Why LCD display vendors are struggling

In the commercial LCD flat panel display market a few years ago there were more than 50 vendors vying for market share. That was a crazy situation to say the least.

The display market was ridiculous as brands such Famous and VisionQuest went up against  NEC, LG, Samsung and Viewsonic. This drove down prices and profitability, but I'm not so sure these tier two or three vendors brought any sort of quality to the market place.

Today, top brands such as NEC, LG, Samsung and Viewsonic have another problem on their hands — mobility.

Let's face some facts. Desktops are not going to be making a miraculous comeback. Customers are refreshing hardware with notebooks instead of desktops. The reasons are quite obvious: users like it, costs are low enough that it makes sense, makes people more productive and screen size is no longer an issue.

So what is happening? LG, Samsung and Viewsonic are making computing products. In the case of LG and Samsung they have notebooks and netbooks. Viewsonic is making slim line desktop systems. I still have not figured out what NEC is up to. Sales for desktop flat panel displays are not what they were a year ago. So these vendors are getting killed by notebooks.

The other problem they face is that LG, Samsung, Viewsonic computing products are not as accepted or popular as HP, Lenovo, Dell or Apple notebook products.

Therefore, these display manufacturers are stuck in a tough position. One way to help their situation is by positioning the flat panel display as an end point for cloud computing environments. The cloud can save desktop display sales but it will take a new approach to selling these units. The LCD vendors need to engage the channel on positioning products in this way. Cloud computing is not here yet on a mass scale, but it will be growing rapidly in the next few years. Now is the time for LG, Viewsonic, Samsung and NEC to campaign for the mind share of the channel if they want to save their display business long term.
One quick hit before I go. Gabriel Roy of Ingram Micro Canada will be leaving the distributor in the next few weeks. CDN wishes him well.

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