The tech newswheel is turning with the rumour that Acer is about to step in and buy budget PC-maker Packard Bell . Acer is the fourth biggest PC manufacturer globally, while according to the company's own stats Packard Bell is number three in the European PC consumer market. It's also in the top three manufacturers in the UK, having a good relationship with a certain globe-titled PC retailer.

The story first emerged in the Taipei Times , who say the deal is close. Henry Wang, a senior PR official at Acer Taiwan, said the company wasn't able to offer comment saying "There may be some changes going on in the deal." He also indicated the timescale was unknown, though it would definitely appear something is in the offing.

While Acer laptops are familiar in the UK, its presence in the desktop sector is tiny, something the company will surely be hoping to rectify with the deal.

Yesterday Acer's president, Gianfrano Lanci, attacked Windows Vista , saying the "whole industry" was "disappointed" with the new OS.