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Laptop sales crisis looms

Not enough safe batteries

The laptop PC sector is facing trouble as strong user demand for portable PCs is causing a shortage of components, said Henry King, executive director of technology research for Goldman Sachs (Asia), in Taipei.

At an investor conference last Friday, Acer executives said they expected to be able to procure only 95 per cent of the components they need to sell laptop PCs in the fourth quarter of this year, which is the peak season because of year-end holidays.

"Since the second half of August, we've seen demand rush in. We can't fill all of our [laptop] orders," said Gianfranco Lanci, president of Acer, at the conference. The world's fourth-largest PC vendor expects a short supply of laptop batteries as well as microprocessors.

A massive recall of laptop batteries by major PC vendors such as Dell and Apple has caused a shortage of batteries because it comes at the time of peak laptop demand for the year.

The recall was due to defective Sony parts that can cause the batteries to overheat and possibly catch fire. Sony expects the recall to total around 9.6 million batteries.

There are also concerns over desktop sales, as users wait for Microsoft's forthcoming and much-delayed Windows Vista OS (operating system) to ship.


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