Acer, Asus slash 'Ultrabook' orders by 40%, struggle against MacBook Air

24

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    How can they possibly expect to stand out when the user experience is entirely identical on every machine?



    The opportunity for PC vendors lies in one factor: price.



    But choosing designs that drive up costs, they've left themselves without any advantage at all, thus squandering the only chance they had.



    The results they're experiencing were entirely predictable.



    Yeah, it is kind of strange to see these Ultrabooks since these are nearly the same price, or in some configurations more expensive than a comparable MacBook Air, and yet, in the case of the Asus model, so obviously patterned in design after the Air, it invites comparisons, and there's nothing about this design that improves on the original; it screams "look, I'm a copy, please mistake me for a MacBook Air." And if you end up paying about the same price, it seems like a formula doomed for failure.



    At least the "Netbooks" that came before these had price on their side, even if they were last-generation in specs and performance. The advantage was that you could get into a commodity Windows laptop for $299-ish if you were willing to accept compromises on specs and build materials. They amounted to disposable mini-notebooks. While that is not appealing to me personally, there is a market for that sort of thing.
  • Reply 22 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post


    Dang. Initially read this "Acer, Asus slash 'Ultrabook' PRICES by 40%, struggle against MacBook Air." Good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I did.



    It's inevitable though. All the pretenders are fighting for market share and profit but chasing Apple to do it. Apple is blazing the trail and dropping a lot of followers in their path. There are a lot of smart, smart people trying but they're no match for the auteur that was Steve Jobs.



    Give it time... it may say "prices" yet.
  • Reply 23 of 73
    the only way pc's can compete is to be a lot cheaper. this has always been the case. they can never compete in quality and user experience. if they can't be at least 40% cheaper, they have no advantage over the macs.
  • Reply 24 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    There was no way this was going to work with a head-on battle against Apple at the $1000 and up range. Apple monopolized that market years ago. Other PC vendors have pushed so much $400 crap over the years they can't be trusted. They need to come in under $800 for essentially the same machine to compete with Apple, but that's simply not possible with Apple's ability to source components and and manufacturing for millions of the same machine model per year.
  • Reply 25 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post




    Apple has put so much effort into all facets of the design of their products, ie., batteries, glass, antennae, cases (unibody), cameras, syncing (iCloud), Eco-friendly, efficient chips, etc., etc. Not to mention the OS and software.



    The problem for other companies is that Apple spends years developing products. The iPad predates the iPhone (probably 2005ish), and then suddenly people tried to slap together a tablet and some software together in less than a year after they saw the iPad.



    Apple's been working with flash since the iPod Nano. They've been making unibody laptops since 2008. They also make the OS, so they can optimize the software to run on flash, small screens, improve battery life, etc. You've got the world's most valuable company distilling this knowledge into basically two laptops (MBA and MBP). Is it any surprise that the results are hard to mimic?
  • Reply 26 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    While Apple products in general may or may not be overpriced, I've not heard that charge made WRT the MBA.



    It's been a decade since one could reasonably saw Macs are overpriced for the market. An individual can say that a product is overpriced for them, but when a company is taking 1/3 of the profits form a market then it's hard to argue a product cost's is too high for that market.



    Quote:

    After that, it is anybody's guess. I think that Atrix-like devices are the "next big thing" following proliferation of these high-end netbooks, but gazing into the future is always hit or miss, IMO.



    There are plenty of pros and cons with the Atrix concept. It's certainly not a new concept, but I hope you can see that if Apple does go down that route they will have an easier time of it than anyone else because they 1) design their own HW and SW, and 2) already have an OS that uses the same foundation for a touch-based Ui and pointer-based UI.
  • Reply 27 of 73
    Quote:

    Asus even had a higher starting price than Apple's MacBook Air at around $1,200 U.S. Apple's 11.6-inch entry-level MacBook Air starts at $999.



    Is that what we call the Mac Clone tax?
  • Reply 28 of 73
    Even more news of Apple's competitive advantages in PCs with MacBook Air



    But I never cease to be amazed how the manipulators can drive down even a major cap like Apple with a co-ordinated bear raid using a combination of an flimsy, unsubstantiated rumour by some Tawanese Chinese newspaper that Apple is cutting back orders for components as a restarted by result of slow iPhone and iPad sales,. This report was then picked up and amplified by DigitTmes quoting anonymous sources, while completely ignoring several Analysts who (after channel checks) report there is no substance to this report and sales of iPhone continue to be exceptionally strong.



    But the manipulators ignores these bullish Analysts and instead the talking heads on Bloomberg etc highlight a negative report from a small boutique researcher who appear to believe these anonymous Chinese reports.



    Those of you who have Level 2 could see wave after wave of short selling this morning based on the above rumours.



    The silver lining is that this bear raid leaves a great entry point for the long term investor. Many these short sellers will have to cover, many by the end of the day.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...tercation.html



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._disputed.html





    l
  • Reply 29 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post


    The problem for other companies is that Apple spends years developing products. The iPad predates the iPhone (probably 2005ish), and then suddenly people tried to slap together a tablet and some software together in less than a year after they saw the iPad.



    Apple's been working with flash since the iPod Nano. They've been making unibody laptops since 2008. They also make the OS, so they can optimize the software to run on flash, small screens, improve battery life, etc. You've got the world's most valuable company distilling this knowledge into basically two laptops (MBA and MBP). Is it any surprise that the results are hard to mimic?



    Agreed, acslater017.
  • Reply 30 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by axual View Post


    It appears more and more people are choosing quality over just price. Though some would argue Apple products like the MacBook Air are overpriced, the market would suggest otherwise.



    The iPhone, iPad, and the Macbook Air lines are clear refutations of the "Apple Tax" premise. I would even add the iMac to that category if you really compare component quality (e.g. the screen) to alternatives.



    It's a competitor's worst nightmare. For years, competitor's alleged a price premium for Apple products and then Apple pulls that rug out from under them. At best, competitors match prices but rarely beat them. And they left the impression that Apple products have a higher quality in place...because they are of higher quality.
  • Reply 31 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by focher View Post


    The iPhone, iPad, and the Macbook Air lines are clear refutations of the "Apple Tax" premise. I would even add the iMac to that category if you really compare component quality (e.g. the screen) to alternatives.



    It's a competitor's worst nightmare. For years, competitor's alleged a price premium for Apple products and then Apple pulls that rug out from under them. At best, competitors match prices but rarely beat them. And they left the impression that Apple products have a higher quality in place...because they are of higher quality.



    Honestly the 15 and 17" MBP and the Mac Pro are the only areas where Apple's prices feel weak compared to the competition. The Mac Pro really isn't that badly priced compared w/other Xeon workstations. I would really like to buy a 17" MBP next spring, but the price tag really hurts.
  • Reply 32 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post




    They need to come in under $800 for essentially the same machine to compete with Apple,






    I disagree.



    All they need to do is to release something like the Air for around the same price. If they do, millions of aging Windows laptops would be upgraded.



    But releasing something like the Air for around the same price as the Air is easier said than done.
  • Reply 33 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    I disagree.



    All they need to do is to release something like the Air for around the same price. If they do, millions of aging Windows laptops would be upgraded.



    But releasing something like the Air for around the same price as the Air is easier said than done.



    Dude, they did. That's what the Asus Zenbook is.



    http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/21/a...k-ux31-review/

    Quote:

    After the first Ultrabook left us feeling lukewarm, we grew hopeful that maybe, just maybe, ASUS' Zenbooks would get it right. While the S3 has little more to offer than a low price point, the UX31 has an arresting design and SATA III SSD that promises superior battery life and performance. And it still manages to undercut the Air by two hundred dollars, even though the two have similar specs.



    And yet they are reducing their orders by 40% as they struggle against the MBA... Why are facts so hard for you?
  • Reply 34 of 73
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post




    There are plenty of pros and cons with the Atrix concept. It's certainly not a new concept, but I hope you can see that if Apple does go down that route they will have an easier time of it than anyone else because they 1) design their own HW and SW, and 2) already have an OS that uses the same foundation for a touch-based Ui and pointer-based UI.



    Interesting.



    The challenge Apple would have with a product like that would be to keep the avenues for data uptake limited. If they could pull it off, and keep customers firmly within their ecosystem, they would have a huge advantage over anybody else.



    So what are the disadvantages of the Atrix concept? I'd love to carry around some kind of "hard drive with everything I might want" combined with "any and all interface choices, both input and output" in my pocket.



    Other than obvious current technical limitations like data storage size/local interface/battery life, what are the cons of the Atrix concept? I think its kind of cool, and if it can be done well, I think it would be very convenient.
  • Reply 35 of 73
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vorais View Post


    Dude, they did. That's what the Asus Zenbook is.



    http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/21/a...k-ux31-review/





    And yet they are reducing their orders by 40% as they struggle against the MBA... Why are facts so hard for you?



    The Zenbook looks very nice, but I'm not sure that it is nearly as nice as a Macbook Air.



    Leaving that aside, it is fairly new to the market, so I'm not sure how it could have much affect on overall numbers at this point. If it is the first of a bunch of increasingly nice Ultrabooks, at competitive prices, the the new ones might sell better than the ones they are cutting back on.



    Nice machine, though. I'll have to find one to play with.
  • Reply 36 of 73
    kpomkpom Posts: 656member
    To be fair, the ASUS uses identical processors, better speakers, and faster SSDs than the Air, and is $200-$250 less, so they made a good effort. The 13" also has a higher resolution. I think the issue is what others have said in that people expect Windows PCs to be "cheap" and thus are taken aback by a $1000-$1500 notebook, even one with premium parts. Apple has a nice niche with the Mac, and it has a clear differentiator in that it runs a different operating system.
  • Reply 37 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    I disagree.



    All they need to do is to release something like the Air for around the same price. If they do, millions of aging Windows laptops would be upgraded.



    But releasing something like the Air for around the same price as the Air is easier said than done.



    Years ago it was reported Apple has over 90% in unit sales of the $1000 and up PC market. On top of the average selling price for non-Mac PCs seems to hover around $700-750.



    For these reasons I don't think Apple's competitors will be able to crack the $999 and up market with a copycat machine, even it was equal on performance and TCO, and when it's 35% higher in price than what PC customers are willing to pay. Note that Mac customers typically are around $1,200 but I think that may have dropped with these new MBAs coming on the scene.



    They shot themselves in the foot by offering too many bidet machines at $400 so that a $700 PC must be a great buy. People inevitably found the reliability wasn't great (partly Windows fault) and that they ended up using a computer more in their daily lives. Now you people that would have purchase a cheap laptop spending that money on an iPad, which will further hurt the PC vendors.
  • Reply 38 of 73
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Apple uses more or less the same Intel chips, memory, HDs, SSDs, and screens in the MacBook Air that the Ultrabook makers use in their clones. And yet Apple still beats them in quality *and* price. That raises the obvious question.



    Question: Why can't the Acers and Asus-es of the world sell cheaper MacBook Air clones?



    Answer: They can. But they won't. That would defeat the purpose of the Ultrabook: to end the Wintel race to the bottom.



    The Ultrabook isn't supposed to be cheaper than the MacBook Air. It's supposed to be priced the same, to look roughly the same, to provide the same profit margins, etc. And Acer and Asus would make plenty of money if they sold as many of them as Apple sells MacBook Airs. But they're not. And they won't. They knew that all along, which is why Intel was forced to spend $300 million to bribe them to join the "Ultrabook Initiative."



    It costs money to build a new assembly line, possibly with new manufacturing techniques, for an all-new product. You need to know that the product will sell well enough to at least break even. Unless you're paid to do it. Hence the $300 million from Intel.



    It doesn't matter how good-looking Ultrabooks are or how big their profit margins are if sales are weak. And as we all know, the PC-buying public (and corporate IT departments as well) have been trained, for decades, to seek out the lowest price on their generic PC computing hardware. They've been trained to not care that their PC is ugly and/or bulky. "Oh well, whatever. It was cheap."



    The entire Wintel PC industry is built around the low-volume / high-margin commodity model. There is almost no market for high-end "executive laptops" in the Wintel world. Trying to sell $1000 Wintel laptops, even if they're kind of slick, is nearly hopeless.
  • Reply 39 of 73
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KPOM View Post


    To be fair, the ASUS uses identical processors, better speakers, and faster SSDs than the Air, and is $200-$250 less, so they made a good effort. The 13" also has a higher resolution. I think the issue is what others have said in that people expect Windows PCs to be "cheap" and thus are taken aback by a $1000-$1500 notebook, even one with premium parts. Apple has a nice niche with the Mac, and it has a clear differentiator in that it runs a different operating system.



    Agree. I would add that there is zero brand loyalty among Wintel PC buyers. Price is everything.



    Oh, and let's not forget the Windows Tax. As PC hardware prices continue to drop, the Windows license becomes an increasingly larger percentage of the PC's overall cost. Microsoft needs to make money on every Windows license sold. Apple doesn't need to make money on OS X licenses. They make their money on hardware margins now, just as they always have. And they will make more and more money on software content and services in the future as hardware inevitably becomes cheaper and cheaper.
  • Reply 40 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mytdave View Post


    So, I think there may be a few things at play here.



    First, the competition is not running MacOS X.



    Second, and it's unfortunate, but due to the world economy, people with less money than others are not spending it. People with more disposable income I think tend to gravitate to higher quality products, therefore buying Macs.



    Third, regardless of income, economy, and other factors, I think a large number of people are done with substandard products. The loss leader cheaply constructed junk just to save a buck isn't selling like it used to. People don't want to waste time and money (even if they have it) replacing items every other year, and so folks are starting to say no to that practice.



    Fourth, the typical PC user (and big box store salespeople) are all about specifications. GHz, MB, TB, "blu-ray", HDMI, whatever... I'm guessing that most of them don't understand the ultra thin form factor.



    The Zenbook doesn't look like it's cheaply made, but I haven't seen one in person. Of course it's also running Windows, so there's one strike against it. But, they need to be patient; things don't usually just 'take off' over night. Even Apple sold very few of the original MacBook Air laptops. Asus and the others are going to have to resist the temptation to 'pump it 'n dump it' if they want to be successful in the ultraportable market.



    Most "switchers" I'm acquainted with are just plain tired of their "PC" experience. Some of them are leveraging their iDevice to revisit the Mac platform. Some, like the waitress at my local favorite restaurant, saved up tips for almost a year to buy a MacBook Pro, and gushed at me the next time I was in the restaurant how much she loved it. Interestingly, even though she hadn't budgeted for it, she also purchased both the AppleCare and the One-to-One training as well. They set it up with her at the store after the purchase, so it was fully operational before she left. Her first session in One-to-One that same week they transferred her data and started her out on the adjustments from PC to Mac. She is one happy customer! I asked why she would pass up cheaper computers for the Apple, and she said that she wanted something that had better value, and that she anticipated owning the MBP for quite a few years. And that all started because her boyfriend bought her an iPod Touch I guess. But she loved the personal attnetion they gave her during setup and training.



    So people are willing to spend hard-earned dollars for something they see as having significant value for the price, even people with little money - like this waitress - want something of better value, and will wait until they can afford it.
Sign In or Register to comment.