Acer should move strongly in the smartphone and tablet markets and also focus on enterprise PCs to retain its position as a powerful player on the world stage with Gianfranco Lanciís exit as president and CEO, according to industry analysts. Due to a conflict with the board over the best strategy to be used for the company like the importance of scale, growth, customer value creation and brand enhancement, Lanci resigned from Acer. Until Acer finds a permanent replacement, Acer Chairman J.T Wang has stepped in as interim CEO. A difference in opinion on how aggressively Acer should concentrate on consumer PCís, smart phones and tablet computers is indicated with Lanciís recent resignation.
With Apple introducing the iPad last year, Acers high selling netbook sales have been declining steadily. Wang has stated that though their core business is oriented around the personal computer, they are building a strong foundation in the commercial PC segment and stepping boldly into the new mobile device market too. Recently, Acer revealed that the revenue of the first quarter of fiscal 2011 would be below the expectations. Stan Shih, Acer founder has called forth certain changes in the company focus to bridge the revenue gap observed.
Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC states that Acer will face challenges if it clings too hard to its traditional PC business. According to Chou, consumer spending on PCs has slowed down with a decrease in the netbook business. Compared to rivals like Hewlett Packard and Dell, Acer has been slow in moving towards tablets and smartphones. PC makers have started rethinking their strategies with the growing popularity of the iPad and increasing interest in Googleís Android software. While Acer has started shipping tablets earlier this month, PC powerhouses like Dell, HP and Lenovo have started shipping tablets to complement their PC offerings.
Chou believes that Acer has to step up its enterprise focus and sell higher margin products like servers aggressively. Lanci had been advocating Acerís foray into the enterprise market, according to Chou. While the company failed to expand their sales of higher margin products, Acer acquired Gateway in 2007 to enhance its access to commercial channels. It would be hard to point out the point of disagreement between Lanci and the board, but it would probably have to be the way in which Acer should pursue non-PC markets, according to Stephen Baker, Vice President of industry analysis at NPD Techworld.
Baker believes that apparently there was a disagreement over the level of commitment to the PC business amidst the Acer board. Baker stated that Netbooks had been one of the biggest growth drivers for Acer and replacing that growth would be difficult. Baker adds that buyers are discarding netbooks for smartly priced laptops with full sized screens and tablets. The level of enterprise focus that Acer wishes to take as it diversifies is a big question. Wang has stated that Acer needs some time for adjustments and that they would face new challenges and look to the future with confidence.