Gianfranco Lanci, the Italian who transformed Taiwan's Acer, is being tipped to join its Korean rival Samsung Electronics, according to an unconfirmed report in the Taiwan-based news source, DigiTimes. The story also confirms that Samsung is the world's seventh largest notebook PC manufacturer "according to IDC data". IDC will typically only release "Top 5" lists in public, and full sets of its market research numbers are commercially valuable.
DigiTimes says: "Unconfirmed reports indicate that Dell and Samsung have both contacted Lanci, aiming to leverage the former Acer CEO's expertise in the management of channel sales in Europe." He certainly has plenty of that, having run Acer's European wing, and dramatically expanded Acer's sales. However, he also left Acer in March 2011 after falling out with the board, and the company has recently had an uncomfortable number of unsold PCs in its distribution network.
Both Acer and Samsung were successful in the netbook PC market with the Acer Aspire One and the Samsung NC10 and similar models. Indeed, the NC10 -- an excellent system in terms of price/performance and quality of construction -- probably did a lot to make Samsung's laptop range more visible. However, with the netbook market in sharp decline, both companies probably need to increase sales of Windows 7 laptops to compensate. (Both have also entered the media tablet market, where unit prices are roughly twice as high, but it's tough selling against the Apple iPad.)
DigiTimes says: "Samsung shipped about 9.9 million notebooks in 2010 and ranked as the seventh largest vendor worldwide, trailing HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and Asustek" [Asus]. It's probably reasonable to assume that the eighth largest notebook PC vendor was Apple.