Category: News

European PC market continues downward spiral

pc-sales-slumpThe global PC market contracted 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and Europe seems to have taken the worst hit. Sales of PCs in Western Europe fell off a cliff in the first three months of the year and they are down 20.5 percent year-on-year. Big brands like Acer and HP did even worse, experiencing a drop in excess of 30 percent. 

Mobile data traffic to increase 1,000 times beyond 2020

ericsson-logoConsumers and carriers are slowly but surely transitioning to 4G and the hunger for high speed broadband on the go is  transforming the way we use our clever mobile devices, including traditional kit like notebooks. Earlier this week Samsung announced its first 5G milestone, proudly telling the world that 1Gbps 5G is coming by 2020.

Oracle opens data centre for UK G-Cloud

consultoracleOracle is opening a data centre in the UK to support the government’s G-Cloud procurement project, designed to provide more choice to public sector departments.

This data centre will be designed specifically to support cloud service provisioning within public procurement, including those procured through G-Cloud Framework and CloudStore.

In a statement, Oracle said the data centre will be compliant with the ILS information assurance standard, as required by government departments looking to use cloud services. Some independent software vendors will also be able to use the facility.

The company boasted it will bring further jobs to the Thames Valley area, where Oracle’s British HQ is based.

HP exile and Oracle president Mark Hurd said in a statement that Oracle is “committed to working with public administrations around the world” and that the company applauds the G-cloud programme, believing it to be a “significant step change in the provision of public sector IT services”.

 ChannelEye has approached Oracle for further comment, but has not received a reply at time of publication.

Handset sales up, Samsung gains share

nexus4-ceSmartphone wars are becoming rather predictable. Every quarter sales notch up and every quarter Samsung emerges as the big winner. The last quarter was no exception. However, growth is slowing as the market matures, although there is still plenty of room for growth in emerging markets. 

Worldwide phone sales totalled 426 million units in the first quarter, up 0.7 percent year-on-year. Smartphones saw a lot more growth, with sales totalling 2010 million units, up 42.9 percent from a year ago, according to a Gartner survey.

Sales of feature phones are down in all regions except Asia, while smartphones accounted for 49.3 percent of all phone sales worldwide, up from 34.8 percent in Q1 2012. At the same time feature phone sales contracted 21.8 percent.

“Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further, either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said.

Samsung saw its market share go up from 21.1 percent to 23.6 percent. Apple also did well, growing from 7.8 to 9 percent, while Nokia’s share dropped from 19.7 to 14.8 percent. However, looking at smartphone sales, Samsung’s share was 30.8 percent, up from 27.6 percent. It was trailed by Apple at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent. LG grabbed the bronze, with a 4.8 percent share. Huawei also had a good quarter, upping their share to 4.4 and 3.8 percent respectively and outperforming former heavyweights like Nokia, Sony and HTC.

Android is still the dominant mobile operating system, with a share of 74.4 percent, up from 56.9 a year earlier. Apple’s iOS share stands at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent a year ago. Just so it wouldn’t look like a two-horse race, Blackberry is still in the game with a 3 percent share, down from 6.8 percent last year. Apparently BB10 did not make a huge difference. Windows Phone has a 2.9 percent share, up from 1.9 percent last year. It is growing, but at a painfully slow rate.

Sharp announces new head honcho

sharplogoSharp has announced that it has made Kozo Takahashi its new president and CEO.

The Japanese company, which last week reported a loss of $5.4 billion, has said that the current executive vice president will take the president and CEO title from 25 June.

The announcement as part of a business reorganisation aimed at helping the company return to a profit in March 2014.

The company also needs to make repayments for a new loan in September.

Last week it was reported that the company was planning to axe 5,000 of its 51,000 workers over the next three years in China and Malaysia as well as halving the number of workers at its head offices and cutting its board members by half.

Avnet gets supply gong

avnettsAvnet seems to be proud as punch that it has been named as one of the 2013 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100.

The distie boasts that it has landed a place of the list, which recognises the organisation’s leadership in assisting the supply chain function, for its expertise in the field.

More than 200 projects were submitted for the 2013 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100. Avnet said its winning project addressed the service field replacement unit needs of a global customer.

The project was managed by Wade McDaniel, vice president of solutions development at Avnet, and his team.

Gerry Fay, chief global logistics and operations officer at Avnet said Wade and his team developed a solution that provided important supply chain visibility for customers.

He added this let them quickly receive replacement components in the field in “a just-in-time manner, helping them accomplish their global supply chain challenge”.

Companies listed on the 2013 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100 are supply chain service providers that are helping their customers and clients achieve supply chain excellence.

VIP and Gunnar sign distie deal

VIPVIP Computers has expanded its accessories range.

The distie has signed on the dotted line with Gunnar Optiks, a manufacturer of computer performance eyewear.

The deal, which will cover the UK market, comes after the company expanded its distribution in France, Mexico and Cambodia and is part of an overall strategy to address the increasing global demand for technology eyewear.

Gunnar’s Advanced Gaming eyewear promises  to offer increased contrast for great visual accuracy, enhanced detail, reduction in glare, improved visual endurance for extended gaming sessions, and decreased amount of eye fatigue and dry eyes.

They are also designed for PC users who wear glasses and are claimed to help prevent eyes from getting tired, drying out and headaches, as they block out the blue light emitted by computer screens.

Duncan McAuley, Purchasing Director for VIP Computers said he was “delighted” to have the new client on board, while Gunnar was equally complimentary claiming it was “proud” of the partnership. That is nothing new.

Raise your glasses everyone…

Dell offers enterprise sweetener

dellsigDell has announced a partner discount for its enterprise range to coincide with the launch of Online Solutions Configurator, a web sales tool, announced today.

The idea behind Online Solutions Configurator is to help partners sell Dell kit online, customised or pre-configured. It’s integrated with deal registration as well, so partners can keep track of and close deals through the tool.

Online Solutions Configurator will enable quick access to pre-configured Dell products. The company hopes it will allow partners to price deals more easily to help simplify their tender process.

Laurent Binetti, GM EMEA channel, Dell, said in a statement that the tool was developed with partner feedback in mind, offering a collaborative sales tool that should make selling Dell’s Enterprise portfolio easier. The discount fund is an additional incentive.

The Configurator launches in the UK and Germany today. It should reach the Netherlands and France later this month.

Discounts will be available to registered, preferred and premier partners in the PartnerDirect scheeme in Europe. However, each discount is based on how much the partner has spent on Dell kit over the last five years. Partners have until 30 June to get their discount in, and applies to Dell PowerEdge, Dell Compellent, Dell EqualLogic, Dell PowerVault, Dell PowerConnect and Dell Force10.

Haswell notebooks head to retail channel

Intel-logoManufacturers are hoping that a new crop of notebooks based on Intel’s Haswell processors and Windows 8 can help them buck negative trends in the PC market. A torrent of announcements is expected at Taipei’s Computex next month and the first designs are ready and shipping.

The first Haswell-based notebooks have already shipped and they are expected to arrive in retail channels by the end of the month, which means we shouldn’t see many paper launches at Computex.

However, most vendors are playing it safe and they don’t appear to be placing huge orders. With the PC market contracting by double digits, one can hardly blame them for such caution. As a result, ODMs are expected to see little growth in May, but if vendors regain their confidence they could place more substantial orders in June and beyond. Digitimes reports that Quanta, Compal and Wistron all saw their shipments decline by 10 to 20 percent in April.

Intel is trying to rekindle interest in notebooks by issuing new design guidelines and trying to keep prices down. This is especially true of Ultrabooks, which failed to catch on due to their relatively high prices.

Intel is hoping to shave off a couple of hundred dollars from Ultrabook manufacturer suggested retail prices by the end of the year. In addition to new Haswell chips, a growing number of vendors are choosing to integrate touchscreens in their next-gen Ultrabooks.

It’s not just Intel’s skin on the line, either.

Microsoft is already taking a lot of flak over lacklustre Windows 8 sales, Nvidia is hoping to grow its discrete GPU market share on Haswell notebooks, Seagate and Western Digital have both rolled out Ultrabook friendly 5mm hard drives and hybrid drives and the list goes on.

With so much at stake, plenty of big players have a vested interest in helping Intel’s Haswell push, which offers some hope of good news for consumers as it should translate into better value for money.

EMC cosies up to SAP

cosyEMC has announced that it is moving to help its customers move workloads of SAP services to a next gen private cloud infrastructure.

The company also claims its helping to build a foundation for private cloud computing, which it hopes will keep it cosy with SAP and VMware by integrating their respective services capabilities and helping customers accelerate full-lifecycle transformation of SAP applications to virtualized x86 environments.

According to the company the new additions could help and IT companies and operations by simplifying the design, planning and operation of on-premise cloud computing infrastructures that take advantage of the latest EMC, SAP and VMware technologies.

Through a combination of services and products EMC, together with SAP and VMware, wants to enable customers running SAP solutions to simplify IT management and focus on innovation and competitive advantage while reducing costs. It says that its services tailored for private cloud optimisation of SAP products will help customers making the transformation to on-premise cloud computing to maximise productivity of SAP application-based workloads by documented the key components of a virtual stack designed to support a virtualised private cloud environment running SAP services.

The EMC Proven Solution for automated disaster recovery of SAP solutions is also claimed to outline how to extend private cloud infrastructures for disaster recovery across heterogeneous storage infrastructure as well as how to perform non-disruptive testing of disaster recovery plans. It is said to combine EMC RecoverPoint with VMware Site Recovery Manager to help provide customers disaster recovery using VMAX and VNX series interchangeably as production and disaster recovery storage for SAP applications.

Working in collaboration with SAP and VMware, EMC is also offering services designed to quickly and safely move workloads of SAP solutions to virtualized x86 environments that are high performing, easier and less expensive to manage.

DRAM shortage to last through 2013

nand-chipsThe DRAM supply shortage isn’t getting better and memory maker Inotera now believes it will drag on until the end of the year. Strong demand for smartphones and tablets is to blame, and prices are going up as well.

Inotera believes the drought could even extend into the next year. The average price of benchmark DDR3 4GB modules already rose 13 percent last month according to DRAMeXchange. In fact, the price of DDR3 4GB DRAM has already gone up by about 70 percent in 2013, reports Taipei Times.

DRAMeXchange said demand for DRAM is starting to pick up, reversing an extended period of oversupply. However, the shortage is not bad news for memory makers.

Inotera is hoping to do much better in the second quarter than in the first quarter, in which it managed to narrow its net loss. Memory maker Nanya was profitable in the first quarter and it is reporting that its average selling prices for Q1 rose 30.5 compared from the fourth quarter.

Although the PC slowdown did not help memory makers, phones, tablets and next-gen gaming consoles should help drive demand up and mitigate oversupply issues.

Supermarkets put customers’ health at risk

superUnscrupulous supermarket managers are putting the publics’ health at risk forcing staff to come in when they are unwell.

According to a range of sources who work for some of the UK’s well known supermarkets,  job cuts and tight rotas mean they have been ordered to turn up to work just hours after they have suffered sickness and diarrhoea.

The Food Standard Agency claims that people who work around open food while suffering
from these symptoms can contaminate the food or surfaces the food may come into contact with.

It advises that this can spread infection to other people through the food and tells business managers that they should encourage their staff to report their report these symptoms to management immediately.

Managers are also told to exclude staff with these symptoms from working with or around open food, normally for 48 hours from when symptoms stop naturally.

However it seems some supermarkets aren’t taking heed of these rules, rushing staff into work hours after they have called in sick or forcing them to come in despite claims of nausea and stomach upsets.

“I called my line manager to tell her I was feeling sick and feared it was the norovirus as my daughter had it the day before,” one checkout staffer told ChannelEye.

“However, I was ordered to go in. On my way in I was sick so called up again but was told to turn up anyway and see if my symptoms continued. By the time I turned up I was so unwell they took one look at me and sent me home. However, I’d already been inside the store and warehouse by then.”

Another added that staff cuts meant supermarkets weren’t following the correct procedures, telling ChannelEye, “I’ve been at the same store for 15 years and back then we had to take the correct 48 hours off and at times get a doctor’s letter to say we were fit for work. Now we’re expected to go back the day after.

“We just don’t have the staff to cover us for sick days off.”

 

 

Google ditches physical card

google-walletGoogle is planning to revamp its Google Wallet digital payments platform at Google I/O. However, it seems plans for a physical credit card have been shelved, at least for the time being.

According to AllThingsD, Google informed its staff that the card was ditched in a memo circulated after Google Wallet head Osama Bedier announced he is leaving the company.

However, although the card is history, Wallet is about to get a small revamp. Google will announce a number of changes at I/O, including an update to its rewards programme, more offers and loyalty points, along with the addition of more merchants.

Without a physical card though, Google Wallet will still rely solely on NFC technology, which hasn’t taken off yet. It was hoped that a proper card could push Google Wallet to the next level, but now it seems Google is rethinking its approach. Google doesn’t want to become a bank, or the next Visa. It wants to coexist with existing players and tap their vast infrastructure.

On the gossipy side, sources told AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes that Google CEO Larry Page pulled the plug on the card launch after he witnessed a glitchy demo last week. Apparently Page had long been sceptical of a physical card and the buggy demo was the last straw.

Salesforce gobbles up Clipboard

pacpacSalesforce has taken over Clipboard but is refusing to spit it out, marking an end to the company.

The customer relationship company bought the service, which allows users to save and share content for a reported figure in the ball park of $10 – $20 million, in a bid to get its foot into the social enterprise arena.

However the company doesn’t seem to want to continue with the service, which was launched two years. In a blog post Clipboard told its users: “We have some bittersweet news.

“We are extremely happy to announce that salesforce.com has signed an agreement to acquire Clipboard, allowing us to pursue our mission of saving and sharing the Web on a much larger scale.”

It said the service would be discontinued on June 30, 2013.

Clipboard’s CEO Gary Flake will be vice president of engineering at Salesforce.com. The company said that its core engineering and design team will join the cloud computing company to work at its Seattle office and report to Flake.

Users of Clipboard can still preserve their personal data in an archive from which the clips and boards can be viewed offline.