As long-time PC powerhouses Dell and Hewlett-Packard continue to struggle during a global economy that has struggled for several quarters, Acer has quietly led the charge up to the No. 3 spot as a global PC maker.
Acer has most notably put a strong reliance on netbooks, a move that has clearly paid off for the PC maker from Taipei. The company's market share grew 3 percent up to 10.9 percent overall in 2008, with Dell gaining only 0.1 percent up to 15 percent, IDC research numbers indicate. During Q1 2009, however, Acer grew up to 11.6 percent of the market, with Dell claiming just 13.6 percent.
Acer plans to continue marketing products in both the U.S. and Chinese markets, which are the two most coveted markets for PC makers. China has numerous restrictions and demands it forces upon PC makers, but the ability to try and get a stake in a country with more than 300 million Internet users is worth all of the trouble.
HP and Dell, however, have much more money available for research and development, leading HP to criticize Acer and its possible inability to continue to develop ground-breaking products.
"I think Acer is just one more competitor that doesn't focus on anything other than public relations to win in the marketplace," HP executive Todd Bradley recently said in an interview with the New York Times.
Perhaps Acer may be using strong public relations to win over consumers, but HP's revenue from its PC business unit has dropped almost 40 percent over the past two quarters. Dell has seen its PC business falter 30 percent over the past two quarters, with Acer losing just seven and eight percent.
In 2008, Acer had 6,000 global employees and saw its revenue reach $16.6 billion for tye year, with a profit of $358 million. The company must attempt to release products that consumers want while also making more of a profit on each unit sold, though it continues to climb the sales charts at the expense of HP and Dell.
quote: "Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer