One of the top-four motherboard makers, Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology, Elite group Computer Systems (ECS) and Micro-Star International (MSI), will drop out of the market within the next few years since the limited expansion of the market will not be able to support the growth of the four giants any more, according to Henry Lu, vice president of products at MSI.
Notebook shipments recently hit the critical industry milestone of surpassing those of desktop PCs, pointed out Lu. Additionally, shipments of motherboards and graphics cards have been on the decline since the third quarter of 2008 indicating that the market will not see any further expansion, Lu said. The exit of some second-tier motherboard makers mean the market will be able to support the top-four makers over the next three years, but not much beyond that, Lu predicted.
After the three years, one of the top-four makers will need to be eliminated from the market in order for the other three to remain profitable, said Lu. In the meantime, the makers are likely to see motherboard shipments maintain level or decline slightly.
With demand from Europe and North America dropping plus all the makers have been trying to clear inventory, non of the first-tier motherboard makers achieved their shipment goals in 2008, while some second-tier makers even saw their revenues and shipments from the motherboard segment drop by half, according to industry sources.