Acer is prognosticating again – hide the babies and keep your tin-foil hats firmly in place. The netbook maker’s chairman now expects Apple’s Mac sales will run out of steam by 2014, deflated by Intel’s ultrabook. This after diagnosing overwhelming tablet demand as a “fever” and the iPad slipping in popularity. Kreskin need not be worried — and neither should Apple.
According to a brief report by industry publication DigiTimes, Acer chairman JT Wang “expects Apple platform growth will start weakening in the next two years and the major driver will be replaced by the rapid growth of Wintel.” Wintel is comprised of chip giant Intel and Microsoft. Intel is pushing the ultrabook design as a way for PC makers such as Acer to bounce back against nosediving netbook sales and the MacBook Air.
Does this comment elicit anything other than giggles? The two points: Mac sales will “start weakening” and the “rapid growth” of ultrabooks are like the distant half-cousins of reality. Mac sales, particularly of the thin and low-cost MacBook Air, continue to be strong. Indeed, they have reached a 15-year-high, accounting for 28 percent of Apple notebook sales. Unless there is a drastic turnaround from the current tepid PC demand, the trend away toward Macs and tablets is likely to continue.
But what about that “rapid growth” of ultrabooks Wang is expecting? After all, the Acer chairman says the new category of PC in 2012 will fall to $699 and Intel is promising the notebooks will grab 40 percent of the mobile market.
And monkeys will fly.
PC makers have been screaming bloody murder that they need a 50 percent discount on Intel’s CPUs in order to meet the much-touted sub-$1,000 MacBook Air killer price. Instead, the chipmaker counter-offered a 20 percent discount — and only for “first-tier notebook players.” What’s more, we’re likely to see the ultrabooks not go head-to-head against the MacBook Air, but in “emerging markets,” such as China and India.
What’s the old saying about you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig? Same goes for ultrabooks, netbooks and Acer fortune-telling.