"We know where we were. We know we were one of the top three," said Ian Whetzel, Antec's new Marketing Director, at the company's suite at CES 2015. Tom's Hardware was present to see whatever it was that Antec had to offer, and to be honest, we weren't expecting to see much.
Antec was a big name in cases until fairly recently, when it just sort of dropped off the map. We almost didn't bother stopping by to see Antec at CES because it had been so long since the company had anything particularly interesting to demo. We'd seen a new chassis, the P380, at Computex, but it wasn't really finished, and regardless, it wasn't very compelling.
Whetzel acknowledged all of this. He pointed to the 2008 economic crash as a pain point; Antec's various teams were in flux starting at that time, and the company lost its way to an extent. He didn't hide behind excuses, though, stating that Antec is owning its mistakes. "People get tired of [companies refusing to own their mistakes]. It doesn't work, it doesn't do you any good. Sometimes you just have to say, 'You know what? Sorry.'"
"[Antec has] been around for 20 years. The company's had its highs and its lows -- we all go through it -- the difference is we recognize it, and we're actively addressing and fixing it," he added.
Antec has hired some key pieces recently, including Whetzel as the guy tasked with rebuilding the marketing team, as well as a new sales VP. Antec has also been looking to branch out with its designs, and it has looked to the community for user feedback.
That was clearly on display, as it were, with the P380 case. It's changed since we saw it back at Computex (which you can read all about here), and those changes came about because of community input.
"Based on all the feedback [Antec] got, they went back to the drawing board and retooled it. In the past, we might not have done that. Now, we're changing the mindsets internally, and we're going to show that to everybody externally," said Whetzel. He said that Antec is listening to its consumers and its partners, trying to build products that reflect how its customers actually use things, not how Antec thinks they should use things.
Antec is wide open on social media, and it's attending LAN fests and other events where people who are passionate about gaming congregate.
"We want them to come back and see what we're going to do, because it's going to be a brand new Antec," said Whetzel.
The company does have to rebuild trust with consumers, and tech journalists, but it's doing all the right things so far. It's owning up to past failures and listening to its customers. The P380 should be just the beginning of a steady stream of products from the new and improved Antec.