by Anton Shilov
11/12/2008 | 11:52 PM
The demand towards mobile computers in the recent years resulted in outselling desktop personal computers by laptops in Q3. The impact of such success of portable systems on makers of desktop mainboards is hard to overestimate as the growth in their market segment may be negligible, or even negative.
Back in Q3 2008 the world’s largest maker of microprocessors – Intel Corp. – has shipped more mobile central processing units (CPUs) than desktop microprocessors and going forward the gap may widen. Some estimates show that in 2009 the growth in CPU unit shipments may be just around 2%, which, in the light of the fact that mobile chips outsell desktop processors, may mean decline in desktop PC mainboards shipments.
Mainboard manufacturers are not standing still and are working hard to either stabilize or reduce their expenses and find new markets for themselves, which may be uneasy to do since traditional players are also competing hard with each other.
Major motherboard makers, such as Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI), have cut their workforces, reports China Economic News Service web-site. Pegatron Corp., a spin-off from Asustek for PC-related manufacturing, is also reportedly to freeze personnel recruitment to cut operating costs. Asustek Computer itself, the world’s largest maker of mainboards, recently said that it expects Q4 revenue may decline 10% from the Q3 2008.
Virtually all major mainboard producers have diversified their product lines into mobile PC and devices markets, though, with mixed success.
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) acquired notebook PC maker Uniwill Polytech in 2006, however, so far the company has not gained substantial market share.
Gigabyte has been actively developing business deployments in both notebook PC and mobile Internet devices (MID) markets, though, also without much success.
MSI expects to ship about 2.5 million own-brand notebooks this quarter, which is an achievement, considering that all of its mobile computers are aimed at consumers and the company does not spend fortunes on promotion and advertising of those machines.
Mainboard market shrink means that the competition between producers will get even fiercer, which leaves one wonder about the destiny of smaller motherboard makers.