IBM plans notebook assault on SME, high-end

IBM today lashed out at Acer claims that it has ousted Big Blue from the big three in notebooks, and said it is preparing to bounce back in SME and high-end sectors.

Acer is crowing over Dataquest statistics that give the Taiwan giant an 8.7 per cent share of the European notebook market in the first quarter, behind Toshiba and Compaq. The numbers, which are more than double Acer's share for the same quarter last year, seemingly give credence to its purchase of Texas Instruments' mobile computing business early this year.

However, IBM is unconvinced of the veracity of the numbers. "The top three is Toshiba, Compaq and Dell according to IDC," said Nick Eades, IBM product marketing manager. "We lost a spot to Dell who have been going at it like mad things. We don't see Acer at all in corporate sales. All their sales are coming through SME. They're trying to buy market share and in this business you can't buy market share, you can only rent it."

Eades admitted that IBM has failed to cover itself in glory in terms of SME sales, saying the firm struggled with volumes, pricing and channels. Now, it will try again with the ThinkPad 310, selling more through mail-order resellers. "It's aimed at going directly after SME," Eades said.

IBM will also seek to regain the top-end crown with the ThinkPad 770 line in September. The line will offer features such as DVD drives, 14.1-inch screens and up to 10Gb of hard disk storage.

"The competition will be absolutely shocked to the quick," Eades said. "It'll be iconic, innovative, not just 'go to Taiwan and buy one'."

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