Thu, May 12, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Acer says globalization key to future

‘DE-TAIWANIZATION’:Gianfranco Lanci said in a recent interview that the Acer board had been concerned over his plan to recruit more foreign talent into the company

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff Reporter

Acer Inc (宏碁) said it believed globalization remained the key to the company’s development, adding that it is in talks to acquire a foreign software developer to boost the company’s competitiveness.

The Taipei-based company said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that there was no such issue as “de-Taiwanization” within the company, as claimed by former chief executive and president Gianfranco Lanci on Monday about his recent departure from Acer.

RECRUITMENT PLANS

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s “All Things Digital” technology blog, Lanci — an Italian who resigned on March 31 after 14 years at Acer — said he had planned to recruit more talent from abroad and place greater emphasis on software and hardware integration in order to help the Taiwanese company stay among the top three PC brands worldwide over the next three to five years.

Acer was the world’s second-largest PC maker by shipments after Hewlett-Packard Co in the first quarter, according to the Gartner research group. IDC ranked Acer third largest behind HP and Dell Inc.

Lanci said his plan had prompted concerns from the company’s board over the “de-Taiwanization” of the company, a remark Acer dismissed.

WHAT’S BEST FOR ACER

“It does not matter where the CEO or president comes from. The key issue is whether the leadership has a forward-looking vision to help the company operate healthily and develop sustainably,” Acer said in the statement.

Lanci’s interview with All Things Digital showed for the first time the differences he had with Acer’s board in mapping out future strategies since his departure.

He said Acer could become a US$30 billion company by 2015 based on his plan, after growing to a US$20 billion firm from US$10 billion under his eight years of leadership.

“Let’s see what they are able to do,” the report quoted him as saying. “People after a few years will decide who was wrong.”

Acer, however, blamed Lanci for the company’s late response to the emerging smartphone and tablet markets as well as the failure to reach the company’s sales guidance for the past two consecutive quarters.

“Over the last three years, the company has not made effective progress in the smartphone business under Lanci’s reign. It is regrettable to see problems also emerge from our inventories and accounts receivable,” the Acer statement said.

DROPPING FIGURES

Last month, Acer posted NT$1.19 billion (US$41.53 million) in net income for the first quarter, the lowest quarterly profit in six years. On Tuesday, the company said its unconsolidated revenue fell 30 percent month-on-month to NT$28.39 billion last month, dropping 23.3 percent year-on-year.

In the first four months, accumulated revenue fell 26.18 percent to NT$130.56 billion from a year earlier, the company’s data showed.

In the statement, Acer said it was open to any merger and acquisition deal as long as it created substantial benefits to all parties involved and did not raise long-term concern about the company’s financial structure.

DECISION SOON

Acer chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) said he was close to deciding whether to buy an overseas software developer that would help make Acer’s PCs, smartphones and tablets more compatible with each other.

“We understand we have to make a decision soon,” Wang said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday. “We need some software that can create better value.”

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