Acer founder predicts end of U.S. PC makers

Acer became the world’s second-biggest PC maker in terms of units shipped last year, and apparently, it’s gotten pretty cocky about it. Agence France-Presse quotes the following statement from the Taiwanese firm’s founder, Stan Shih:

“The trend for low-priced computers will last for the coming years. . . But US computer makers just don’t know how to put such products on the market… US computer brands may disappear over the next 20 years, just like what happened to US television brands.”

To his credit, Dell lost a considerable amount of ground last year, falling from second to third place behind Acer in the third and fourth quarters (but remaining second for the whole of 2009).

However, HP still holds the lion’s share of the market by far—and last we checked, its headquarters were still in Palo Alto, California. HP’s global market share actually grew from 18.9% in 2008 to 20.3% in 2009, too, so it’s hardly falling behind like Dell. Current success may not necessarily translate into success 20 years from now, but Shih’s prediction is still a bold one.

Comments closed
    • Ashbringer
    • 10 years ago

    America made TVs? Like who, RCA?

    • mcnabney
    • 10 years ago

    This is how it used to be.

    A bright person has a great idea.
    He/she hires an engineering and design team to develop and ready the product.
    Component and raw material providers are identified and contracts signed.
    A manufacturing facility was built, people were trained, and the owner became involved in the community that supports the product.
    Products are made and sold.
    Improvements are made to the product and the years go by.
    The community comes to depend on and identify itself with the brand.
    The owners and managers get rich. The workers are paid well and gain security and confidence.

    This is how it is now.

    Someone has a bright idea.
    They contact a Chinese OEM who does everything.
    The owner makes more money and doesn’t need to worry about running the actual business.

    Which pattern is best for the country?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      It also used to be that people could express thoughts in a more complex form than single sentences. I’m not picking i[

    • xtremevarun
    • 10 years ago

    if computers cud be made in the USA, then a whole lotta industries get benefited like plastics, packaging, shipping, semiconductors etc.

    the overall effect of making computers on the economy would be HUGE.

    Even if companies in the US make a whole lotta money out of manufacturing their goods some place else, the economy wud benefit in general if they are made here.

    and if they could be made cheaper too, they could be exported outside the country. Brand USA is pretty big in the outside world.

    Not to mention, this would enable the USA to become much stronger against a now definite economic competitor China.

    • btb
    • 10 years ago

    Acer makes alot of cheaply priced products with good specs(on paper at least). But their build quality is sub-standard, ditto with their pretty much non-existant driver support. I made the mistake of buying one of their mainstream line PCs for a guy at our office, since it seemed to have nice specs and since he was a sales guy he just needed something small and basic and the acer was cheap and should in theory fit the bill nicely. Biiig mistake. Sounds like a dustbuster everytime he does anything that even remotely puts the computer to work. I tried fiddling around with the BIOS to see if there was some speedstep thing that needed to be enabled, but nothing helped.

    I dont know if acers business lines of PCs are any better, but I’m not going to gamble any more $$ finding out.

    The only problem is they seem to have huuge market share, at least here in Denmark, so its kinda hard to avoid their products.

      • burntham77
      • 10 years ago

      I bought a 19 inch Acer LCD a few years ago. I still use it as a second monitor, but it is a piece of crap. The “auto-align” feature that is supposed to line up the desktop image to the edges of the screen does not fully work, build quality feels poor, and the screen colors are awful. What a mistake.

    • Mystic-G
    • 10 years ago

    I’d rather see the likes of CyberPowerPC and IBuyPower make their way to the mainstream, although that won’t happen unless both go for a huge marketing campaign showing off pre-built systems compared to the competition.

      • potatochobit
      • 10 years ago

      those companies use a build to order model
      they give you the latest parts you want in the configuration you want

      now, if you ask them to purchase mass quantities of parts
      those parts will be outdated in a few months
      you are no longer cutting edge
      prices have dropped considerably
      they still have to sell them though
      and now you have lost your main consumer group clientele
      so what do you do?

      you purchase middle ground products where prices will not vary as much
      you offer them in configurations that appeal to the mass market
      while being able to keep costs down
      now you come up with a new name, maybe Dell Gates Inc.

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    My girlfriend recently got a survey from school and it went sort of like this

    what laptop brand do you own?
    Apple Macbook pro

    What brand PC do you own?
    HP

    Have you heard of Acer?
    no

    do you plan to buy a new computer in the next year.
    yes

    would you like more information about acer?
    no

    later on she asked me if acer was any good I told her it is a decent product if you are on a low budget; they sell the laptops at low prices at Walmart.

    • Code:[M]ayhem
    • 10 years ago

    To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t shed a tear if Dell fell off the planet.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 10 years ago

    20 years in computing is a geological era!!!
    I bet nobody will be using Acer computers by that year…. 😛

    • Sahrin
    • 10 years ago

    American internet user predicts boastful and inaccurate comments from Taiwanese Computer Manufacturer’s CEOs.

    • Auril4
    • 10 years ago

    I remember the CEO of AMD making grand predictions of increases in AMD’s market share a few years back. Then the Intel Core 2 Duo came out and ended that prediction pretty quick.
    An exucutive at Toyota did something similar last year. You would think that leaders of companies like these, especially computer technology companies, would be smarter than that. In an industry like that, it seems it’s impossible to make a prediction one year out.

      • Suspenders
      • 10 years ago

      “ATI doesn’t matter”, and “Can of whoop-ass” are my personal favourites.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    wait, there are US PC makers? really? wasn’t everything transferred over to china and india so these companies don’t have to pay the heavy cost of minimum wages?

    • thermistor
    • 10 years ago

    #7…some of the New Balance lineup are USA made. Check them out.

    Practically every other developing nation on earth would be screwed if we enacted domestic content laws; all it would take is a stroke of a pen.

    The construct of a ‘market’ in terms of the ‘free market’ is just a piece of imaginative fiction based on orthodoxy and dogma, that the greedy toss around to screw their fellow countrymen.

      • anotherengineer
      • 10 years ago

      cool, I will have to look into those shoes

      Edit : And I predict the human race will go extinct before our Sun does lol

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      That same “stroke of a pen” would do us in just as hard. Imagine 80-90% of your consumer goods doubling or tripling in price within weeks, and yet your wages do not increase.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      The best shoes in the world, well, for me at least. They are the only shoes that have wide as scale. They are great for people with flat feet and their prices are always reasonable. USA! USA! USA!

        • paulWTAMU
        • 10 years ago

        I’m in the same boat; nothing fits as well as New Balance, so they’re what I wear pretty much exclusively. Not cheap but they last years and fit great.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    The trouble is that so many American manufacturers half-ass things. They’re almost all out to sell you a cheaply built computer with a $300 CPU in it, that drives the price up to an absurd level, with no practical benefit to the average person (or possibly even anyone, considering some of the ridiculous configurations they come up with.)

    Acers tend to use more appropriate and reasonably priced primary components, even if they’re still cheaply made. It’s no wonder they’re gaining ground while Dell are losing.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      Um, sounds familiar… Oh yea, Apple.

      Anyway, Acer makes great monitors that lasts forever and are cheap as hell, so what am I to do? Buy Acer all the way!

      Like you say, I have given up on American quality… It is sad actually. I refuse to buy an American car for that same reason. There is just no pride in the mass production. The only real quality is in small, family run operations. So, it is mostly online shopping for me.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        There’s a lot of parallels with another high tech (for its time) industry – audio. In the 60s asian brands had some decent stuff but were mostly lower quality lower priced pieces with some non-Asian companies manufacturing in Asia. The 70s saw a big shift in manufacturing to Asia and Japan in particular alongside the rise of solid state audio. The difference is that the Japanese were innovating on their own, doing original R&D and coming up with really groundbreaking stuff. The Chinese have yet to do that. What they’ve got is the cheap manufacturing advantage but sadly it doesn’t just mean less expensive but just as good products but often products that are just cheap all around. There was a quote in a recent article about the Chinese Cadmium-laced jewelry bits – ‘Chinese manufacturing is unique in that as time goes on quality often goes down rather than up.’ This extends to all areas but an obvious computer one is bad caps from the early 2000s.

        In audio the only really American firms are small boutique ones, of course higher-end audio itself is botique now but one can see the parallel there with computers now. Even the small firms have to buy parts from around the world though. I see high-end computing going the same way as high-end audio did in the late 80s. One difference in the two industries is there is a lot more IP with computers where unlike analog circuits there aren’t many ways to do the same thing well plus companies patent everything and anything and aren’t as much in to licensing unless that’s their main business model.

        So American companies may just be like Intel, AMD, Apple, etc where they have at least some manufacturing overseas but do a lot of design and engineering and IP creation in the US. The problem is this won’t work as well for Dell and HP who like to allow PC configuration – ordering a PC that comes on the slow boat from China won’t work for most people. They’d have to go back to having multiple preconfigured models like Acer does, now that’s one area where not building it in the USA has a disadvantage.

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 10 years ago

          Yea, good comment. I see America as the land of Service People. The hot jobs now are people to service things. It is not just the tech stuff, but it is just about everything. America is a country full of “I” people.

          I remember those days when engineers were getting frustrated with companies in the ideas they had, but were long term goals and they were ousted cuz companies were looking for the quick buck. So, off they went to Japan or Germany. Now, we are paying the price.

          The only really good stuff that we have is military equipment that we can’t even get our hands on! It is ironic of sorts.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          The high end may go “boutique,” but high end PCs in general are going the way of the dinosaur. PCs are becoming a household appliance you pick up at Wal-Mart.

          If I had to guess, I’d say the long term future of PCs is similar to what’s happening with the auto industry. Manufacturing will move stateside and become automated once increased cost of labor and larger scale demand justify it.

            • adam1378
            • 10 years ago

            Sooner or later the cost of manufacturing will equal out to what it cost China to make and ship to the US. With Unions becoming redundant and people here just needing work, North America can be relevant in manufacturing again. I say within ten years.

        • TO11MTM
        • 10 years ago

        My Saturn was assembled with pride, I’m pretty sure.

        It was just sold to me by a sleezeball.

        P.S. If you still think American Manufacturing car manufacturing is still worse than overseas… you’re wrong.

      • tcunning1
      • 10 years ago

      I have a feeling he may have a point. US “manufacturers” like Dell and HP and even Apple rarely make any of their own products anymore; all of the work is outsourced to firms like Foxconn, Quanta, and Compal in Taiwan/China. Increasingly, they aren’t designing them either (except for the color scheme maybe), and these OEMs/ODMs are basically doing it all–so why do they need the American overlords? Build quality on many of these products (i.e. Apple) is very good while it is terrible for others (Dell). This proves they are capable of making excellent products when the American companies (Dell!) don’t force them to make things as cheaply and poorly as can be. The OEMs can eliminate the middleman, as Acer and Asus have, and just sell their products, good or bad, directly to the US consumer.

        • rUmX
        • 10 years ago

        l[

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      I rented a Pontiac G6 (V6, auto) a few years ago and was really impressed. I haven’t been in a car that I liked significantly more, and I’ve owned a 2003 Toyota and 2003 Subaru, plus rented a 2008 Golf, a 2009 Kia and some 2003-ish Chrysler (which was crap). Made me sad to see GM file for bankruptcy.

    • xtremevarun
    • 10 years ago

    totally unrelated but why are most of the goods except foodstuffs in Walmart made in China ? I’d really really wish to see some made in USA goods too. Only thing I’ve seen so far Made in the US are Rubbermaid containers.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 10 years ago

      Because labor is cheaper in China than it is here. Did you not know this?

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        I’m sure he knows that. Don’t be so uppity.

        There are undoubtedly all sorts of things made in the US for similar prices, and for anyone else, it would make sense to offer those.

        But Wal-Mart is a gross exception to what makes sense. You have to consider the enormous scale of business Wal-Mart has, and the only thing in the retail world that may surpass it is the extent of their greed.

        If they can get something 1 cent cheaper per item, it’s probably justifiable to them. Every single last corner is going to be cut, and I’m sure they have an army of Chinese manufactureres lined up in a bidding war for their business.

        • anotherengineer
        • 10 years ago

        Well more than that, China does Not let their currency float like the rest of the world, they fix it artificially low, then the electricity is dirt cheap, and compared to North America their pollution control laws are slim to none, etc etc.

        Companies can be very profitable here in N.A. but even more profitable in China, and when your a CEO of a company who stands to make a 15 million bonus for extra profit made overseas, screw your fellow countrymen and ship the work overseas.

        Another problem in North America is the CEO’s raking in millions, doesnt help the bottom line either.

        I try to buy and go out of my way to buy North American, and the other G7 countries (Germany, Japan, etc) origin materials whenever I can, but it is getting increasingly difficult, try to find running shoes made here!!!

        And #3 Rubbermaid FTW

          • elty
          • 10 years ago

          It doesn’t matter if China “fix” their currency or not. Even if China has all the same standard as USA, you will won’t see stuff made in USA in Walmart (or most other stores). Instead they will be made in Vietnam, India, Indonesia and whatever that is cheapest.

          Who care about 10000 local jobs when you can rake in 10 million a year which is enough for you to live for eternity?

          • bdwilcox
          • 10 years ago

          Then there’s the whole slave labor pool (laogai) that makes competition a little difficult.

          • blastdoor
          • 10 years ago

          Yup, it’s mostly the currency issue. But also that the Chinese have been very keen on buying American assets (mostly government bonds) due to the perceived safety of those assets. But I think these days it really is mostly currency manipulation. The trade imbalance between China and the US would be much smaller if it weren’t for that, regardless of all the labor and environmental issues.

          • Voldenuit
          • 10 years ago

          Cough. You mean the US Dollar, which is artificially propped up by OPEC, the World Bank, and which has no physical backing, is ‘freely traded’?

          If that were true, the US wouldn’t have been in such a tizzy that Iraq was selling oil in Euros.

          And let’s not forget that the US is one of the worst countries at honouring their own free trade deals with other nations.

          This is the pot calling the kettle black here.

            • anotherengineer
            • 10 years ago

            True enough, I know living here in Canada, the US likes NAFTA only when its in their favour.

            Our wood industry got decimated by their duties, tariffs and whining.

            But I guess when your a big gorilla you can do what you want.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 10 years ago

            l[

      • NeronetFi
      • 10 years ago

      Dont forget about he Car mfgs that are starting to have cars built in Mexico. While they close down plants in America.

      What a wonderful country where the businesses are the reason for the economic crysis.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        Eh, starting to? American companies have had their cars built in Mexico for ages, to my knowledge.

        But Japanese companies are moving manufacturing INTO the US.

        If American companies want to kill their business like that, it’s their choice. I’m hesitant to say it’s killing the economy, because we can clearly do without them. They’ve become dead leaves that are being pruned to avoid taking everything else down with them.

        They’re only a problem if we let them become one, which is what was happening when the government kept throwing money at them to keep them afloat.

          • designerfx
          • 10 years ago

          dead on. the last time a car was 100% US made was never. Likewise the last time a japanese car was 100% japanese made was also never.

          When anyone looks at a domestic market, they fail to understand that most markets today are global.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 10 years ago

            I guess if you ignore all car manufactures from the 80s and before.

          • marvelous
          • 10 years ago

          Hyundai has manufacturing plant in Georgia.

      • potatochobit
      • 10 years ago

      production is done overseas but most of the electronics, patents and software have royalties and fees paid to the US
      even if you buy parts from taiwan or china a portion of the money comes back
      pretty much every PC part you own is actually developed in the USA but it was built in country with super low labor costs
      we are not losing any profit from the computer industry

      • TO11MTM
      • 10 years ago

      I’d suggest you research the matter and find out why for yourself; it’s actually a pretty sickening piece of Wal-mart’s history… not only because it’s a Fleecing of America but it would also have the store’s founder spinning in his grave.

      Essentially, my understanding is that Wal-Mart expects costs of products to DROP a certain percentage per year (I’m assuming inflation adjusted,) and if you can’t deliver they will find someone who will. This tactic is part of why Wal-Mart was a factor in Vlasic’s bankruptcy, and the movement of a lot of Levi’s production out of the US. There are many other similar incidents that may have ‘looked’ good for consumers in the short run but probably hurt our Economy.

      This is amusing when you consider that Sam Walton PUSHED for Made in USA products, and sad at the same time…

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        They sided with their overseas TV suppliers in a price dumping lawsuit brought by one of the last (well, I think they’re out of business now) US TV manufacturers. For anyone who doesn’t know what price dumping is, look it up, it’s illegal in every trade agreement.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      Capitalism, materialism and profits! This is exactly how its supposed to work.

    • khands
    • 10 years ago

    Asian tech companies are cocky, news at 9.

      • phileasfogg
      • 10 years ago

      the plural of the word company is “companies”, not company’s. TR should disquailify you from posting here for 6 months until you learn to spell correctly.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        Fixed, and I was going to tell you why I have exemption, but it’s a long story and I’m tired.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 10 years ago

        And you should learn the difference between spelling and grammar.

      • YeuEmMaiMai
      • 10 years ago

      Nothing to see here as it has ALWAYS been that way…..

      Asia has some seriously cool stuff and if American companies would pick up on it, they would make a killing………

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    He better be careful, comments like that usually come back to bite them on the ass!

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