Acer will be the biggest PC company by 2012

Acer is on course to become the world’s biggest computer company. It will get there by hook or by crook before the end of 2012, even if it has to buy its way to the top.

And while its major competitors have struggled in the downturn - if that's what we'll call the bankers' catastrophe - Acer has done better than all of them. In fact, "the future looks much more brighter," or so says Walter Deppeler senior corporate VP at Acer, a German obliged to speak English in his own back yard thanks to us international hacks.

The bright horizon is illuminated by the fact small and medium-sized businesses are coming back online and eastern Europe is recovering. Sales dropped by a massive 70 per cent in Eastern Europe in the wake of the "financial crisis" Deppeler said. Sales overall were hit far harder in developing countries than in Western Europe and the US, he added.

Growth areas for the next year or two, product-wise, are the new all-in-ones which integrate touch-screen into the computer chassis. Notebooks for Acer are still a 20 to 30 per cent growth segment, as are netbooks - which Deppeler reminded us had outperformed all analysts' expectations.

Other growth segments giving Acer cause for optimism are the young - the under 12s in fact - and females, apparently. As well as us blokes who will have more than one device if not a whole collection - those that have jobs, that is. In Deppeler's words, we'll see a "much larger usage of female." We really shouldn't snicker.

Asked by THINQ why it is exactly that Acer wants to become the No 1 computer company, both Deppeler and country manager Stefan Engel (pictured right and left) declined to answer. Is it simply a question of prestige? There are no financial rewards after all.

In fact, we know the answer: It's because "Number One" is deeply embedded in the Taiwanese psyche. It would have been Stan Shih's instruction to the Italian management team he handed the firm over to just a few years ago.

Deppeler confessed that nothing will stand in the firm's way of achieving that goal. Acquisitions are certainly on the cards and may not be too far away, we surmise.

If by 2012 Acer hasn't become the $30 billion company it has set out to be, I'll eat my Thinqing Cap.