Massive PC shortages to hit this Xmas
Flooded disk drive fabs flush Santa's sack
PC shortages will likely dampen retail sales this Christmas as a result of the shortfall in hard drive production caused by killer flooding in Thailand.
Analysts claimed this week that 48 million fewer disks will be shipped this quarter, but had reckoned the PC supply chain has sufficient stocks to see it through to next year.
Not so according to Acer UK boss Neil Marshall, who reckons product availability will dry up in the festive season.
"The whole industry is expecting shortages in terms of what we're hearing from retailers. Our competitors will struggle with supply and we are best positioned to capitalise on the shortages of others," he told El Reg.
The firm suffered from inventory overload this year and even though the profile is better than it has been all year, "we can use it [the remainder] to plug the gaps".
The flooding in Thailand wrecked WD's in-country production lines, inundated Toshiba's drive plant and ruined Seagate's sub assembly market. It also killed scores of people and left hundreds of thousands of others out of work.
Graham Long, veep at Samsung UK, said the disaster had impacted disk drives and the components used to manufacture them and other goods.
"Unfortunately there will be some shortages in Q4 but we are working with HQ and our partners to try to satisfy the healthy demand that we've got," he said.
Sony UK general manager Raj Pandya told The Reg: "Like everyone else there will be an impact." He said detailing the numbers was not possible at this stage and it would be another 10 days before Sony gets a clear picture.
Distribution insiders claim HP, Apple and Asus will struggle with PC supplies in the fourth quarter - Asus confirmed it will run out of drives by the end of November. One well-placed source, speaking about vendors across the board, suggested some lines "could have a 20 per cent to 30 per cent volume shortfall in the consumer space".
According to reports in DigiTimes, PC vendors are now turning to the grey market to source hard drives.
The panic buying resulted in Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) in Taiwan doubling, or in some cases tripling, order volumes with disk makers, says DigiTimes.
As revealed by The Reg yesterday, drive prices in the channel have doubled in the past couple of weeks and, unless the situation dramatically improves, they could rise significantly again.
Other distribution sources are warning that PC shortages will be more severe in Q1, and WD – hit hardest by the flooding – has warned that resolving the problems will be a multi-quarter challenge.
HP has refused to comment, while spokesmen for Apple and Asus were unavailable to talk to us. ®
Oblig Stalin Quote
The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of thousands a statistic.
Or something like that
All the eggs in one basket
I'm just still shocked that apparently all of the capacity was in one damned plant/city, for huge multinational corporations like WD, Toshiba, and Seagate.
Is there no second-sources for contracts with non-performance clauses that say things like "you owe us $billions if we don't have X drives by Y time" ??
Who whats a massive PC these days? I thought it was all smartphones, netbooks and tablets.
What about little ITX type PC's - are they affected?
Happened to be in a PC World today, and they have a sign up limiting HD purchases to 2 per customer due to the flooding.
That's 2 more than I'd ever buy in there, but ho-hum...
ever hear of video games
PC games still beat all the consoles boxes pants off. Battlefield 3 sold 10's of millions of copies already, (a large portion on PC) and no you can"t play it on an iphone. Anyone who enjoys gaming with HD quality video (there are 10's of millions of us stil) is going to keep upgrading their PC, at least every view years. There are also tons of other uses that you are forgetting. I can use my PC to store and view TB of videos from any other PC or screen in the house. Home Security cameras can be hooked up to a PC and you can store months of surveillance footage, and even check in on your house/dog/kids remotely from work, you can create and mix music, and even write articles, stories etc (with full keyboard) all stuff you can't really do on a cheap tiny screened mobile device.
Don't believe the same BS story that detractors have been pushing for years.... every F*&king year I hear it a dozen times..."blah blah PC's are dead blah" but amazingly every single year since they started being sold MORE PC's are sold every year than the last one, even despite economic downturns. Sure on bad years the market only rises by say a fraction of a percent instead of several, and some counties with really bad economies might see a dip in purchases, but worldwide, PC makers are always making more PC's with and there is NO EVIDENCE to any end of this in sight. Sure as Laptop prices drop, and their screens get better you may see some PC's switch over. Tablets and phones will not replace PC's. And more likely than that, I would wager that the trend will be that people over the next decade will just start to have a PC AND a laptop/tablet. PC's will die when video games and Porn die, and both of them (like PC's just seem to expand EVERY year.