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Ultrabook needs greater push from PC brands: Acer

2012/04/26 21:43:21

Taipei, April 26 (CNA) Taiwan's Acer Inc. said Thursday its lineup of thin and light laptops, dubbed "Ultrabooks," has failed to gain traction among consumers so far, as the new computer category needs more promotion by leading vendors.

Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang said that only a few brand companies have been aggressively pushing Ultrabook shipments at present, with Acer and Asustek Computer Inc. considered the two most aggressive players.

Moreover, marketing efforts of the whole PC industry have been inadequate to drive the popularity of Ultrabooks, delaying the buying of the products by one or two quarters, he said.

"It's a new product that needs a specific promotion wave to really convince consumers," Wang said at an investor conference.

Although Acer has reduced its Ultrabook prices to as low as US$799 in selected regions, the price remained too high for consumers compared with a price tag of US$400 to US$500 for mainstream notebooks, Wang said.

From the second half of this year, there will be more new notebooks in the market running on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 operating system, with 70 to 80 percent of them falling into the Ultrabook category, he predicted.

Meanwhile, Acer President Jim Wong said the company's Ultrabook shipments were slightly over 200,000 units in the January-to-March quarter, a level similar to those shipped in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Taiwanese vendor plans to more than double its Ultrabook shipments in the second quarter from the first quarter, which will take 5 to 10 percent of Acer's total notebook shipments thanks to four new models launched during the period, he said.

Wong projected that Ultrabooks will account for 12 to 20 percent of Acer's total notebook shipments by the end of this year, which will be lower than the 25 to 35 percent that the company forecast earlier because of the delayed buying.

For Acer's second-quarter revenue forecast, Wong expected the numbers to be "slightly better" than the NT$113 billion (US$3.86 billion) in the first quarter due to the improvement of hard disk drive supply, with its operating margin improving from 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

(By Jeffrey Wu)