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DisplaySearch Says Acer Struggling After Deals

Austin, Texas — Acer appears to be struggling following its acquisition of Gateway and Packard Bell, according to DisplaySearch’s latest Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report.

Though the manufacturer was able to maintain its position as the third-largest supplier of notebooks worldwide, its declining share in the North America and EMEA has DisplaySearch’s analysts sensing trouble.

“The data calls into question Acer’s acquisition of both Gateway/eMachines and Packard Bell. While the move immediately prevented competitors from getting more of a foothold in the rapidly growing U.S. and European retail notebook PC sectors, the last few quarters’ results clearly show that Acer is struggling to integrate the Gateway and Packard Bell brands into their portfolio. Both Gateway and Packard Bell were losing notebook PC market share prior to the acquisition. But the acquisition has failed to reverse or event halt that trend,” said John Jacobs, notebook market research director and author of the report.

While Acer may be experiencing some bumps in the road, the same does appear to be true for Hewlett-Packard. According to DisplaySearch, the second quarter of 2008 marked two full years in which HP had been able to maintain its position as the world’s leading supplier of notebook PCs. Dell remained No. 2.

The firm attributed HP’s success in the category to the amount of growth in the consumer notebook arena that has taken place over the past few years.

DisplaySearch indicated Dell traditionally had trouble penetrating the consumer notebook market. However, the firm pointed to Dell’s consistent quarter-on-quarter growth over the last three quarters, which it is crediting as a possible success of the company’s recent measures to increase focus on the consumer notebook segment. The firm also noted that Dell’s overall growth is not consistent in all markets, particularly in its “home region” North America where its market share is well below its 2006 levels.

Despite lower numbers in North America, Dell did manage to keep its place spot as the leading notebook market share holder in the region, though it was ahead of No. 2 HP by merely half of a percentage point.

Acer, Apple and Toshiba respectively rounded out the top-five market share holders in the region.

DisplaySearch said that portable notebooks measuring between 13.3 inches and 16 inches had the strongest growth in the second quarter, with 88.5 percent market share. Desktop replacement notebooks measuring 17 inches and larger fell to 7.5 percent of the market after having been close to 10 percent in the same period in 2007.

The “ultraportable” category, with display sizes ranging from 10.4 inches to 12.1 inches, saw its market share shrink to 4 percent. DisplaySearch said the decline was likely the result of the numerous introductions of “Mini-Note PCs” such as Dell’s Mini 9, that were introduced by “almost all of the leading PC brands in the quarter.” The firm described this category as computers that are slightly smaller than ultraportables with substantially lower average selling prices.

Table 1:North AmericanNBPC Market Share