Handicapping the PC Vendors - Page 2

Of the 10, Gateway is the most obviously troubled, though its reverse acquisition of eMachines might be the solution the company has been looking for. Well know more once we see how holiday sales add up. Gateway could go totally belly-up more easily than any of the other nine.

Apple doesnt seem likely to get out of its flagship PC business, although by the time 2007 arrives we may be referring to the iPod as Apples flagship.

That leaves two companies named Fujitsu, as well as NEC and Toshiba. Of the four, NEC could leave the PC business without being missed. Toshiba still has a business and seems likely to stay put. Fujitsu Siemens is the top European PC company, while Fujitsu Ltd. is the big Japanese company, best known in the United States for its Tablet PC models.

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As Tablet PCs go mainstream, Fujitsu Ltd. may be unable to remain in a market that it helped pioneer. Its hard to imagine Europe saying bye-bye to Siemens, though the Germans taking on a Japanese partner, well, I guess it has happened before.

Taking all this into account, but without detailed financial or sales number crunching, heres the order in which I handicap these companies, from most likely to be around as a PC company on Jan. 1, 2008, to least likely.

1. Dell
2. Lenovo Group
3. Apple
4. HP
5. Toshiba
6 Fujitsu Siemens
7. IBM
8. Gateway
9. Fujitsu Ltd.
10. NEC

If Gartner is right, that means Gateway, Fujitsu Ltd. and NEC are goners. But if either IBM or HP spins out its PC business, then things look better for one of the three.

My hope is that all these companies will "make it" and be around in 2008. Thats not impossible, but I agree with Gartner that its unlikely. As to which companies may leave the PC business, you have my educated guess, but its not offered with much feeling. I think its more likely all will survive than three will leave. At least, thats how Id like to see things turn out.

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