updated 10:25 pm EST, Wed February 16, 2011
Acer exec says iPad hurt to netbooks just a phase
Acer chairman JT Wang attacked the iPad again today in commentary that reflected the fallout from earlier denials. He acknowledged that the iPad damaged Acer portable sales in the past three to five months but insisted that it was simply a question of buyers waiting for the next wave of tablets to decide whether or not to buy. Netbook and notebook sales would bounce back between March and April once they could make a decision, Wang said.
In spite of the emphasis on notebooks, the executive was optimistic that Acer alone would have 15 to 20 percent of the tablet market through devices like the Iconia Tab series, which saw the A100, A500 and Iconia Smart join the mix at Mobile World Congress. The claim is ambitious given Apple's still large majority of the market and Samsung claiming almost all of the rest.
Wang partly planned to help it out by listening to vendors that were hoping to disrupt Apple's control of the tablet market. A MeeGo tablet was due before the end of the year.
The remarks reflect a history of Acer executives denying any effect from the iPad on sales, even as the tablet was causing actual damage. Wang made nearly identical comments in the fall, contending that the iPad sales rate was just a temporary rush that would quickly end and see users go back to notebooks. At the same time as he made the statements, Acer portable sales were dropping sharply while the iPad was still growing.
Acer has often had strong financial incentive to hope for tablets to fade out of popularity. As the premier manufacturer of netbooks, it stands to lose the most from customers buying tablets instead. It has gone to the extent of hoping rivals exit first to give it more share of the netbook market.