Update 7:50AM 6/25/2015: ECS president Sunny Yang has denied the reports and issues the following statement.
“We feel regret to learn the untrue report from DIGITIMES pertaining to “ECS to quit own-brand DIY motherboard business, say Taiwan makers” on Jun. 24, 2015. We like to formally clarify that ECS would never give up any opportunity to work on own-brand DIY motherboard as what we always commit to our valuable customers.
We all learn the knee competition in motherboard industry. To receive the challenge, ECS has made all the efforts to manage our own brand motherboard and create more service and value to our channel customers for years. We would continue to put more resources to provide cutting edge products and marketing events as what we just announced at Taipei Computex in early June and, therefore, enhance our brand value and your confidence level.
ECS has been cooperating with you for many years, we treasure this relationship. We will also do our best to serve your needs through our global structures. We believe, through our close cooperation, a mutually beneficial result can be achieved in a long-term relationship.”
Original Text: You might be asking yourself, “ECS who?” And indeed the fact that you’re asking is perhaps the answer to why Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is looking likely to pack up its bags and leave the consumer-facing motherboard market. For years it’s produced reasonably competitive end-user products, but if Abit and DFI’s demise a few years ago has told us anything, longevity is no guarantee of a future, so ECS will now be refocusing its efforts.
Even though it won’t be selling products to the likes of us anymore, it will still be making motherboards — the branding just won’t be so important. Moving forward it’s going to be marketing its hardware to OEMs and ODMs, both of which it has a much stronger relationship with than gamers and enthusiasts.
Despite the high price tags of many of the more featureful motherboards out there, it is not a business with much of a margin, which means volume is key. Unfortunately for ECS, it just could not compete with the likes of ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI, which have names that are sufficiently well established that they can afford to take home an even smaller profit on each board sold.
By removing itself from a market that requires looks as well as performance, ECS can focus on creating functional, low-cost boards for pre-built systems, which will mean it can retain a stake in the motherboard industry, alongside its many other ventures.
However, if rumors are to be believed, that same industry may become a little bit more lonely in the near future, as an unnamed Digitimes source has suggested that by this time next year, we could see another motherboard manufacturer leaving the business behind.
There are a few companies out there experiencing shortages in sales, but which one is struggling enough to wave goodbye?