While there’s some uncertainty about the future of PCs in the enterprise, there’s one area which continues to do well, and that’s desktop workstations.
IDC released a report saying that the global workstation market grew in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 8.8 percent – amounting to shipments of 946,089 units. For the whole year, shipments amounted to 3.7 million units, representing an 8.9 percent growth compared to 2013.
The USA and Western Europe have the lions share in the desktop workstation market. Both account for 63.6 percent of worldwide shipments.
But emerging markets are growing faster than developmed markets, with Latin America showing double digit growth for the fourth calendar quarter in a row.
HP is the leading vendor with 44.6 percent of market share, while Dell had 35.8 percent market share.
The number three vendor is Lenovo, which took share from both Dell and HP anc achieved 33.1 percent yearly growth. Fujitsu and NEC occupied the fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Major and minor vendors
saw precipitous falls in shipments of notebooks in January.
That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said HP saw its shipments fall by 45 percent and Lenovo fall by 30 percent compared to the previous month.
It wasn’t just the big names that suffered – the original design manufacturers – including giant Compal – saw its shipments fall too.
However, Compal supplies machines to both HP and Lenovo, the market research firm said.
Microsoft has been forced by incursions from Chromebooks to slash its licensing rate – but these machines are not immune to a more general decline in notebooks.
The news may be bad for HP and Lenovo but could be good news for people looking for notebook bargains – most of the machines sitting in warehouses are aimed at home use.
It’s still not entirely clear how Microsoft will approach the thorny matter of Windows 10 when that’s launched in the third or fourth quarter of this year. It also hasn’t disclosed how many different varieties of Windows 10 it will offer at launch.
There is some sentiment that people are holding off buying notebooks until they have a clearer picture of what is going to emerge from Redmond.
While there were shortages
of monitor panels last year that caused only 133.6 million units to ship, some vendors have done better than expected.
Those are vendors that bundle monitors with desktops, according to research outfit WitsView.
And Dell is one those that does just that. Replacements for Windows XP had a knock off effect that put Dell on top with a market share of 15.8 percent worldwide.
Another PC manufacturer, Lenovo, also had a boost from the enterprise market and had 9.7 percent market share.
The top 10 vendors are Dell, Philips, Samsung, HP, LGE, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Viewsonic and Benq,
Philips had a particularly good year in China.
Samsung, which was top vendor for four clear years, only managed to make it to number three with 11.9 percent market share.
HP had 10.7 percent commercial monitor market share, so it’s breathing down Samsung’s neck.
Things went better for
the notebook industry last year, according to a report from Taiwanese research house Trendforce.
That was largely due to people replacing Windows XP systems and the market itself promoting low priced notebooks.
The survey said shipments of notebooks in 2014 hit 175.5 million, a year n year growth of 3.6 percent.
The leader in the X86 pack was HP, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer.
But the real stellar performer in 2014 was Apple, because it lowered some prices. It showed year on year growth of 46.4 percent, and increased its market share to 9.3 percent.
Here, according to Trendforce, are the top runners and riders in the notebook race.
A price war has developed
on the server front after multinationals faced competition from original design manufacturers (ODMs) that make the machines.
Over the last year or so, companies such as Quanta Computer have undercut Dell and HP and won big orders from the likes of Google and Amazon.
reports that HP is fighting back by striking a deal with giant Taiwanese combo Foxconn to offer cut price X86 servers to customers.
Meanwhile, Dell has struck a deal with Microsoft to offer cloud based systems in a bid to sell private cloud data centres.
But while the news might be good for enterprises looking to pay less for their X86 servers, it can’t be good news for margins.
And Intel, which supplies the majority of microprocessors that power servers, must be worrying about an effect it may have on its margins.
Apple and Samsung
were the biggest buyers of semiconductors in 2014.
Together, they bought $57.9 billion worth of chips last year, up by $3.9 billion in 2013, according to Gartner.
In terms of the total market for semiconductor, both companies’ accounted for 17 percent of the total market.
Gartner said the two firms have been top of the semiconductor consumption market for four years in a row.
That, said analyst Masatsune Yamajo, means decisions they make “have considerable technology and pricing implications for the whole semiconductor industry”.
Samsung was still top buyer but its decision to withdraw from some parts of the PC market as well as losing market share to other vendors meant its growth rate wasn’t as great as in the past.
Gartner estimates that the top 10 companies bought $125.6 billion of semiconductors, accounting for 36.4 percent of the whole market in 2014.
After Samsung and Apple, the remaining eight top ten buyers were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Sony, Huawei, Cisco, LG Electronics and Toshiba.
The entire semiconductor market worldwide amounted to $339.9 billions last year.
Sales of PCs
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by two percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Although that’s hardly a stellar figure, Western Europe showed better results with growth of 10.7 percent.
In all, shipments amounted to 93.3 million units.
IDC’s report said that the market grew because of healthier shipments to ordinary people in the quarter, with vendors stocking up for Christmas and January sales.
Next month, there will be Microsoft promotions which will bring prices down on notebooks with less than 15-inch screens.
HP, and Lenovo dominated the market place, with shares of 23.3 percent and 19.6 percent respectively.
Dell has 9.8 percent share in EMEA, followed by Acer, Asus and “others”.
Sales of notebooks
during the fourth quarter of 2014 amounted to 46 million units.
That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said in a report that shipments were flat compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Of the notebooks shipped, Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) shipped 36.6 million, representing nearly 80 percent of the total marketplace.
ODMs make notebooks which are then rebranded by multinationals or sold as so called “white boxes”.
The chief ODMs were Quanta with 33 percent, Compal with 31.4 percent, Wistron with 15.8 percent, Inventec with 7.5 percent and Pegatron with 6.9 percent.
Digitimes Research said HP was the number one vendor in the quarter with 23 percent market share, Lenovo second, Dell third, Asustek fourth, Acer fifth, Apple sixth, Toshiba seventh, Samsung eighth and Fujitsu ninth.
Insurers with a worldwide
presence are set to spend over $100 billion this year on IT. That will gladden the hearts of vendors.
This is the view of IDC Financial Investments, which says that the number is an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2014.
The global insurers want to spend this money to boost “efficiencies”, meaning that they will invest in data warehousing, claims and policy administration systems.
Li-May Chew, lead director for IDC’s Financial Insights division, said that the insurers need to act.
She said: “Replacements or refreshes are required as legacy IT systems become increasingly complex, inflexible and archaic, to the point of negatively affecting technology integration and interoperability.”
In other words, they’re out of date.
The insurers want to modernise their systems and use the cloud to cut costs – and customers want the insurers to do that too.
They want to make sure their customers use PCs, mobile devices and social networks.
They need to protect themselves against fraud.
Li-May didn’t say which vendors would benefit from the increased spend – but the emphasis is on mobile computing, cloud services, social networking and big data analytics.
So the usual suspects – that is to say IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle and others will be sitting patiently waiting for the phone to ring so they can pick up the orders.
Shipments of PCs
during any fourth quarter used to be strong until two years ago.
But figures released by Gartner said that worldwide PC shipments grew by a miserly one percent during the last quarter of 2014.
Shipments amounted to 83.7 million units and analysts at the company think the results are a “slow but consistent improvement after two years of decline”.
Tablets had been responsible for displacing PCs but that peaked in 2013 and the first half of last year.
People are drifting back to PCs, said Gartner, although different regions showed different results.
The US market showed the highest growth and the European region was strong too.
Lenovo is now the worldwide leader in shipments with 19.4 percent of the market, followed by HP and Dell. Acer and Asus were fourth and fifth.
HP showed growth of 16 percent in the quarter, while Lenovo’s growth slowed.
The chief driver for sales were mobile PCs including thin and light. Prices around the $300 mark helped boost sales.
A report said
that integrated infrastructure and platforms – that is to say vendor systems containing servers, disk storage, networking kit and systems management software – grew by 38 percent in the third quarter of last year.
IDC said vendors turned in revenues of $616 million in the quarter, a year on year growth of 38.2 percent for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in the quarter.
Eckhardt Fisher, research analyst at IDC, said the growth is linked to fast spreading adoption of business intelligence systems and the perceived benefit to enterprises that brings.
The market leader for the integrated infrastructure division saw VCE as the leader, followed by Cisco-Netapp, and then HP.
Cisco grew its share by close to 163 percent for the quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
VCE also took prime position in the integrated platforms sector, followed by Cisco-Netapp and HP. But here HP belonged strongly – growing by 271 percent in the quarter.
The entire market for the third quarter shipped 238 terabytes – up 63.5 percent compared to Q3 2013.
Manufacturers of X86
based servers are taking market share from intermediary companies such as Dell and HP.
And, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, that trend is sure to increase.
It reports that Taiwanese manufacturers Quanta and Wiwynn will sell more servers to big users during 2015.
The main motivation for the move away from companies like HP is that the boxes are cheaper to source from manufacturers than through middlemen.
And as the trend to data centres continues to grow, companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Google will seek to cut costs and establish cloud data centres by directly sourcing product.
that Quanta’s direct business for servers now represents 90 percent of its business, while only 10 percent are shipped to third parties.
Despite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
HP’s storage marketer Craig Nunes has said that the cost of flash storage to fall below that of spinning-disk storage within the next couple of years and widescale adoption is starting to rise.
Nunes said that if you can get the affordability right on flash, if you can drive it down and cross over spinning disk, people will buy it.
Flash is a far better alternative because it is faster and has better service levels and HP’s efforts to improve the cost-efficiency of its arrays are paying off.
The maker of expensive printer ink has shipped more flash capacity over the last few quarters than it has 15,000 RPM disks. These disks have historically been the medium of choice for mission-critical applications requiring fast storage. Now HP wants Flash to outsell its 10,000 RPM business and this could become a reality in a year.
An average enterprise should have the ability to deploy flash for more workloads without having to cut corners elsewhere.
Nunes said HP is also working on ways to make flash more scalable. The company’s flagship all-flash array, the 3PAR StoreServ 7450, offers 480 terabytes of raw storage capacity that can accommodate nearly 1.4 petabytes of data thanks to built-in optimization software.
Nunes said that HP’s 3PAR operating system also includes functionality that avoids the performance degradation all-flash arrays tend to suffer past a certain capacity threshold.
HP recently introduced a new add-on for its 3PAR arrays called Personas that make it possible for admins to change how information is exposed to applications with a few straightforward commands.
Personas evolved from virtualization technology with the kind of functionality and management features that users expect when managing servers. “Personas is not an emulation layer, it is not a management UI over a totally different architecture,” he said. “It’s the same thing that served up your VMware environments and KVM environments except it’s now serves up” blocks and files.
It looks like shareholders are not allowed to collude with HP board members to blame its god-awful Autonomy buy on the British company after all.
Shareholders and HP agreed to bury the hatchet so that they could sue the former owners of Autonomy. US district judge has said that such a deal was wrong because it absolves HP completely from any blame.
Judge Charles Breyer concluded in a San Francisco court filing that the shareholders appear to be relinquishing a whole universe of potential claims regarding HP governance and practices with no factual predicates that overlap the Autonomy acquisition – the subject of this litigation.
He rejected the motion for preliminary approval of the second amended settlement. Judge Breyer added that HP had abdicated its duty to ensure that shareholders’ rights were being protected.
HP bought UK data search and analysis firm Autonomy for $10 billion, but a year later it claimed it found “serious accounting improprieties” and had to write off $8.8bn from the transaction.
Autonomy has denied any wrongdoing and argued that it played by the rules and HP knew about its accounting practices prior to the buyout.
HP said it was disappointed the court did not approve the settlement as submitted, the court recognised that a settlement releasing the HP directors and officers from Autonomy-related claims ‘represents a fair and reasonable resolution of the litigation’ HP remains committed to holding the architects of the Autonomy fraud accountable.