News coming out of Taiwan from various sources is indicating that we can expect much pricier computers and computer related components later this year as a result of the disaster in Japan. This will, sooner or later, lead to a shortage of a wide range of components used in our beloved computers and gadgets. The really bad news is that things aren’t looking set to improve any time soon and there aren’t many other viable sources for much of what is in short supply.
Motherboard pricing is expected to go up next month by some five to eight percent and as if this wasn’t bad enough hard drive prices are expected to increase by 10 to 15 percent this quarter, if not more. In this case the blame lies with a shortage of spindle motors and controller chips and this is likely to be yet another long term issue until the companies that make such components get their factories up and running at a normal pace again. That requires certain chemicals in the supply chain as well as many of those companies are dependent on stable energy supplies to run machinery.
As if that in itself wasn’t bad enough, notebook pricing is also likely to follow, although it might not happen until the second half of this year, as there’s still enough stock of components here for another couple of months’ worth of production. As to exactly how much this price increase will be is anyone’s guess as this point in time, but it’s like to once again be in the 10 percent plus category as the notebook makers battle it out over the last stocks of whatever components it is that they need. Initially Acer went out and said that they didn’t expect to be severely affected by the Japanese disaster to any larger extent, but according to Taipei Times, the company is now expecting it to impact its costs early in the second half of this year.
The only happy news, if we dare call it that, is that the memory manufacturers are seeing an upward trend in memory pricing, something which will further impact the cost of computers and computer peripherals for consumers. This is a part of the industry that has suffered from very low pricing for quite a long period of time now and some of the smaller Taiwanese memory makers are already seeing revenue increases of five to 14 percent.
It also goes to show how vulnerable the whole computer and components industry is, as one major catastrophe is having repercussions throughout the industry. Part of the problem is that much of the high-end components and chip manufacturing is located in Japan and other parts of Asia and it’s not easy to shift the manufacturing to another facility, if there even is one within the same company located elsewhere in the world. It looks like we’ll have a long journey back to “normality” and it looks like we can expect higher prices for much of this year on all types of computers, gadgets and electronics that are either made in or rely on specific components made in Japan.S|A
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