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Acer slashes tablet forecast, banks on notebooks

Game of executive musical chairs ongoing too

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Acer today cut its 2011 tablet PC shipment forecasts by 60 per cent, but predicted a gradual recovery in its traditional notebook stomping ground.

According to reports, Chairman and CEO JT Wang told shareholders at a meeting in Taiwan that he expects tablet sales of 2.5 to three million units for the full year, down from previous estimates of five to seven million.

The firm - which fired CEO Gianfranco Lanci in March due to a boardroom bust over future direction, and is currently trying to clear a mountain of inventory in Europe - reckons second quarter sales will fall less than 10 per cent sequentially.

"The third quarter will be considerably stable. It will be similar to the second quarter or better," said Wang. "The fourth quarter will be even better."

At the same meeting shareholders approved cutting staff sales bonuses for 2010 by 40 per cent to NT$900m, a proposal made some weeks ago when Acer made public the decision to write-down three million aged laptops at a cost of $150m, plans to cut bonuses and 300 jobs.

Many of the redundancies will be contractors or duplicated roles arising from the takeover of Packard Bell (PB), industry sources claimed.

It is also understood that the Taiwanese PC maker is putting forward a divisional rejig, operating three divisions: consumer, professional and Touch.

Currently there is a Smartphone unit, a professional arm split into volume and value, and a consumer business including desktops, notebooks and tablets.

Tablets will be removed from the consumer division and sold alongside Smartphones under Touch, to be headed up Massimo D'Angelo, EMEA veep. Current Smartphone boss and former PB CEO Aymar de Lencquesaing is leaving the business, sources told El Reg.

Corporate veep of marketing and brand and one-time managing direct at Acer UK Gianpiero Morbello is also leaving the business, with Acer's head of Olympic Sponsorship Anton Mitsyuk taking over the role.

The heads for the professional and consumer units have not yet been confirmed, but the exec shake-up at the business is certainly not yet over. ®

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