Acer Quietly Poised To Surpass Dell As Second-Largest PC MakerS

Don't look now, but Acer—yes, that Acer—is on the verge of unseating Dell as the second-largest PC maker.

Acer's rise to the number two spot behind Hewlett-Packard was fueled in part by netbooks and other low-cost PC models, as well as what people in the biz call "vision" as it pertains to introducing new PC features months before the competition even knew consumers wanted them. The souring economy has helped too, notes the New York Times, as consumers were naturally inclined to reward PC companies that could sell them cheaper hardware.

Perhaps the biggest piece of the explosive growth puzzle, however, is Acer's relatively recent acquisition spree. The short list read, to me, like a laundry list of PCs that friends and I had owned in the early 1990s:

Over the last two years, it has acquired brands like eMachines, Gateway and Packard Bell. It pitches eMachines as its most affordable brand, while Acer-branded products cater to the mainstream. The Gateway moniker covers more expensive, flashier computers in the United States, while the Packard Bell brand serves the same purpose in Europe.

The four-front branding assault adds a thick layer of complexity to the company's ultimate goal of establishing a consistent image around the globe. But Mr. Lanci says PC makers must follow the lead of automobile companies and the likes of Procter & Gamble with a brand for every occasion now that consumers make up such a large part of the computer business.

These factors have combined to give Acer a sure shot at dethroning the mighty Dell as the No. 2 PC maker. That fact sat strangely with us at Gizmodo today, if only because of the scant anecdotal evidence we've associated with the brand: Neither Blam or I could name one person we know who owns an Acer computer.

Obviously someone is buying all these computers (and that comment isn't meant as a sleight against Acer at all), but who? You? [NYT]