Signs of contraction in the worldwide notebook market took definite shape today as Far East manufacturer Acer snapped up Texas Instruments' PC unit, including its sales and marketing staff.
The sale was announced yesterday together with year-end figures, which saw TI plunging into losses.
The PC unit, concentrating on personal productivity products, lost money and senior executives at TI have been ready to sell anything that they consider detracts from their core businesses. Last week the company said it would no longer make or sell 486 clone chips.
TI spent millions of marketing and advertising dollars last year building its brand in the market and has made an impact, said Neil Marshall, European channel marketing manager at the company.
He claimed the move was good on the notebook front. He said: ?This turns TI as a brand into a true global player. The TI brand will continue. They [Acer] will buy the brand and the bulk of sales and marketing staff. From Acer?s point of view, we have a pretty strong channel strategy.? The losses TI made forced the sell-off, according to a source at the company.
Peter Bragg, UK marketing manager for the Thinkpad range at IBM, said: ?Given where our market is, we?re not in the same market as TI or Acer.? He said IBM had experimented with using third party manufacturers to produce notebooks but had pulled that back in to its own factories. The market has polarised, he agreed. Now companies like IBM and Toshiba are ahead of the rest of the pack, including Compaq, he claimed.
TI lost $29 million in its fourth quarter, which senior executives blamed on low memory chip prices and other charges at the company. In the year, it turned over $9.94 billion compared to $11.4 billion the year before. Profits fell by 94 per cent from the year before. Senior executives said the position was turning round following the divestments.
At the same time, it appears that Acer, one of the biggest suppliers of OEM systems to PC vendors in the world, will take over manufacturing plants in the US. Taiwanese company Acer, subsidised by China ROC, already makes machines for vendors including IBM, Compaq and a raft of other PC manufacturers.
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