Tag: Dell

Apple iWatch faces further delays

Photo of China from satellite - Wikimedia CommonsLabour shortages in China mean that Apple’s iWatch is likely to be delayed even further, and is causing problems for other multinationals too.

According to Digitimes, the labour shortages are so severe that people like Dell have asked their original design manufacturers (ODM) to start making machines early so they won’t be caught short in 2015.

The lead ODM for the Apple iWatch is Taiwanese company Quanta Computer.

But there’s bright news for manufactuers. It appears orders for notebooks are showing a surge in the fourth quarter of this year even though things will follow a familiar pattern in the first quarter of 2015 with orders few and far between.

The labour shortages have existed for some years but Digitimes thinks they will be worse than ever in 2015, exacerbated by the lunar New Year which causes mass migration of people in mainland China.

The ODMs are mostly Taiwanese companies which have outsourced their manufacturing to mainland China as tensions eased between the two countries.

Samsung squeezes its suppliers

samsung-hqIn a bid to cut prices and keep pace with its competitors it appears Korean giant Samsung is putting pressure on its suppliers to cut their prices.

Digitimes reports that Samsung wants some component suppliers for its display business to slash their prices, in some cases by as much as 30 percent during this quarter.

The display business not only services the creation of monitors and TVs made by Samsung, but also, and in this case more crucially, displays on smartphones.

Samsung has seen its market share on tablets and smartphones show something of a decline in 2014 and wants to reverse that trend.

The same report said that Samsung is also slashing prices on its OLED displays in a bid to attract more customers to the technology.  Expensive to develop, OLED needs volumes to sell in order to achieve payback for the R&D.

Lenovo and Dell are both likely customers for OLED displays – a significant design win for Samsung if the report proves to be true.

Why Apple’s corporate plans are doomed

Map09_oh_noes_two_elementalsKing of consumer toys, Apple is attempting its biggest push into the consumer market, according to Reuters.

Reuters claims that Apple is hiring a dedicated sales force just to talk with potential clients like Citigroup.

This is on top of its partnership with IBM to develop apps for corporate clients and sell them on devices, the iPhone maker plans to challenge sector leaders HP, Dell, Oracle and SAP.

Of course no one is saying much in the way of details, Reuters seems to think that the deal with Big Blue will mean that Apple will be welcomed into the corporate world and give HP and Dell a kicking.  This will result in the collapse of Microsoft, Samsung and Google’s own efforts in mobile work applications.

Apparently Job’s Mob is working closely with a group of startups, including ServiceMax and PlanGrid, that already specialise in selling apps to corporate America. Apple is already in talks with other mobile enterprise developers to bring them into a more formal partnership.

For example, PlanGrid is a mobile app for construction workers to share and view blueprints. ServiceMax is a mobile app that makes it easy for companies to manage fleets of field service technicians by ensuring they have access to the right information.

ServiceMax, whose existing customers include Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and DuPont, has co-hosted eight dinners with Apple over the past year in locations across the United States. About 25 or 30 chief information officers and “chief service officers” typically show up at these joint marketing and sales events.

But there are huge problems with Reuter’s desire to see Apple in charge of the world. The most obvious is that Apple makes toys it does not make corporate devices. Corporates are obsessed with security, Apple’s iCloud can’t even protect b list celebs from having their naked pictures being hacked.

Tablets were an Apple inspired Fad and any belief that corporates will rush to buy them never really happened. If they are ever adopted by corporates, they will be a low-level function which will require something a lot cheaper than Jobs’ Mob wants to support. Apple really needed BYOD to take off, which it didn’t.

Apple’s success has been due to its cult following, but religion does not work very well when it comes to business. Apple lacks functionality with business systems, corporates also take a dim view of the sort of things that Apple user agreements desire from their followers. Apple is also slow to confirm security flaws, and even slower to fix them. Its insistence on its own security, rather than that of the client also does not sit well with big business.

In short, to get business customers, Apple needs to change its mentality – something historically it has been unable to do. It not only has to deal with the experts in business, such as Microsoft, HP, Dell and SAP, its traditional rivals, such as Samsung are also harbour similar ambitions.

Samsung has confirmed that it is stepping up its efforts to sell devices to large enterprise clients and hired former chief information officer Robin Bienfait to spearhead that effort. It might hit the same experience problems that Apple has, and there is no reason to suspect it will be any more successful.

Apple’s IBM partnership might not be that key to the corporations either. It relies on IBM’s sales team selling Apple projects. IBM has as much experience selling consumer products as Apple has selling into business. Jobs’ Mob also has no clue about business software, which is the key to getting into the business market — for decades its networking technology has been the weak point of the few Apple installations in corporates.

Apple appears to hope that if it can hook the client on the software and content, they will keep them coming back for the hardware. However, that simply does not work in the corporates. Hell, Microsoft was unable to get corporates to upgrade to Windows 7 because they could not see a need.  What chance does Apple’s business model have against that attitude?

Notebook PC sales slumped in October

notebooksOctober was always one of the months where computer vendors expected to do well.

But, according to research from Digitimes Research, shipments fell by an average of 15 percent.

The slump in shipments affected not only the branded vendors like HP, Dell and the like, but also the top three original design manufacturers (ODMs) – those are manufacturers which make unbranded machines.

The researchers believe the fall was caused because many companies released cheaper notebooks in September.

HP, in particular, suffered a decline in shipments while dell, Asustek and Lenovo also showed a fall compared to the same month in 2013.

The researchers believe that HP will see its notebook business suffer in 2015 as a result of the decision to split the company in two.

Workstation market continues to grow

hpworkstationDesktop PCs and notebooks might not be the flavour of the decade but the need for powerful workstations continues to grow.

IDC released figures showing that worldwide shipments of certified workstations rose in the third quarter by 7.6 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2013.

A total of 930,894 units shipped and IDC said that this is the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth in what remains a competitive market.

Worldwide, the Middle East and Africa grew by 39.3 percent year on year, Latin America grew by 31.6 percent, and the US and Western Europe, with market shares of 39.2 percent and 25.1 percent grew by 6.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.

There aren’t that many vendors selling desktop workstations but HP continues to be the top dog with a 45.8 percent market share.

Dell grew by two percent year on year and has a 36.6 percent market share, while Lenovo has a year on year growth of 24.8  percent, growing its share 2.3 points and with an 11.7 percent slice of the market worldwide.

Fujitsu and NEC came in at fourth and fifth, showing only single digit market shares.

Tablet demand slows to standstill

Raphael painting: Moses receiving the tablets, Wikimedia CommonsA report said that during the third quarter of 2014, shipments of tablets worldwide amounted to 63.4 million unit only one percent up from the same quarter last year.

And the impetus for Apple iPads flatlined during the third quarter, largely affected by delays in shipments, according to Digitimes Research.

White box tablets only amounted to 26.2 million during the third quarter and that’s even after Intel subsidies in an attempt to boost market share.

Samsung is the second biggest supplier but the research suggests it will take a cautious approach to shipments during 2015.

The other biggest vendors for tablets are Asustek, Lenovo, Acer, Amazon and Dell.

Most analysts say that the tablet market is close to saturation in Western Europe and in North America – and there are few compelling reasons for people to upgrade from their existing models.

Dell counter attacks against rivals

Conan 1While Michael Dell was fighting to take his tin box outfit private, his rivals used the uncertainty to steal his customers – now he is counter-attacking.  

Dell opened the Dell World conference and wasted no time denouncing the “turmoil” his rivals in the industry are going through.

“They’re splitting away businesses, spinning off pieces of their businesses, and one has to ask the question: who is this for? Does this actually help the customers? Does it help them create the next great innovative products?”

It is deeply ironic for Dell. At the time HP Meg Whitman was calling Hewlett-Packard a “paragon of stability” compared to his company and IBM smugly told his customers that he was doomed.

Now Dell can point out that Whitman is breaking the the company in two. And IBM is selling its x86 server business to Lenovo and fighting to keep its profits above water.

Because the company is private, Dell does not have to worry about those quarterly targets and can plan.  He even had a dig at Carl Icahn who made him pay millions more to take his company private.

“Dell can focus on a future that’s “beyond the next quarter, the next year or the next shareholder activist,” he said.

Dell’s PC shipments grew almost 20 percent in the U.S. last quarter, Michael Dell said, faster than those of HP and Apple.

Today Dell is expected to announce a new “converged infrastructure” system called the PowerEdge FX, he said, which combines servers, network and storage in a new design that offers “the most density in the world.”

Datacentre automation market worth billions

server-racksA report by Markets and Markets estimated that by 2019 the datacentre automation market will be worth $7.53 billion.

The report said that demand for fast data access and storage continues to rise and that’s creating more and more datacentres.  Datacentre automation is sometimes known as Software Defined Data Centres (SDDCs).  Automation helps management deal with scalability, flexibility, manageability and reduced costs.

The market research company said it segments the datacentre automation market by hardware such as network automation, server automation and storage automation.  It also values the secor by service including consulting services, installation and support.

The demand for data is forcing businesses to either build new datacentres or upgrade existing sites.

And the cost of datacentre infrastructure continues to increase at the same time as IT budgets continues to decrease.

Majr vendors in the industry include HP, Oracle, Dell, Brocade, Cisco, IBM, CA and BMC Software.

Dell comes back from the dead

i-walked-with-a-zombie-from-left-everettBeancounters at IDC are claiming that Dell’s US shipments grew 19.7 percent during the third calendar quarter of 2014.

If this is the case, then it would appear that business is turning around for the tin box shifter.

Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman, Operations, and president, Client Solutions said that the reason for the increase was a strong notebook performance in the US and accompanying overall worldwide growth reflects the continued momentum. He said Dell did not intend to slow down.

“You can expect us to maintain our strategy of investing in the PC business, with more additions to our portfolio to be announced next week at Dell World,”Clarke said.

Dell was showing off its PC business in which it said had its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year gains in global share and grew more in the third quarter than its top two US competitors combined.

Dell also talked about its commercial portfolio which appeared to be focusing on higher performance PCs and thin clients.

Dell also claimed there was a growing demand for flexible 2-in-1 products in the work environment with the Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1.

Now that the outfit has gone private we have no way of checking any of this as it does not have to share anything and we have to take its word for it.

Forrest joins AMD

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<p>© ParamountAMD has hired a former Dell senior executive to lead the chipmaker’s push into microservers.

AMD said that Forrest Norrod will be senior vice president and general manager of AMD’s enterprise, embedded and semi-custom business group and report to Chief Executive Lisa Su.

Norrod, 49, ran Dell’s server business and joins AMD as the company develops chips for new low-power servers that might challenge heavyweight Intel in cutting-edge data centres.

AMD has been expanding into new markets including low-power “microservers” and game consoles, but progress has been slow.

Earlier this month, Su took over as CEO, replacing Rory Read. Norrod fills Su’s previous position, which she had held temporarily since July.

Following Su’s appointment as CEO, AMD announced on Oct. 16 it was cutting 7 percent of its workforce to reduce costs.

Dell was the man behind the creation of Dell’s first internal startup focused on the hyper-scale datacentre market as the vice president and general manager, Data Center Solutions (DCS). He held several engineering leadership roles previously at Dell, starting as CTO of Client Products before leading Enterprise Engineering and ultimately having responsibility for all of Dell’s global engineering teams.

Prior to Dell, he ran the integrated x86 CPU business at Cyrix and National Semiconductor.

Dell takes aim at HP business

Andy Zollo, channel director Dell EMEAThe decision by HP to split itself into two will offer opportunities for Dell to take more business.

That’s according to Andy Zollo, director of channels at Dell EMEA, who said today that its own plans will allow it to sell software, services and hardware to a number of new customers.

Zollo said that Dell had embarked on a series of roadshows throughout Europe over the last several weeks to educate its partners on opportunities open to them.

Dell – formerly known primarily as a hardware company – now has a wide portfolio of products and has appointed partner development managers to offer one single “backside to kick”.

He said Dell now has a much closer relationship with a wide range of partners aimed at introducing them to enterprise customers.

Zollo said that any major change to an organisation – such as recently happened with HP – tends to have a disruptive effect, and Dell will feed on the changes that are bound to happen.

PC shipments still shrinking

A not so mobile X86 PCWhile Intel turned in remarkably buoyant financial results last week, the news remains somewhat gloomy on the PC front.

Figures released by IDC showed that shipments to consumers in the potentially lucrative Asia Pacific region in the third quarter of this year fell by five percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Sales were up compared to the previous quarter by eight percent and totalled 26.6 million units.

China and India showed better than expected shipments in the quarter.

Handoko Andi, research manager for client devices at IDC said: “[Windows] XP migration helped boost commercial PC spending earlier this year.  But in recent quarters, we have seen Microsoft add a lot to the entry level segment by launching the Windows 8.1 with Bing programme.”

Lenovo is numero uno iin the region, followed by Dell, HP, Acer and Asus.  HP showed a decline of 16.1 percent in shipments in the region compared to the same quarter last year, while Acer showed an 11.2 percent decline.

Notebook shipments creep up

notebooksSales of notebooks in the third quarter of this year are only up by 2.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year, despite bullish talk by vendors like Microsoft and Intel.

Digitimes Research said shipments for the calendar third quarter amounted to 45.198 million units, with HP being the top dog worldwide.

HP had a market share of 21 percent, Lenovo 20.9 percent, Dell 12.5 percent, Acer 9.7 percent, Apple 8.5 percent, Asustek 8.3 percent and Toshiba 6.2 percent, the Taiwanese research unit estimated.

These of course are the brand names, but many of the notebooks are made by original design manufacturers (ODMs) based in Taiwan.  These ODMs accounted for a significant 36,958 notebooks in the quarter.

The ODM battle is fought between Compal (34.5%), Wistron (15.7%), Inventec (6.7%) and Pegatron (5.7%).

Digitimes Research also breaks out the shipments in terms of screen sizes with 8.2 percent being sub 12 inch models, 13 percent 12 inch notebooks, 13 percent 13 inch units, 22.7 percent 14 inch units, 47.2 percent 15 inch notebooks and 6.1 percent 16 inches and above.

The market research unit does not, however, appear to have provided figures for touch and non touch screen machines.

Battery will warn you before it explodes

Picture, Stanford UniversityScientists at Stanford University claim to have developed a so-called “smart” lithium ion battery that warns people before it overheats and bursts into an inferno.

The scientists claim that the early warning system uses a very thin copper sensor deposited on top of a conventional battery separator.

The use of such a device is clear, following a recent accident where a person’s smartphone burst into flames while she was using it.

Yi Cui, associate professor of materials science at Stanford, said: “Our goal is to create an early warning system that saves lives and property.  The system can detect problems that occur during the normal operation of a battery, but it does not apply to batteries damaged in a collion or other incident.”

Last year Boeing grounded its 787 Dreamliner fleet after batteries caught fire.  Then there was the famous incident in 2006 when a Dell notebook caught fire in Japan.

But while the odds of batteries catching fire are one in a million, said Cui, hundreds of millions of computers and smartphones are sold every year.

The smart separator will alert people when it’s time to change their batteries, just in case.

Notebook players change their focus

server-racksA few weeks back we reported that the lucrative datacentre market could well be the target for new vendors to enter the fray.

Now there’s some hard evidence for that. Taiwanese firm Quanta Computer, which previously played in the original design manufacturer (ODM) game, and made notebooks for the major brands, has branched out into the server market.

Digitimes reports that Quanta has completely re-invented itself and is positioning itself to sell into the European datacentre market.

It is offering servers and services to European datacentres and has hired a sales team specifically for the territory.

It faces stiff competition from the likes of HP and Dell. But the advantage it has is that it has its own manufacturing and further has played the very slim margin game when it made notebooks for multinational brands like HP and Dell.

The move is likely to be good value for the datacentre buyers because there’s no doubt such moves will prompt something of a price war in the sector.