Outfoxed by Apple, PC Makers Again Try to Get Intel to Cut “Ultrabook” Chip Price



PC makers hoping to compete with Apple’s lightweight MacBook Air laptop want chipmaking giant Intel to cut prices in order to produce “Ultrabook” alternatives costing under $1,000. So far, the company has balked at any discounts, yet still seeks to capture 40 percent of the notebook market.

Acer Taiwan and Compal Electronics both asked Intel for helping in achieving the sub-$1,000 price goal for the “Ultrabook” devices. So far, Intel has refused to give PC makers a subsidy for the notebooks, Acer president Scott Lin told the industry publication DigiTimes.

Without a price break, Windows-based laptops will suffer from Apple’s strength. “The Wintel alliance will need to do something or else all related IT players may be gone together,” the report cites Ray Chen, Compal Electronics.

In August, Intel denied a request by PC makers for a 50 percent discount on Ultrabook chips. The same month, Apple out maneuvered Ultrabook companies, snapping up suppliers for the unibody that would be used by the notebooks.

When Ultrabooks first appeared by Asustek, they carried a $1,600 price tag, far above Apple’s $999 11.66-inch entry-level MacBook Air. Intel wants Ultrabooks to cost below $1,000, yet be no thicker than 20 millimeters, offer “tablet-like features” and use a “thin, light and elegant design.” One more item could be added to that list: not impact Intel profits.