The controversies in the PC industries have a life unto their own. Take for instance the motherboard industry, which was relatively quiet during the RDRAM fiasco. Had companies or their CEOs spoken out back then, it probably would have ended the argument much sooner. The lack of immediate input from the motherboard industry may have been one of the contributing factors to the prolonged hold out of RDRAM for mainstream applications, which resulted in some consumer and investor confusion.
Taking a step back, we can somewhat see the motherboard industry scattered, disorganized, and reserved when it comes to controversies or any touchy subject. Many times this can be attributed to a fear of backlash from a corporate partner (i.e. chipset manufacturer) or the fall in their company stock. Additionally for many cultural reasons, business executives in Taiwan are introverted and competitive, sometimes even more so than their US counterparts. Realistically, this is often counterproductive to the PC industry, because it blockades information from passing onto end-user and institutions. Moreover, one CEO doesn't understand what his peers are thinking, and results in two companies often not understanding one another. This also leaves the public with a very one sided view of current topics related to the motherboard segment, because only chipset makers and other for-profit-organizations have their own motivations when they lend their thoughts.
The fact of the matter is that the balance of power in the motherboard industry is more dynamic, than any other. The processor market and the graphics market each have two major players. Depending on how you look at the motherboard industry, you can count upwards of 20 contenders, and a minimum of 3 major competitors. This split of power leaves each motherboard manufacturer handicapped, when it comes to confronting other industry partners or taking a stand on controversial issues.
AnandTech is seeking to help bring a certain balance of power and input to the PC industry, and it is with great excitement that we launch AnandTech's CEO Forum. We have gathered 13 of the motherboard industry's CEOs for what can be viewed as a virtual conference room once every quarter. This is an opportunity for CEOs of the motherboard board industry to bring a single voice to much of what is going on in the current marketplace on behalf of their respective companies.
The CEO Forum has been structured to give CEOs the ability to interact seamlessly with one another and the public with complete anonymity. Since it is anonymous, the significant risks for these CEOs to speak out on controversial and sensitive topics are eliminated, which leaves them free to exchange views on the current position of the industry and on the most relevant topics to the motherboard segment. By conducting this openly, it allows the motherboard industry, as a whole, to help shape the future of the PC industry and bring some much needed insight to the public's eye.
We presented the CEOs with a selection of 10 questions, the answers to which you will find in the coming pages. Our format has made it so that CEO #1 for question 1 is not the same CEO #1 for question 2 and so on. Comments made by each CEO have not been attributed to them and have been purposely jumbled around, so as to give a reasonably high level of anonymity to all participants.
Technically, all of the participants are not CEOs. Many of the Taiwanese companies don't use multiple titles (i.e. CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board) for a one person like many US based companies. Instead, they often use one of the three titles to designate their lead executive. Official titles aside, all participants are in the highest office at their company.
Participant - Official Title, Company.
Remond Lu - CEO, ABIT Computer
Jack Ko - CEO, Albatron Technology Co., LTD.
Bernie Tsai - President, AOpen Inc.
Jonney Shih - Chairman and CEO, Asustek Computer Inc.
Simon Ho - Chairman of the Board, Chaintech Computer
Yen-Chi Lu - Chairman of the Board, DFI
Johnson Chiang - Chairman of the Board, Elitegroup Computer Systems
Jerry C. Ferng - CEO, Epox Computer Co., LTD.
Richard Ma - Executive Vice President, Giga-Byte Technology
Joseph Hsu - CEO and President, Micro-Star International Co., LTD.
David Yu - President, Shuttle Inc.
Andy Cheu - President, SOYO Computer Inc.
Symon Chang - CEO, Tyan Computer
We would like to thank all of the aforementioned participants for their time, effort and cooperation. Without further ado, we present you AnandTech's first ever CEO Forum...