Siemens Nixdorf faced the realities of being a German supplier in a global market and bailed out of PC manufacturing this week, selling its facilities to Taiwanese company Acer.
The move by the German company follows in the footsteps of Olivetti, Bull and ICL in moving out of the low margin PC business and also conforms to the model adopted by other PC companies such as Toshiba and Compaq, which outsource some manufacturing processes.
"The planned co-operation will enable Siemens Nixdorf to deliver state of the art technology across the whole PC spectrum at competitive world market prices," said Siemens Nixdorf chief executive Gerhard Schulmeyer, who is being moved across to run parent company Siemens US operation.
Howard Seabrook, research director at the Gartner Group, described it as a smart move and a demonstration that the PC industry was becoming one of global players.
"It is a very clever move - Siemens Nixdorf will keep control of designing and the specifications but turn manufacturing over to a company that can draw upon worldwide logistics," he said.
The deal means Acer will take over the Augsburg manufacturing facility for an undisclosed price and produce Siemens Nixdorf branded PCs as well as its own. It gives Siemens Nixdorf access to a global supplier for the US and Asian markets where it had limited access previously.
Acer also gains access to a new market because, although ninth in the list of PC manufacturers with total worldwide unit sales of eight million, it has a very small market share in continental Europe.
It is also possible that Siemens Nixdorf will use Acer to supply some components, such as motherboards, for its Epos and ATM terminals that it will continue to manufacture inhouse.
Announced at the same time is the plan to merge the remainder of the Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems with Siemens two telecomms divisions. This will create three divisions - services, networks and products.
The company said it wants to benefit from the convergence between telecomms and IT by having an integrated set of products and services across both markets.
No details of job cuts or specific future offerings have been finalised but a spokesperson said it was a very large reorganisation that would take five months to finalise.
Meanwhile, Siemens Nixdorf is expected to announce on Monday its future Unix strategy. It is likely to sign up with either Digital, SCO or Sun to take one of their 64-bit versions of Unix to offer to its existing customer base.
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