Asustek complains of Intel laptop processor shortage

Asustek complained of a shortage of Intel CPUs for laptop PCs, but said it didn't expect the problem to impact its sales.

Taiwan's Asustek Computer complained of a shortage of Intel central processing units (CPUs) for laptop PCs, but said it didn't expect the problem to affect its sales.

"The biggest shortage in notebook components is in CPUs, Intel CPUs. Intel isn't meeting demand," said Jerry Shen, president of Asustek, answering questions at an investors conference in Beitou, Taiwan.

The statement highlights persistent problems laptop PC makers have faced this year in trying to procure certain parts. Strong demand for mobile computers has caused a shortage of small LCD (liquid crystal display) screens and small hard disc drives (HDD), laptop makers have complained. The recall of around 10 million laptop batteries containing cells manufactured by Sony has also kept these vital parts in short supply since last year.

Intel could not immediately be reached for comment.

Back-to-school sales in September, and the run-up to the end-of-year holiday season are hot times for people to buy new laptop PCs, and hype around Microsoft's Windows Vista and Intel's Santa Rosa laptop chips has given an added spurt to demand this year. Laptop PC sales are expected to hit record highs, and some companies believe the market will grow by around 30 percent next year.

Supplies of certain laptop parts could become more plentiful once the peak season ends and demand slows down.

Meantime, laptop makers have had to keep up with suppliers by maintaining relationships and building inventory when they can.

"Our relationship with Intel is good so we don't have a big problem, but if it wasn't so good, our troubles might be worse," said Shen, of the CPU issue.

Asustek forecasts it will ship between 4.2 million and 4.4 million of its own-brand laptops this year, not including its popular new Eee PC. The company has targeted shipments of up to 400,000 Eee PCs this year.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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