Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics, and Wistron all have a message for Hewlett-Packard (HP): Big orders or bust. According to a report in Chinese-language Commercial Times, all three Taiwan-based notebook makers are refusing to accept low-gross margin orders from HP in 2011.
The tough stance is an attempt to end the fierce price competition that has been ongoing among notebooks makers since the better part of this year, an official with Quanta said. Quanta is expected to see lower overall notebook shipments in 2011, but better profitability.
So what of HP? The OEM found greener pastures at Flextronics, which accepted the company's low-gross margin orders at quotes lower than Quanta's, the Commercial Times reports.
Says Roy Chen, ARM’s manager for worldwide mobile computing: “The first tablet devices will launch in the second quarter by [mobile network] carriers. You'll see a lot more in the third quarter.” A lot of this activity, Chen says, will take place in China, and he expects there’ll be products offered by the top ten telecommunications network operators.
ARM’s insight apparently comes from an inside view of the products its chips are being used in. ARM is often requested for additional engineering support, or is tied into a partnership arrangement.
While ARM's insight may be accurate, 50 seems like an awfully high number. It could be a matter of how ARM is defining a tablet PC. Perhaps it includes some new touchscreen-enabled smartphones. If accurate, however, and all of these new devices are legitimate tablet PCs, it will make 2010 a very interesting year indeed.
Acer may have taken a cue from Intel in terms of learning how to play hardball. We're not sure what exactly the OEM said to Compal Electronics, but whatever it was, it worked. Citing anonymous sources in the notebook industry, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports that Compal has suddenly turned orders from Asus to produce volume notebooks.
Asus had originally wanted to keep 70 percent of its notebook production with Pegatron Technology and outsource the remaining 30 percent to Foxconn. But in order to save costs, Asus decided to cut back orders with Pegatron to 50 percent and outsource the other 20 percent to a third player.
That's where Compal comes in. Asus had interest in letting Compal produce anywhere from 10-20 percent of those remaining orders in the second half of 2010, but Acer, speaking in private, managed to convince Compal to turn the orders down.
What's interesting is that Acer's market muscle might extend beyond Compal. Quanta Computer, Wistron, and Inventec are also weary about working with Asus, the sources added.