Acer Incorporated is a Taiwan-based multinational electronics manufacturer. Its product includes laptops, desktops as well as servers and storage, personal digital assistance (PDA), peripherals, peripherals and e-business services for government, business, education, and home users. Acer is the third largest computer manufacturer in the world behind HP and Dell. The company also owns the largest franchised computer retail chain in Taipei, Taiwan.

It was founded by Stan Shih, his wife Carolyn Yeh, and a group of five others as Multitech in 1976. The company was renamed Acer in 1987. It began with eleven employees and US$25,000 in capital. Initially, it was primarily a distributor of electronic parts and a consultant in the use of microprocessor technologies, but over time it began to develop as a PC manufacturer. The global headquarters is located in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. Acer began its foray into laptops with the purchase of Texas Instruments’ mobile PC division in 1997.

In 2000, the comapny spun off its manufacturing operations as Wistron Corporation, to focus on sales and marketing of their core brand. Acer grew worldwide while simultaneously minimizing its labour force by identifying and using marketing strategies that best utilized their existing distribution channels. By 2005, Acer employed a scant 7,800 people worldwide. Revenues rose from US$4.9 billion in 2003 to US$11.31 billion in 2006. Acer’s North American market share has slipped over the past few years, while in contrast, European market share has risen.

On August 27, 2007, it announced plans to acquire its US-based rival Gateway Inc. for US$710 million. Acer’s chairman, J.T. Wang, stated that the acquisition “completes Acer’s global footprint, by strengthening our US presence.” In January 2008, Acer announced that it had acquired a controlling interest of 75% of Packard Bell. The Acer 4Group is a family of four brands Acer, Gateway, Packard Bell and eMachines. This unique multi-brand strategy allows each brand to offer a unique set of brand characteristics that targets different customer needs in the global PC market.

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