Many of AST's problems developed last year after the company bought Tandy's Texas-based manufacturing operation. To take advantage of Tandy's bigger facilities, AST relocated several hundred jobs from California to Texas and moved an assembly plant from Scotland to Ireland. A total of 1,000 jobs were eliminated, and 850 positions were created in the moves.
The shuffling slowed both production and product development efforts, which have been further hampered by shortages of components manufactured by outside vendors. The company consequently announced last month that its newest notebook computers and CD-ROM-equipped personal computers would be delayed.
Dube said the company "will not recover until it gets a great line out and beats the competition. Right now they are getting slaughtered by Compaq and IBM."
A recent report by Dataquick shows that AST lost almost a fourth of its share of the PC market last year, falling to a 2.8% share from 3.6% in 1992.
But AST can get back on track, said Albert Wong, who with Qureshey and Thomas Yuen co-founded the company in 1980. "They are doing what they have to do," said Wong, an engineering and manufacturing processes specialist who left the company in 1989 to strike out on his own.
AST, with almost $2.4 billion in annual sales, "is a substantial company," Wong said. "And they will change their product line and their business (strategy) to meet what the market demands."
The key, though, analysts said, is whether the company can make the changes fast enough.
"If you miss a month or two, it takes a long time to get back on track," Dube said. "The question is whether they can regain the market share they have lost."