Netbooks should still find a significant audience in spite of the success of the iPad and other tablets, Acer said in a group interview Wednesday. The PC builder accepted that tablets were cutting into netbook sales, but there was "still opportunity" to sell netbooks, even in the tablet-friendly US. The mini notebooks were getting closer to desktops, had hardware keyboards some needed for work, and still had a huge price advantage, company managers told Forbes.
"Tablets have impacted overall netbook sales, but we're not stepping away from the segment," senior product marketing lead Eric Ackerson said.
Acer has continually been the leader in netbook sales since taking over from category creator ASUS. The decision helped it ride high during the height of the netbook's popularity but quickly became a liability when the iPad arrived and began cannibalizing sales. Multiple analyst groups can point to Acer rapidly losing share faster than its peers, and Microsoft in its latest quarter said that netbook revenue crashed by 40 percent year over year.
Acer's stance may insist on netbooks staying relevant but is much more conservative than last year. Even when sustained evidence showed the iPad affecting sales, executives insisted the iPad was just a fad and assumed buyers would go back to netbooks within weeks. Apple's sustained success, along with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, led Acer to reorganize around mobile devices and fire its CEO for not addressing the impact sooner.
The company had already been planning to launch Android tablets but is now marketing them much more heavily with the Iconia Tab and Iconia Smart now its primary focuses.
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