Acer has lowered its second quarter sales forecast by 10% instead of expecting figures to remain consistent with the January to March period, when it shipped 10.9 million computers. The first quarter of 2011 was rough too, marking a 12% drop from the same period in 2010. The company blamed various factors for today's update, including recent internal restructuring, inventory adjustments, and the seasonally slow second quarter. The system builder's stock price has dropped 46% since the fourth quarter of last year and plans to address investors' concerns on April 28.
Interestingly, there was no mention of the so called "tablet effect." Analyst firms including IDC and Gartner are convinced that tablets have been cutting into industry-wide PC sales, which declined 3.2% on-year in the first quarter of 2011. Acer in specific witnessed a 15.8% drop in global sales, while US shipments fell 42.1%. That's a far greater decline than IDC and Gartner recorded for any other vendor, and it's probably no coincidence that Acer focuses on affordable laptops in the same price bracket as tablets. By comparison, Dell had the second worst growth, falling "only" 11.8% on-year.
In addition to updating its sales estimates, Acer has announced that it will split its operations into two distinct entities as part of its renewed focus on mobile devices. Called the Touch and Business Group, Acer's mobile arm will be headed by newly-appointed corporate president Jim Wong. Meanwhile, Campbell Kan, former vice president of Acer's smart handled business unit, will lead the remaining PC-oriented part of today's separation called the PC Global Operations. Wong and Kan will report to interim CEO J.T. Wang, who is serving as a temporary replacement for Gianfranco Lanci.
Lanci resigned on March 31 after disagreeing with Acer's board about the company's future development -- namely, the tablet and smartphone segments. Upon Lanci's departure, Wang said the company would be stepping into and cautiously investing in the new mobile device market. Wong echoed these thoughts in a statement today saying "touch/mobile devices open up a host of new opportunities," and that they "form Acer's new business and growth engine for the future." Some analysts don't share that enthusiasm about Acer's future, suggesting it may be prime for acquisition.
When Lanci departed, TBR was quick to suggest that it would spell Acer's demise. "TBR believes Lanci's resignation positions Acer as a key acquisition target," analyst Cassandra Mooshian wrote last month. "We believe there is significant opportunity for Lenovo if it were to acquire Acer, as the companies are complementary to each other. Lenovo is a key player in the Chinese market for enterprise PCs and would gain a consumer play on a global basis, as Acer's consumer strategy is particularly strong in China and EMEA." Care to make a prediction? Will Acer sink or swim?