Acer sees strong Q1 PC sales on Vista, CPU price war

The chairman of the world's fourth largest PC vendor forecast its PC shipments will grow by as much as 50 percent year on year in Q1 and 40 percent in 2007

The chairman of Acer, the world's fourth largest PC vendor, has forecast the company's PC shipments will grow by as much as 50 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter and 40 per cent for all of 2007.

Acer chairman, J.T. Wang, made the prediction on Monday at a Lunar New Year celebration, according to a company spokesperson. The story was first reported in the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, which said the reasons for strong growth included stronger than expected shipments of PCs armed with Microsoft's new Vista OS and lower PC prices resulting from a price war on central processing units, the brains of a PC, between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The spokesperson could not immediately confirm the reasons for stronger shipments, but said Acer was seeing brisk growth in emerging markets.

The report that Vista is a major cause of Acer's strong PC shipment growth in the first quarter is important because it may be an early sign the new OS is taking off, at least in some markets. Microsoft launched the consumer version of Vista in 70 countries on January 30, and since then its main comment on sales of the OS had been to warn analysts that their forecasts might be too aggressive.

Other technology companies have given the OS a mixed review. Quanta Computer, the world's largest contract laptop PC maker, credited Vista with record-breaking notebook shipments in January. But Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, said Vista wouldn't have much impact on PC sales growth this year. The company is considered an IT industry bellwether due to the wide variety of chips it manufactures.

The microprocessor price war between Intel and AMD has been going on for several months, and is a key to creating great bargains for users by lowering overall PC costs. The processor is the most expensive component in a PC.

On January 21, Intel released a new price list, slashing the price of some desktop CPUs as much as 69 per cent compared to its previous price list, published in late December.

AMD published a new price list on February 20, also showing lower prices for certain processors aimed at desktop PCs, including dual-core Athlons, compared to its January 22 price list.

The price lists for both companies can be found on their respective websites, and all prices are for lots of 1000 processors.

The top global market for Acer products is Europe, while Asia ranked second for the company. In recent years, the company has put a new focus on China and the US.

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Dan Nystedt

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