by Anton Shilov
01/09/2009 | 01:24 PM
One of the top four manufacturers of mainboards will cease to exist in about three years from now, according to a vice president of MicroStar International. The reasons for that is slow desktop computer market growth and the growing popularity of notebooks. Obviously, before one of the top four makers is gone, many second-tier makers will vanish into thin air.
Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology, EliteGroup Computer Systems (ECS) and MicroStar International (MSI) are currently the world’s largest makers of both branded and generic mainboards, who control the lion’s share of the market. But one of them will “drop out” of the market in the next few years since limited further expansion of the motherboard business “will not be able to support the growth of the four giants any more”, said Henry Lu, vice president of products at MSI, in an interview with DigiTimes web-site.
There is no secret that shipments of various mobile computers – including notebooks and netbooks – are currently exceeding shipments of desktop systems. As a result of practical stagnation of the desktop market, shipments of mainboards also remain on the same level, which means that if one producer suppliers more, other manufacturers lose.
Just like any other high-tech providers, motherboard suppliers have to invest into research and development, design of their products, production lines improvements and so on. Since those investments tend to get higher every year, amid shipments growth stagnation, at some point one of the top four vendors will not be able to keep the pace and will either have to leave the market of mainboards or unite with another big player.
In the recent years many smaller motherboard producers merged with each other in order to stay alive, but while for some it was the path for prosperity, the other vanished into oblivion. On the other hand, Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology, who wanted to create a joint-venture motherboard supplier Gigabyte United, decided not to combine their businesses. There were also rumours that Asustek expressed interest in taking over MSI.
According to some estimations, Asustek supplied 21 million mainboards in 2008, ECS also shipped 21 units, Gigabyte produced 19 motherboards and MSI delivered 16 mainboards.