Acer’s founder and former chairman, Stan Shih has made the fairly inflammatory comment than he firmly believes US-based PC makers could die out over the next twenty years.
According to the Inquirer, the former Acer chairman made the comments when discussing the current trend towards low-cost PCs, one that he feels north American PC manufacturers can’t hope to ignore. Indeed, Shih’s belief is that the demand for low-cost PCs will continue, and that anyone not serving that market will be left in a very difficult position indeed.
Acer itself has done very well to capitalise on the low-cost PC market, managing to push Dell down a spot in the global PC ranking for last year, and with many tipping it to become the world’s largest supplier of PC hardware by 2011, an enviable position indeed.
It’s particularly interesting to see this in the light of Michael Dell’s statements to the effect that we were seeing the death throes of the netbook market; netbooks are often seen as the quintessential low-cost PC. If Stan Shih is right, then it would seem as though the humble netbook could well continue to be an important part of the PC market.
Of course, how well devices like netbooks survive will all depend on whether or not “ultra-thin” PCs take off, something that Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer seems to believe is not only likely, but imminent. If Ballmer is right, then comparatively expensive ultra-thin notebooks could end up replacing the netbook, in which case, a victory for those who don’t believe in a future built on low-cost computing.
It seems as though it might be a bit early to count US-based PC manufacturers out for now.