Acer Betting the Firm on Ultrabooks?

J.T.Wang, the CEO of Taiwanese tech powerhouse Acer, has confirmed that its company will try to sell ultrabooks in a bid to drive up prices and profits. Wang told Dow Jones "Ultrabooks will become our key growth driver next year as customers want a lighter, thinner notebook with longer battery life" before adding that "Selling more ultrabooks will also help improve our profit margins as they command higher prices."

Acer, which acquired the likes of Packard Bell, eMachines and Gateway, in a bid to become the world's biggest PC manufacturer, has had to live with very low profitability, the rising threat of Lenovo, a resurgent Dell and a biting recession.

Whether Ultrabooks are the panacea remains to be seen. The number of PC units shipped by Acer dropped by nearly a quarter over a 12-month period, which shows the fragility of a business built on low prices.

Ultrabooks are, in effect, posher versions of the netbooks. The hardware specifications are still being handled by Intel - with Microsoft notably absent - and apart from the fact that profit margins are likely to be wafer thin again (because of the competition), they will also have to contend with Apple's MacBook Air.