TAIPEI—For the first time in more than 10 years, personal-computer maker Acer Inc. this year did something outside its comfort zone: It designed a laptop entirely in-house.
While that might seem like no big deal, the practice is rare in the PC industry. Over the past decade, nearly every major PC maker has outsourced product development to a collection of little-known Taiwan companies. More than 90% of the world's laptops pass through the contractors in some way.
But industry executives say the formula has stopped working.
2011年04月22日 12:40 PMLex：宏碁路在何方？Lex_Acer: off the pacer英國《金融時報》 Lex專欄
It's never pretty when a company goes through an existential crisis. Shares in Acer, the world's third-largest maker of personal computers, have lost close to half their value this year, as management has dithered between chasing scale or profitability in the face of weak demand. Last week's downgrade to second-quarter shipment forecasts – a mere two weeks after the new executive team hinted at an upgrade – suggests that the company still lacks a sense of direction.
一家公司在生死攸關之際，看上去都不會太美。全球第三大個人電腦製造商宏碁(Acer)的股價今年幾乎下跌了一半。面對疲弱需求，該公司管理層在追逐規模還是保持盈利性之間猶豫不決。上周宏碁下調二季度銷量預期——就在兩週前新的管理團隊還暗示會上調預期——表明該公司仍缺乏方向感。Removing chief executive Gianfranco Lanci, an aficionado for growth, was supposed to provide a fresh start. Yet the installation of less aggressive chairman JT Wang as interim chief, effective April 1, may not improve much beyond the management of inventories. Acer's immediate problem is that demand is still soft in Europe, by far its biggest market, accounting for just over half of revenues. The more fundamental problem is that the core notebook and netbook business – almost three-quarters of sales – is being cannibalised by tablets.
宏碁撤掉迷戀增長的首席執行官蔣凡可•蘭奇(Gianfranco Lanci)，本有望讓公司重振旗鼓。然而讓不那麼激進的董事長王振堂(JT Wang)擔任臨時首席執行官（今年4月1日生效），除了存貨管理以外，可能不會讓公司有太大起色。宏碁迫在眉睫的問題是，在迄今仍是其最大市場的歐洲，需求仍然疲弱——歐洲僅僅為其貢獻了一多半的收入。更根本的問題是，該公司核心的筆記本電腦和上網本業務（幾乎占到銷售的四分之三），正在被平板電腦蠶食。The bull case for Acer says that tablets are an expensive fad, and that demand for productivity-enhancing machines with old-fashioned data creation capability will come roaring back. The bear case, however, is that consumers are quite happy with the limitations of their dumb-but-pretty gizmos. What is discouraging for Acer investors is that not even management buys the bull case. Having toyed with tablet/PC hybrids with optional docking keyboards, it is now pushing the iPad-like Iconia A500, with onscreen keyboard. Last week the company unveiled a new organisational structure, declaring tablet and smartphone devices the “new … growth engine for the future.”
看好宏碁的理由是，平板電腦是一個昂貴的時尚產品，而對具有老式的數據創造能力、可以提高生產率的計算機的需求，肯定還會捲土重來。然而，不看好宏碁的理由是，消費者根本不在乎那些功能不多但漂亮時尚的小玩意的局限性。令宏碁投資者氣餒的是，甚至連公司管理層都不認可看好宏碁的理由。一直考慮推出可選擇外接鍵盤的平板/個人電腦綜合體的宏碁，目前正在推出與iPad類似、帶有屏幕鍵盤的Iconia A500。上週，宏碁披露了新的組織架構，宣布平板電腦和智能手機設備是“未來新的……增長引擎”。Perhaps they will be. For now, though, the market seems about right to accord Acer a price/sales ratio little better than at the last trough, just over two years ago.