Acer Board: Ousted CEO Should Have Focused on Tablets, Not Laptops

Acer has pushed out its CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, amid accusations from its board that he should have been focused on competing against tablets from Apple and HTC, rather than trying to become the industry’s top laptop seller. Acer’s stock has dropped 22% since a March 25 announcement that its first quarter sales will fall short of estimates, according to Businessweek.

Acer spokesman Henry Wang said the company is going to focus on profitability, not volume. Businessweek noted that Apple’s profit margin was 21.5% during its last fiscal year, while Acer’s was just 2.3%. Acer CFO Tu Che-min told Businessweek: “There is good consensus among the board members that the tablet is the way to go.”

Mr. Lanci focused Acer on notebooks, a strategy that seemed to make sense until Apple’s iPad arrived. Businessweek quoted from a report written by Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Eve Jung: “We think Acer inevitably will see rising research and development expenses. Acer plans to focus more on product innovation to face growing competition from Apple’s iPad 2.”