After alienating its channel by going direct to the Victorian Government with a 37,000-unit notebook deal last month (see ARN November 4, page 1), it now appears the PC vendor is diverting stock away from resellers to fulfil that mammoth order. Acer denies this to be the case, but its distributors and resellers suggest otherwise.
"We can't lay our hands on one. They really did pull the rug out from under the channel last month," Roger Bushell, managing director at distributor Computer Hardware Australia told ARN last week.
Bushell said Acer has informed him stock of the Extensa 500T notebook that he was promised in November will now not be available until January. He feels the channel people at Acer are doing their best to get stock to distributors but they are being overruled by senior management which, he understands, is diverting available stock to the Victorian DOE contract.
"There is stock in the country, but they are not allocating it to the channel, which s hard to understand," Bushell said. "They have spent a lot of money on consumer promotions including giving away Palm Pilots with every purchase. This is generating demand at retail but without stock, we are unable to supply the dealers."
David Wong, marketing manager with Elite Industries, which is also an Acer notebook distributor, confirmed that it too was unable to get any Extensa 500 series stock during November.
He said Elite was expecting some stock of the 500DX to come through this week, but the more popular and very price-competitive 500T model is causing far more concern.
One dealer, who asked not to be named, said the official reason from an Acer distributor was that there has been a breakdown in the supply of screens from Hitachi. He said that he is now in the embarrassing position of having just produced a Christmas/summer catalogue at great expense for his multi- outlet business.
The source said he has had Extensa notebooks on back order since October, and he is now being told he will not be getting them until January.
Charles Chung, marketing director at Acer, denied there was any connection between the supply problems it is experiencing with the Extensa 500 series and the deal with Victorian DOE. He said the huge popularity of the product all over the world has forced a period of production allocation and, while some stock is getting through to Australia, supply is expected to remain patchy until the end of January.
In regards to how they are allocating stock that does get through, Chung said they are giving preference to the longest standing orders as well as to resellers who sell Acer products exclusively.