper hand against Michael Dell. It seemed plausible at points that the founder might be ousted from his own company, or that pieces of the company might be sold off.
And even after it became clear Michael Dell would prevail, questions still remained. Observers widely interpreted that Dell didn’t want the burden of Wall Street’s quarterly scrutiny; after all, it’s hard to invest in new enterprise services when shareholders are howling about PC profits every three months. But now that Dell has rid himself of investor pressure, the question still remains: What will he do with his new flexibility, and how will it help customers?
Dell North America President PH Ferrand spoke withInformationWeek about Dell’s strategy as a privately held company. Here are eight takeaways from the conversation.
1. Dell can make investments as a private company that it couldn’t make as a public company.
Ferrand affirmed one of the buyout process’s dominant narratives: that from Dell’s perspective, Wall Street was more trouble than it was worth. Ferrand said going private will give the company more flexibility. It “might not have been obvious to investors” when the company needed to double down on investments, he said.
2. Dell sees no reason to make a smartphone but will continue to make PCs.
“Very few players make money [selling smartphones],” Ferrand said. “We don’t feel we have to be in the space.”
That’s consistent with what Michael Dell told InformationWeek last year at Dell World. But many of the device manufacturers with which Dell competes have started positioning smartphones as a gateway to consumer sales and BYOD business. Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device business is a notable example. Execs at HP, another company struggling to adjust to the mobile world, have repeatedly indicated that a smartphone is coming.
Why is Dell still resisting the trend? “The IT market is a $3 trillion business and we are about 2% of that,” Ferrand said. “We don’t need to have phones to get to 3% or 4%.”
Even so, Ferrand said Dell remains committed to PCs and intends to become a leader in the commercial tablet space. He said he can’t rule out a Dell smartphone eventually but predicted that in the meantime, people will soon stop differentiating between tablets and computers; instead, they’ll simply talk broadly about mobile devices. If this revolution in user behavior happens, Dell hopes its Venue 11 Pro tablet will be one of the devices that gets it started; a “three-in-one” device, it attaches to a keyboard to become a laptop and docks to an external monitor to become a desktop replacement.
3. Dell will focus on the hybrid cloud.
Ferrand highlighted hybrid cloud services as a market on which Dell will focus, and which Dell sees as ripe for growth. “We want to dominate hybrid,” he said, explaining that customers want a company that will allow them to be flexible with their data. Customers want to move applications between private and public clouds as they see fit, and they want security from outages and data leaks, he said. He cited some of the investments Dell has already made to fulfill these needs, such as its acquisition of Gale, a company that makes cloud automation tools.
But he said direct relationships with customers would be one of Dell’s defining traits as it builds its cloud business. With competitors such as HP, Microsoft, IBM and others occupying the same space, Dell hopes it can stand out not only with its products but also by serving as a “trusted advisor” for its customers.
4. Dell wants to enable IT to manage BYOD and fragmented workplaces.
Ferrand said device choice has become a smaller part of Dell’s conversations with customers. The reason? Dell’s cloud, virtualization and device management products allow companies to employ applications to whomever needs them, regardless of what kind device the person is using.
“Connecting devices” will be one of Dell’s core competencies as a private company, Ferrand said, and it will involve a variety of products from the company’s existing portfolio, from Wyse technologies for thin clients, to KACE products for management and deployment, to Credent technologies for added security. Device management tools and virtual desktop products are fairly common, but Dell hopes the breadth of its offerings can help it to stand out. This “one-stop shop” mentality plays in the “trusted advisor” persona noted above. Ferrand said the attitude would apply to all Dell’s businesses.
5. Dell will invest in next-gen data center technologies and big-data products.
Ferrand also said Dell would continue to focus on next-generation data center products and big-data applications. The company has already achieved some early momentum with its Active System line ofconverged infrastructure products, as well as its hyperscale servers built around energy-efficient ARM processors. But for both these data centers products and its emerging analytics tools to stand out in the crowded market, Dell will need to continue showing that its software assets are starting to coalesce. The company spent several years acquiring software patents and expertise, but Dell’s success will rely on integrating all of the technologies at the right price and pace.
6. Dell will increase its international sales coverage.
U.S. customers currently account for an inordinate amount of Dell’s business but the company believes emerging markets will be central to its long-term success. Ferrand said the company will continue to participate heavily with channel partners but will also expand its fleet of direct sales representatives throughout the world.
7. Dell will continue to focus on the middle market.
As its enterprise portfolio has expanded, Dell has tried to carve out a niche by delivering enterprise-class resources to SMBs and mid-market customers. Ferrand said Dell will continue this strategy as a private company partly because the middle market contains the largest group of potential customers. But he said this focus also enables Dell to design more flexible products. It’s easier to scale up a mid-market architecture than to affordably repackage one designed for large companies, he said.
8. Dell will execute moves more quickly than in the past.
Ferrand didn’t offer any hints regarding big moves Dell might be planning — such as another major acquisition, or some kind of new product launch. But he said customers can expect Dell to quicken the pace of innovation. As a publicly-traded corporation, the company faced a variety of hurdles in making aggressive moves. But with Michael Dell now securely in the driver’s seat, Ferrand said changes will unroll much more quickly.
2. Taiwan is still confused:
China Times: China’s Internet phenomenon sends warning to Taiwan [Focus Taiwan, Nov 6, 2013]
MomentCam, a mobile app that transforms pictures into cartoons, has quickly shot to popularity since its launch on Aug. 31, drawing 18.24 million users over the past two months.
The Chinese company that developed the app, founded by Ren Xiaoqing, has obtained new investment of 30 million Chinese yuan since the app hit the market.
The success story marks the rise of yet another Chinese Internet entrepreneur after Ma Huateng of Tencent Inc., Jack Ma of Alibaba Group, Yao Jinbo of 58.com Inc., and Zhuang Chenchao of qunar.com.
China’s booming Internet sector stands in sharp contrast to the situation in Taiwan, where the country’s star ICT industry has been losing its luster and the economy remains sluggish.
Taiwan’s ICT companies have hit a bottleneck because they have failed to reposition themselves from contract manufacturers to technology developers. In order to rescue the ICT industry, it is crucial for Taiwan to take part in the thriving Internet economy.
Google Inc. has seen its share price soar from US$85 to over US$1,000 within the nine years since it was launched in 2004, and it currently has a market value of US$338 billion. The market capitalization of Facebook, meanwhile, has reached 1.3 times that of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. — the world’s largest contract chip maker.
Taiwan’s ICT companies must not continue to confine themselves to the contract manufacturing market. The government should promote an alliance between the ICT industries of Taiwan and China and remove the current restrictions on the flows of information, talent and capital across the Taiwan Strait to salvage Taiwan’s dying economy. (Editorial abstract — Nov. 6, 2013)
MomentCam app, China’s latest overnight sensation [WantChinaTimes.com, Nov 6, 2013]
Three cartoon portraits made with the MomentCam app. (Internet Photo)
A smartphone application that converts pictures of the user into cute cartoon characters has become a hit overnight in China, with the number of subscribers topping 20 million in the fourth months after its launch.
The application, called MomentCam in English — a phonetic rendering of the Chinese which means “magic manga camera,” rose to the top of the free apps category on the Apple online store in China in just three days and notched a record 3.25 million subscribers a day. On the back of its rapid success, it recently attracted a 10 million yuan (US$1.64 million) loan.
The software was created by two young people, Ren Xiaoqing and Huang Guangming, both members of the Dark Horse Development Camp, a platform dedicated to startups.
Ren Xiaoqian, a fine-arts major, conceived of the idea when working as a souvenir designer for Walmart in the US in 2006. “A popular [design] for Walmart back then was planting a human face on the body of a cartoon character, although the effect was quite ugly as well as the dark background. This gave me the idea to render photographs of people in a cartoony comic style, believing that it would be even more popular,” Ren said.
In 2008, she encountered Huang Guangming, then a manager at Microsoft, and they decided to combine their respective expertise in the fields of fine art and computing by returning to China to found a startup.
The company initially dedicated itself to the production of custom-made cartoon souvenirs for some major local companies before Ren decided to switch to online business entirely due to the ceiling for offline products and her dislike of the need to entertain clients to drum up business.
From a slow start, the MomentCam app suddenly became a hit overnight. “We were not mentally prepared for the phenomenal growth of subscribers,” Ren admitted. The number of downloads topped 1 million in one month and 10 million in three months as people became aware of the software, which converts a photograph of a human into a cartoon figure in the space of a few seconds.
Ren said the challenge now is how to maintain the number of subscribers to avoid it becoming a short-lived fad, a fate that has befallen a great many applications in China.
Windows 8.1 tablet sales 20-30% below expectations [DIGITIMES, Oct 31, 2013]
Channel retailers are seeing their Windows 8.1-based tablet sales in October 20-30% below than their original expectations, despite strong price/performance ratios.
Asustek Computer’s recently released Transformer Book T100 is priced at US$349 for a 32GB model and US$399 for 64GB and after bundling with telecom services, the 64GB model’s price drops from NT$12,900 (US$438) to NT$5,000-6,000 in Taiwan.
Sources from channel retailers pointed out that the weakening Windows 8.1 tablet demand is due to competition from PC and Android-based tablets. Most of these products have received price cuts after the release of Windows 8.1-based 2-in-1 devices.
Since Windows 8.1-based tablets are starting to face problems similar to those of previous Windows-based models, the sources are concerned that inventory issues may rise again in 2014.
So far, channel retailers have not yet received any word about price cuts from brand vendors, but some retailers expect Windows 8.1 tablets to receive over 20% discounts in December for the year-end shopping season.
Dell expected to overtake Acer to become third-largest notebook vendor in 2014, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Sept 17, 2013]
Microsoft’s ending Windows XP technical support in April 2014 has triggered growing replacement of business-use notebooks, and this is expected to significantly benefit Dell because Dell has more focus on business-use modes than other notebook vendors, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Consequently, Dell is expected to surpass Acer to become the global third-largest notebook vendor in 2014.
Notebook vendors normally do not rely on business-use models for volume shipments mainly because sales are subject to the government sector’s and enterprises’ procurement scheduling, the sources indicated. But while demand for consumer notebooks has been shrinking due to competition from tablets and smartphones, business-use models have become the main source of growth for notebook vendors, the sources said.
Dell is expected to continue to focus on the business-use market segment, especially after its privatization, the sources noted. Dell shipped 9.285 million notebooks globally in the first half of 2013, ranking fourth next to Acer’s shipments of 9.814 million units, the sources cited IDC statistics as indicating.
Commentary: Suppliers need to prepare for Dell strategy change [DIGITIMES, Sept 27, 2013]
As Dell is expected to become privatized, Taiwan’s upstream component suppliers may need to start preparing for the US vendor’s business reorganization.
Michael Dell previously said that the company will accelerate its reorganization after becoming privatized and though the PC business will not be abandoned, it will surely no longer be the major focus of the US vendor.
Dell’s financial report for the second quarter showed that the company still had about 33% of profits coming from computing-related product lines including desktops, notebooks and tablets. However, as the PC industry continues to decline, placing less emphasis on the PC business is a path Dell is likely to take in order to achieve growth in the future.
The PC industry has already been shrinking for two consecutive years and is expected to continue declining in 2014. Although Wintel has been aggressively releasing new products and cutting prices, it has been unable to stimulate PC demand. This is a clear indication that the industry has already entered the decline stage and users may only replace their PC products when they are no long functional.
PCs still have low penetration in emerging markets, but as consumers of these markets are also having high interest in smartphones and tablets, the PC industry is unlikely to return to a growth track through these markets.
With the integration between software and hardware becoming a new trend of the IT market, upstream suppliers may also need to start preparing for Dell’s future strategy of combining software design with hardware products.
Dell optimistic about Windows 8.1 for enterprise PCs [DIGITIMES, Aug 29, 2013]
As Microsoft is ready to release Windows 8.1 on October 18, Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman and president of Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions, has expressed his optimism about the operating system. Compared to Android and iOS, Windows’ security and management abilities will allow the OS to become the top pick of the enterprise PC industry, Clarke noted.
Although Clarke has mentioned that Dell is planning to release several Windows-based tablets in the second half, he has not provided much detail for the related plans.
However, sources from the upstream supply chain has revealed that Dell is currently planning to release an 8-inch Windows-based tablet in the second half, targeting mainly the enterprise market.
In addition, Dell is also considering releasing a 10.6-inch Windows tablet, adopting either a Core i or an Atom processor, the sources added.
Dell aims to strengthen software businesses in Greater China [DIGITIMES, June 24, 2013]
Dell has set up four major departments, End-User Computing, Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG), Dell Software Group (DSG) and Services, and plans to strengthen businesses in Greater China in 2013.
The DSG was established earlier in 2013, while the Service department was formed only three years ago. With the four departments, Dell is able to push complete solutions as well as increase service consulting for its clients in Greater China.
Dell has been acquiring solution providers in the market since 2010 and has acquired players such as Kace, SonicWall and Quest. Thanks to the acquisitions, Dell Taiwan’s software solution business currently has over one thousand clients that are using its solution services including datacenter, cloud computing, information and data management, mobile office management and security and data protection.
Currently, Dell has about 40-50 service consultants for the Greater China region and is currently hiring more to support demand from the information and data management service sectors.
Dell Taiwan president Terence Liao pointed out that Dell’s global revenues in 2012 were about US$50 billion and the software segment contributed about US$1.5 billion. Since Dell Taiwan’s software business also shared a similar proportion, it shows that the software business has already become a focus at Dell.
In the future, Liao expects Dell Taiwan’s sales growth to be driven mainly by cloud computing and security and data protection services, and therefore will offer promotions to push the two services in the channel.
3. How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end:
FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS:
May 8, 2013: Acer forecasts shipment growth in Q2 (update)
Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Wednesday that it is aiming for single-digit growth in shipments in the current quarter after returning to profitability in the first quarter.
Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told an investor conference that he expects shipments of Acer’s notebooks, netbooks and tablets to remain flat or increase by up to 5 percent in the second quarter.
The company said its total PC shipments fell 11 percent sequentially in the first quarter, but it did not disclose the actual number of units shipped.
According to data compiled by research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Acer shipments plunged 31.3 percent year-on-year to 6.15 million units in the first quarter, well below the industry’s average of a 13.9 percent decline.
Wong said touch-enabled notebooks are expected to account for about 25 percent of Acer’s total notebook shipments in the second quarter, and that the ratio is likely to hit 30 to 35 percent by the end of the year.
J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said his company plans to break even in the second quarter, when the shipping quantity of its touch notebooks is expected to double those shipped in the first quarter.
He said Acer will continue to make more efforts in customer-centric designs and marketing to help the company regain growth momentum in the next decade.
“Our approach is to focus on driving valuable growth that is profitable and enhances Acer brand value,” Wang said.
The company’s operating margin in the quarter was 0.03 percent, and it had consolidated revenue of NT$91.7 billion (US$3.08 billion), down 9.4 percent from the previous quarter due to seasonal factors.
The company’s first quarter net income was NT$515 million, or NT$0.19 per share, derived mainly from non-operating income such as foreign exchange gains and the disposal of stock.
Acer’s operating income was NT$29 million, compared with an operating loss of NT$3.37 billion in the fourth quarter of last year that included a NT$3.5 billion intangible asset impairment charge for the loss in value of its rights to four trademarks.
Acer unveiled a series of Windows 8-based laptops and tablets in New York on May 3 in a bid to boost shipments and strengthen its bottom line, but the company is still struggling to cope with weak PC demand and strong competition from other brands.
Kirk Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at British banking group Barclays Plc, said Acer’s operating margin of 0.03 percent was much lower than his forecast of 0.18 percent and a consensus estimate of 0.17 percent by Bloomberg.
“We expect Acer to guide revenue to grow by single digits sequentially, after posting quarter-on-quarter revenue contraction for five quarters in a row,” Yang said in a note to clients before the investor meeting.
“However, we estimate that Acer’s operating margin in the second quarter of 2013 will not see any meaningful recovery due to weakening global PC demand and more low-priced tablet PC shipments in the mix,” he wrote.
Barclays forecast that Acer’s sales revenue will grow 4.8 percent for the whole of 2013, with its operating margin improved to 0.8 percent. It maintained an “equal-weight” rating and a target price of NT$24 on the stock.
Acer shares closed up 2.26 percent at NT$24.85 before the announcement of the quarterly results.
August 8, 2013: Acer aiming to break even in Q3
Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Thursday it expects to break even or record a small operating loss in the third quarter of 2013, despite its disappointing results in the previous quarter.
The company’s mobile PC shipments — including notebooks, netbooks and tablets — are forecast to grow by 0-5 percent sequentially in the third quarter, Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told investors in a conference call.
However, Acer has lowered its annual tablet shipment target to between 5.5 million and 6.5 million units, from its projection in May of 5 million to 10 million units, Wong said.
He said touch-enabled notebooks will account for 20-25 percent of Acer’s total laptop shipments this year, below its previous estimate of 30 percent, in light of weakening demand for such products.
“I think applications are most important. Today, there are still no killer applications for touch (notebooks),” Wong said in the conference call.
Asked about Acer’s full-year outlook, he said the company is trying to “sustain its market share while protecting its bottom line.”
The company is aiming to stay profitable in 2013 after registering losses over the past two years, Wong indicated.
J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company is expanding its non-Windows business, including Android-based tablets and smartphones, as well as the web-centric Chromebook laptops promoted by Google Inc.
Non-Windows business is expected to make up 10-12 percent of Acer’s revenue this year and 20-30 percent next year, Wang said.
Acer reported an operating loss of NT$613 million (US$20.47 million) for the second quarter – following six consecutive quarters of operating profit — because of increasing investment and the rising cost of memory chips.
For the first six months of 2013, the Taiwanese PC maker’s consolidated revenue fell 18.9 percent year-on-year to NT$181.35 billion, resulting in an operating loss of NT$585 million and earnings per share of NT$0.06.
British bank Barclays Plc maintained its “equal-weight” rating on Acer shares and cut its earnings per share estimates by 5.4 percent for 2013, and by 5.3 percent for 2014, forecasting a contraction in Acer’s sales and more competition pressure.
“We expect Acer’s sales to continue to be weak and do not expect any further momentum currently,” Kirk Yang, head of Asia ex-Japan Tech Hardware Research at Barclays, said in a research note dated Aug. 6.
“We expect Acer will face a more competitive situation in the tablet and notebook segments in the near term and we don’t see it having an obvious plan in place to react,” said Yang, who reduced his price target on the stock from NT$24 to NT$23.
Acer shares ended 3.97 percent lower at NT$20.55 Thursday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
August 30, 2013: Talk of the Day — Will Acer be sold or merged?
Acer Inc., Taiwan’s leading computer vendor, has seen its share price plunge to historically low levels in recent months.
Market sources said earlier this week that investment banks are planning to broker a merger between Acer and one of two major rivals — Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer or China’s Lenovo Group.
Acer founder Stan Shih said Thursday that he had an open mind toward such an overture.
“I would let nature take its course,” Shih said, but he added that no investment bankers have approached him for such talks.
In charting the company’s future development strategy or direction, Shih said, the rights and interests of all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and society at large, should be priority concerns.
Shih has retired and is no longer involved in Acer’s management, but he remains the company’s largest shareholder, controlling 2.64 percent of its shares. His wife has a similar sized stake in the company.
Shares of Acer gained 2.57 percent to close at NT$19.95 Friday.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of Shih’s views on Acer’s future:
Economic Daily News:
Acer spokesman Henry Wang said Thursday that the company has never thought about a merger with any other corporation.
“We are restructuring and streamlining our operations, and focusing more on innovating,” Wang said.
While the company is tapping into the ever-expanding tablet market to help compensate for declining PC sales, it has also launched a new generation of laptops and desktops, including an ultra-thin laptop-tablet hybrid, he said.
In the past, some foreign analysts have suggested that Taiwan’s two leading PC makers — Acer and AsusTek — should merge to expand their operating scale and enhance their international competitiveness.
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang also said previously that Lenovo, which has emerged as the world’s second largest PC vendor and has a comprehensive portfolio of products, proposed a few years ago to buy out Acer, but Wang said he politely rejected such an offer.
On Thursday, Stan Shih was asked to comment on reports that investment banks intend to mediate an Acer-AsusTek merger or an Acer-Lenovo merger.
Shih said Acer is not a company that can be evaluated solely in financial terms.
“Capitalists tend to assess things simply in monetary terms, but Acer has something invaluable,” Shih said.
As one of Taiwan’s few international brands, Shih said, Acer has come a long way and overcome numerous challenges in building up its brand recognition.
“I hope local people will give Acer more encouragement and support,” Shih said. (Aug. 30, 2013).
Shih said a company’s share price is not the sole indicator used to assess a company’s value.
“I have not been bothered by fluctuations in Acer’s share price,” Shih said Thursday when chairing an event marking the start of applications for this year’s Acer Digital Award.
But he added that the PC industry is changing rapidly.
“We should let nature take its course. If somebody wants to take over Acer at a price beyond what anybody could imagine and create an even better brand based on it, why we should resist such a deal,” he said. (Aug. 30, 2013).
May 11, 2013: Acer, Asustek upbeat about Windows 8 market reception
Taiwan-based Acer Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc., two of the world’s leading personal computer vendors, are optimistic about the market reception of Microsoft Corp.’s latest operating system Windows 8, which is to be revamped, market sources said Saturday.
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said Microsoft is eager to communicate with hardware device providers like Acer in an attempt to improve the Windows 8 functions and make the platform more user-friendly.
Amid lackluster market reception since the new Microsoft operating system was launched at the end of October 2012, the U.S.-based software giant said it is planning to revamp the OS so that consumers will learn how to use the new platform more quickly.
The plan to launch a new version of Windows 8 was announced after Tami Reller, Microsoft’s chief marketing and financial officer, conceded that it was not easy for consumers to get used to the platform.
Many business users have been urging Microsoft to restore the “Start” button in its latest OS. In the earlier Windows versions, the icon appears in the lower-left corner of the computer screen, but is not visible in the latest software.
To stir up buying interest, Microsoft has lowered its royalties by US$20-US$30 (NT$600-NT$1,000) on touch notebook computers 11.6 inches or smaller, while offering incentives to distributors of Windows 8 tablet computers.
Market sources said Microsoft is expected to cut its royalties on Windows 8 tablet computers so that they can be sold at around US$199-US$349 and thus make them more competitive in the market.
Wang said the changes in Microsoft’s strategy will have a positive effect on market reception of the Windows 8 OS and also on the future development of the PC industry.
Acer said that with touch devices becoming the mainstream in the PC market, it will continue to unveil tablets, touch ultrabook computers, and combination PCs and smartphones, all running either Windows 8 or Google’s Android operating system.
Meanwhile, Asustek said Windows 8 is a good product, although some consumers have not gotten used to it. Once Microsoft revamps the OS, sales of Windows 8 mobile devices will pick up, Asustek said.
June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang (left) holds the 8-inch Iconia W3,
and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Birkin holds the 5.7-inch Liquid S1.
Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. unveiled a series of new products Monday, including an 8-inch Windows tablet and a 5.7-inch phablet.
At an international press conference held under the theme of “Redefining Technology Through Touch,” Acer showcased a wide array of its latest products one day ahead of Asia’s largest computer trade show.
The 8-inch Iconia W3, one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets on the market, weighs 500 grams and is less than half an inch thick. With a battery life of eight hours, the device can beam out 720p video playback on a 1,280 x 800 display. It also comes with an optional full-size keyboard.
The company also displayed its first phone-tablet hybrid product, the Liquid S1, with the aim of gaining traction in the fast-growing hybrid market.
The new quad-core phablet features a 5.7-inch 720p display, weighs 195 grams and runs on Google’s Android 4.2 operating system.
Acer projected that the global phablet market will grow to about 10 million units in 2013, up from between 7 million and 8 million units last year.
June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines (update)
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said on the sidelines of the launch ceremony that touch technology applications have become all the rage, and this will continue in the future.
“It’s all about touch,” he said, adding that the launch of the new products is expected to meet consumer demand.
4. The road which lead to Acer downfall:
Acer press release:
March 31, 2011: Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci resigns – With immediate effect
Gianfranco Lanci is appointed President of Acer Inc., effective January 2005 … Current President, J.T. Wang, will step into the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as Stan Shih retires from Acer at the end of this year. The new positions are effective from 1 January 2005. Lanci’s designation marks Acer’s appreciation for his outstanding performance in the European market, including his management style and successful business model – which may now extend to the Acer group worldwide. …
Acer’s Lanci Takes Over CEO Role [IDG News Service, June 13, 2008] … Gianfranco Lanci, who came to Acer from Texas Instruments (TI) when Acer bought the TravelMate laptop PC business from TI in 1997, will add the CEO position to his current role as president of Acer.
The company’s laptop business has been a driving force in its double-digit growth over the past few years and helped catapult Acer into the number-three spot in the PC industry.
J.T. Wang, the current chairman of Acer, relinquished his CEO title at Acer but took on the title of Acer Group CEO on Friday, Acer said in a statement.
Wang took over as chairman at Acer from company founder Stan Shih several years ago, after Acer split itself into three distinct companies in order to separate its branded business from its contract manufacturing operations. Acer took over as the branded company, while Wistron took most of the PC-related contract manufacturing and BenQ took on mobile phone and PC-related work.
Shih retired from Acer in December 2004.
Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci has resigned from the company, with immediate effect. Acer Chairman J.T. Wang takes acting role in the interim. The company has commenced with the planning of organizational and operational adjustments for the sustainable future of Acer.
The resignation was approved at a meeting of Acer’s Board of Directors today, and the company has communicated internally with its worldwide employees.
On the company’s future development, Lanci held different views from a majority of the board members, and could not reach a consensus following several months’ of dialog. They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation.
The change does not affect current operations which are functioning as normal. Acer’s strong management team of multi-nationals has been well-informed and is committed to overseeing and implementing the company strategies, as does the amicable company relations with industry partners persist. Acer will continue to push for globalization, follow its multi-brand and channel business model, develop competitive products and services, and foster closer relations with key vendors and channel partners.
Acer Chairman, J.T. Wang expresses, “The personal computer remains the core of our business. We have built up a strong foundation and will continue to expand within, especially in the commercial PC segment. In addition, we are stepping into the new mobile device market, where we will invest cautiously and aim to become one of the leading players.”
“In this new ICT industry,” continued Wang, “Acer needs a period of time for adjustment. With the spirit of entrepreneurship, we will face new challenges and look to the future with confidence.”
In his role as President and CEO, Lanci has contributed significantly toward Acer’s growth. The company expresses its true appreciation for Lanci’s efforts and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.
April 19, 2011: Acer appoints Jim Wong as Corporate President – Through teamwork, company to face challenges and embrace opportunities of the new ICT industry
Acer Inc.’s board of directors has approved the candidacy of Jim Wong as the new Corporate President, with immediate effect. Wong previously held the positions of corporate senior vice president and president of IT Products Group (ITGO). Together with Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang, they will lead the company forward to embrace new challenges and