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A 'No Holds Barred' Interview with MSI
By CPU-zilla
Category : Interviews
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 30th April, 2004

About MSI's Upcoming Notebooks & Trends

HWZ : We saw a Tablet PC lookalike device at Computex last year and we thought it’s interesting that MSI is moving into notebook-like products. Does MSI have any plans to manufacture notebooks, now that Gigabyte has also entered the notebook space?

Vincent : Yes, we plan to introduce our ‘white box’ notebooks at the end of Q1 2004. ‘White box’ notebooks are actually barebone solutions which we’ll sell to various integrators who will then customize the notebook for their customers and then sell them under their own brand name. MSI will also introduce notebooks with their own brand name, on top of our ‘white box’ notebook business. Of course, we are also in the notebook OEM business.

The PenNote3100 is a Tablet PC lookalike device.

HWZ : What kind of special features can we expect to see in your upcoming notebooks?

Vincent : We’re going to run the notebook business in a new way. Unlike motherboards where service were normally handled by the distributors, notebooks would need specialized service centers to attend to user’s queries and issues. Thus, the way we’re running the business will be different from how we do it with our motherboards. In terms of features, for now, we have two new unique offerings called SMB (Smart Battery Technology) and ACS (Advanced Cooling System). I can't tell you much right now, but you'll definitely find out more when we launch the product.

HWZ : In your opinion, do you think notebooks would replace desktops in the next 10 to 20 years?

Vincent : Not in the next 5 years time, as we believe that processors would still be too hot for the notebook. We’ll have to find new ways to dissipate the heat output, otherwise, there’s no way that notebooks would replace the desktop. It may happen perhaps in 10-20 years time. According to IDC’s figures, in 2005, the number of notebooks and desktops will be the same. I believe in the future, every user would have two machines, a desktop and a notebook. The notebook would be a mobile PC that allows the user to compute anytime and anywhere. When it comes to intensive applications like games or video editing, the desktop will provide the performance.

The MSI M510C Centrino-based notebook displayed during CeBIT Hannover 2004.

HWZ : Why would someone choose an MSI-made notebook over other more established brands?

Vincent : Well, we have a reasonable price and I think that’s a very good value proposition for our customers. I believe it’s a good way for MSI to enter the market especially if you’re a newcomer to the industry. The shortest time to build your brand name would be to offer your products at a lower price. Of course that would not be good if you want to establish your brand at a higher level, but I think it’s fine if you’re doing it with products with short lifecycle.

Today, we see the notebook market growing at a tremendous rate. My CEO says, and I say so myself, that 2004 and 2005 would be the golden period for notebooks. We expect growth to hit the 20-40% mark every year within this period. A lot of people comment that it’s a bit too late for MSI to enter the notebook market. I would agree that it’s late, but we don’t have to put a lot of effort into learning the notebook trade. Today, users purchasing notebooks know what they want and we don’t have to educate and persuade users to buy them. Although we’re not the market pioneer, it’s still relatively easier for us to introduce our product to the market. It’s late, but it’s a good time for us and I believe timing is very important for us.

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