For a good, long while now, Asus has been top dog in the motherboard market. The company may now be in danger of losing that position, though. DigiTimes reports that Gigabyte's motherboard shipments for the first two months of 2010 may have reached parity with Asus' shipments.
According to "market watchers" quoted in the story, Asus shipped 3.2 to 3.3 million motherboard in January and February, while Gigabyte churned out somewhere between 3.1 and 3.3 million boards. Gigabyte might still be a little behind, in other words, but there's plenty of overlap between the two shipment ranges. Officially, Asus says it expects to ship five million boards in the first quarter.
DigiTimes goes on to say Asus "is expected" to slash prices in order to regain (or retain) its lead—a move that could precipitate a price war in the motherboard market. The company may also "reshuffle staff" in its mobo business for good measure.
The story doesn't delve into the reasons for Gigabyte's growth, but we can probably make an educated guess. Gigabyte has been undercutting Asus on the pricing front for many months now, providing a little bit of extra functionality at a slightly lower price. This trend has gotten so pronounced that, in our latest system guide, we ended up siding with Gigabyte exclusively in order to keep our full system prices down.