updated 05:00 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
IDC Q1 2011 has Apple overtake Acer in PC share
Acer's refusal to acknowledge the iPad's competition before its refocus on mobile cost it dearly in the winter, IDC said in a preliminary market share breakdown on Wednesday. The Taiwan PC builder's shipments to the US dropped a steep 42.1 percent versus a year ago to hit just 1.33 million, or 8.3 percent. Apple stayed in fourth place, but its success with the Mac and Acer's failure led it to jump from seven percent in early 2010 to 8.5 percent, or about 1.38 million Macs.
Toshiba kept Apple from taking third place as it surged from 8.3 percent a year ago to 10.3 percent. HP and Dell kept their first- and second-place spots, but both of them saw their shipments drop, by as much as 11.8 percent for Dell.
Acer's fall from grace was manifested worldwide. Its shipments sank 15.8 percent to 9.04 million and dropped the company back down to third place. Lenovo was the fastest mover and took advantage of its home territory advantage in China to grow 16.3 percent and hit 10.1 percent. HP, Dell, and Toshiba were first, second, and fifth but saw relatively little movement.
Traditional computer shipments were down as a whole 3.2 percent worldwide and 10.7 percent in the US.
IDC senior research analyst Jay Chou cast Acer's plunge, and that of most of the computer industry, as the ultimate result of Windows PC builders chasing after numbers over creating an attractive experience. Tablets were partly to blame for the drop, but the longer useful lifespans of computers and the lack of unique experiences on most computers were leading many to either buy something like a tablet or to skip a purchase altogether.
"Long-term success will depend on hardware manufacturers being able to articulate a message that is beyond simple hardware specifications," Chou said. "'Good-enough computing' has become a firm reality, exemplified first by Mini-Notes [netbooks] and now Media Tablets [like the iPad]. Macroeconomic forces can explain some of the ebb and flow of the PC business, but the real question PC vendors have to think hard about is how to enable a compelling user experience that can justify spending on the added horsepower."
In the long term, the analyst group expected a "difficult era" to keep going until at least the second half of the year.
Acer for roughly the past year insisted the iPad was just a fad and that the public would 'return to its senses,' each time suggesting an end within just a few months. That it repeatedly failed to materialize eventually cost CEO Gianfranco Lanci his job and triggered a restructuring focused around phones, tablets, and a turn away from focusing only on sheer market share for PCs.