Tag: IDC

Intel talks up the PC market

Intel-logoIntel is in the middle of a leadership change  and on top of that it is facing headwinds coming from all directions. The chipmaker finally seems to be getting it, at least if statements from CEO Brian Krzanich and President Renee James are anything to go by, and they are.

However, although the new Intel is all about Atom and hybrids, the company is still trying to put a positive spin on dismal PC sales. Intel commissioned an IDC survey of 3,997 US adults which apparently found that the PC is still alive and well. We beg to differ.

The survey found that 97 percent of respondents still believe their PCs are their primary computing devices, not smartphones or tablets. They consider access to their PC essential and 73 percent said they would rather go without exercise than without their PC. Geeks aren’t into exercise, but they are into candy and sweets, yet 71 percent said they would rather ditch their sugary treats than their PCs. Another 65 percent said the same about caffeine, 58 percent would rather ditch their TV, while 33 percent would rather spend a few days without their car than without their PC. The average time spent on computing devices was 43 hours a week and half of that was spent in front of a PC.

However, these figures don’t matter nearly as much as the next one – the average PC is four years old. Just a few years ago this would mean that the average PC is ripe for an upgrade, but this is no longer the case. The upgrade cycle has slowed down and average users have little to gain from getting a new PC. Professionals and gamers are a different breed, but the bulk of PC purchases comes from mainstream users.

Over the last decade or so the PC has become so mature that it is practically treated like any other household appliance. People get a new one only when the old one breaks. Nobody buys a new microwave because Samsung launched a new one, with a colour touchscreen. The same is slowly becoming true of PCs.

On a more positive note, the PC is still practically the only platform for productivity. Tablets and smartphones can’t replace it and they can’t even come close, at least not in the foreseeable future. As a result, 83 percent of respondents to the IDC survey said they are more productive on their PCs than on smartphones or tablets. As for the remaining 17 percent, we’re not sure they know what “productive” means.

IDC expects further IT spending slowdown

pc-sales-slumpIDC has taken a second look into its crystal ball and revised its earlier forecast for worldwide IT spending. Of course, the new numbers are lower.

In May IDC forecast 4.9 percent growth, but now it expects 4.6 percent. What’s more, if tablets and smartphones are taken out of the equation, spending will be up just 1.7 percent. IDC’s May forecast was 2.6 percent.

IDC cites a slowdown in economic growth in emerging markets as the main reason behind its decision to lower forecasts. Growth is slowing down in China and Asia Pacific. Europe is not even worth mentioning. However, it’s not all bad news. IT spending in the US is now expected to increase 4.6 percent this year, up from 4.2 percent forecasted in May.

There’s some good news for mobile outfits, too. IDC expects spending on tablets to be up 39 percent this year, up from a May forecast of 32.5 percent. Smartphone projections are also up, 18.5 percent over 17.2 percent in May.

Unsurprisingly there is nothing good to report on the PC front. PC sales worldwide are now expected to decline 7.2 percent this year. The May forecast was just 2.6 percent in the red. That’s a huge revision in the space of less than three months and the PC market is clearly in worse shape than analysts thought.

Tablet shipments slow right down

cheap-tabletsThe tablet market appears to be overheating and according to IDC’s latest report global shipments slowed down in the second quarter. It appears that many consumers are waiting for new iPads and cheap Androids are not filling the gap.

IDC said unit sales dropped 9.7 percent to 45.1 million last quarter thanks to soft demand for iPads. Shipments of Apple’s tablets dropped to just 14.6 million units, down from 19.5 million in the first quarter. IDC’s original forecast was 17 million, but it appears consumers had other things in mind.

Despite the dip, Apple is still the daddy of the tablet market, with a 32.4 percent market share. For some reason Samsung managed to grab an 18-percent share, despite the fact that its tablets are overpriced and underspecced.

Thanks to its massive market share, Apple’s woes tend to have an immediate effect on overall unit sales. The trouble for Apple is that it simply does not have any fresh products to offer. The iPad and iPad mini are getting old and a refresh is expected over the next few of months. Consumers are simply putting off their purchases until Cupertino rolls out something new, i.e. a Retina iPad mini.

“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.”

A long Apple drought seems to be just what the doctor ordered for makers of Android tablets, but they don’t appear to be capitalizing on iPad fatigue.

Asus shipped just 2 million units for a 4.5 percent share. Lenovo was in a close second with 1.5 million units and Acer is in hot pursuit with 1.4 million.

To be fair, Android peddlers also had their share of problems. New high-end designs based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 have yet to materialize, Nvidia’s Tegra 4 was delayed and the first products have started shipping just a few days ago, at the very end of the second quarter. The new Nexus 7 is out, but it also launched too late to make a mark in Q2.

However, IDC believes new tablets from both camps should have a massive effect on shipments toward the end of the year. As for Windows RT and Windows 8.x tablets, we’re not sure they’ll make much headway this year.

SAP partners make a killing

Mary_Read_killing_her_antagonist_cph.3a00980Despite the economic downturn, and the fact that their product is so dull only an accountant could love it,  the partners of the esoteric German business software maker SAP are laughing all the way to the bank.

Global research firm IDC  has added up the numbers and claims that SAP partners worldwide will earn $220 billion in revenue in the next five years.
This is because everyone+dog will be wantig advanced analytics and predictive analytics over the next year because they need to control costs, optimise operations and manage risks,

I would not hold your breath with excitement.  The report was commissioned by SAP itself and it would be unlikely that it would ever see the light of day if IDC said that everyone was doomed.

SAP as been pushing its partners had needs more reselling, professional services, hardware and additional intellectual property and solutions developed on top of analytics solutions from SAP and the SAP HANA platform.
One infographic said  that the  top 10 industries for these analytics and big data opportunities are manufacturing, government, communications and media, banking, professional services, retail, healthcare, utilities and insurance.
Darren Bibby, vice president for IDC Channels and Alliances Research said that SAP and its partners make a significant impact on the global economy.
“SAP does an excellent job delivering great products for partners to work with, as well as effective sales, marketing and training resources. The result is that the SAP ecosystem is well-positioned for the future and customers will benefit from these additional skills and resources,” Bibby added.

 

Apple and Samsung lose smartphone market share

smartphones-genericApple’s iPhone juggernaut appears to be running out of steam. Although the company beat Wall Street expectations last quarter, with 31.2 million iPhones shipped, it also managed to lose market share.

Apple’s smartphone share now stands at 13.1 percent, down from 16.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012. Although Apple’s shipments were up from 26 million a year ago, the market grew at a somewhat faster pace. The same goes for Samsung, which shipped 72.4 million smartphones last quarter, up from 50.3 million last year. It share dropped from 32.2 percent to 30.4 percent.

Total smartphone shipments were up 52 percent, 237.9 million compared to 156.2 million units in Q2 2012. The market seems to be accelerating, maybe even overheating. However, although smartphone saturation in western markets is becoming an issue, particularly in the high-end, Asia appears to be doing quite well.

IDC-smartphone-chart-Q213

Chinese smartphone churners had a very good quarter. Lenovo upped its market share from 3.1 percent a year ago to 4.7 percent last quarter. Lenovo shipped 11.3 million smartphones last quarter, roughly a third of what Apple managed to ship – but most Lenovo phones were sold in China, hence the tech press didn’t really cover its success. ZTE also did well, with shipments hitting 10.1 million last quarter, up from 6.4 million a year ago. LG did surprisingly well, with 12.1 million units shipped, up from just 5.8 million a year ago.

However, saturation is becoming a big source of concern for smartphone makers. Most future growth  is expected to come from emerging markets, which tend to prefer low cost devices. This will result in lower ASPs, more competition and lower margins. It will also open the room for smaller brands and dozens of Chinese no-name smartphone makers.

IDC’s figures also reveal that the combined share commanded by smaller brands is up and that smartphone shipments have finally outpaced feature phone shipments. Few consumers who haven’t transitioned to smartphones over the last few years will pick up a high-end device, leaving even more room for cheap smartphones.

The trend has not gone unnoticed by smartphone makers. Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper, plastic version of the iPhone. Since Apple doesn’t have much to offer outside the high-end market, it is particularly vulnerable. Samsung and HTC are talking up their new minis as if they were flagship products, Google Motorola’s new Moto X is a mid-range device, not a pricey superphone.

In recent years the focus was on pricey high-end phones, with most sales coming from affluent markets, backed by carrier sweetheart deals. This created a rather absurd situation, as unit sales of high-end phones were often much higher than those of their mid-range and low-end siblings. As emerging markets enter the fray, this odd trend appears to be over.

Tablets to outsell PCs by year end

cheap-tabletsIt appears that worldwide shipments of media tablets will outpace PCs by the end of the year. Speaking at Google’s breakfast event on Thursday, head of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai shed light on some impressive tablet shipment figures. His claims are backed up by IDC’s latest reports.

Pichai said tablet sales by the end of the year should hit 225 million, with a total of 70 million Android tablet activations, up from 40 million last year, reports Slashgear.

However, Android is gaining ground on iOS and Pichai claims one in two new tablets is based on Android, not iOS.

This basically means tablets will start outselling PCs soon. Sales of corporate PCs won’t be as affected as sales of consumer PCs. Many consumers are apparently shunning their PCs and using tablets to perform basic tasks. Of course this doesn’t apply to users who use productivity applications on their computers.

tablet-pc-forecast-2013a

However, the PC market seems to be bottoming out. Tablet shipments should hit 300 million units by 2015 and 400 million units by 400, but PC sales should stabilise at current levels and start recovering next year.

Although tablets are disrupting the PC industry, the trend can’t go on for much longer. Over the next couple of years anyone who could completely replace their notebook with a tablet would have done so, hence PC shipments should remain relatively stable, although they’ll still be short of 2011’s record.

tablet-pc-sales-2013b

Interestingly, the forecasts don’t show any slowdown in tablet sales through 2017. As tablets mature, sales should start cooling down, but as things stand now, tablets still have a lot of potential for long-term growth.

The real question is how many tablets in 2015 and 2017 will be hybrids. Intel is pitching its 2-in-1 concept and PC vendors will be eager to embrace them. Hybrid tablets will effectively blur the line between tablets and ultraportable notebooks. If Intel has its way, much of that 400 million figure forecasted for 2017 will belong to hybrids.

However, we are not entirely convinced Intel and Microsoft can pull it off without sacrificing a few sacred cows in the process.

EMEA PC sales slump by 22 percent

pc-sales-slumpPC shipments in Europe are down again. New figures fresh out of the International Data Corporation (IDC) show that second-quarter PC shipments in the EMEA region were down 22.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year. 

EMEA PC shipments last quarter reached 19.6 million units and portable PCs got the worst of it, with a 26-percent drop and shipments of 12.4 million units. Desktops fared a bit better, with shipments of 7.2 million units, down 14.6 percent. 

In Western Europe shipments declined by 21.2% year-on-year. Britain did rather well, all things considered, as it was down just 14%. Germany slowed down 18.7%, while France remained the softest with a 20.9% drop. 

However, let’s not forget about Southern Europe – PC shipments in Spain dropped 43.7 percent and with no end to Spain’s economic woes in sight, the trend is likely to continue. Central Europe was down 27 percent, while the Middle East and Africa slumped 18 percent. Although Middle Eastern economies and Turkey are doing rather well, political instability and economic uncertainty are taking their toll. 

“The evolution of form factors and the change in perception of mobile computing to ‘always on and always connected’ devices, development of social networks and Internet infrastructure, are all changing consumer behaviour impacting the way PCs are utilized,” said Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “While Windows-based hybrid devices, convertible or ultraslim notebooks with touch capabilities generate a clear interest, sales remain weak.”

Gornicki noted that one of the main inhibitors to growth in new form factors remains price, but IDC expects prices to tumble in time for the holiday season and sales of ultraslim notebooks should pick up in the fourth quarter and beyond. 

It is also worth noting that notebook sales figures include mini notebooks, or netbooks, which are dying out. Meanwhile desktop sales don’t appear to be slowing down at the same rate as portable PC sales, as they can’t be cannibalized by tablets. Besides, desktops are a staple for small businesses and corporate users who can’t always hold off purchases like consumers.

Although the decline was significant, some vendors still managed to stay in the black. Lenovo’s shipments grew 19 percent year-on-year, making it the only big brand to see any growth. Lenovo ranked second, with 2.62 million PCs shipped. HP is still the EMEA market leader with shipments of 3.72 million units, but unlike Lenovo its shipments were down 23.2 percent compared to a year ago. As a result there was no big change in HP’s market share, which currently stands at 19 percent, down from 19.2 percent. However, Lenovo’s share increased from 8.7 percent in Q2 2012 to 13.4 percent last quarter. 

Acer ranked third with 2.26 million units, but it also suffered a massive 42.2 percent drop in shipments and saw its market share tumble from 15.5 percent to 11.5 percent. Dell’s shipments dropped 9 percent, but it actually managed to grow its market share to 10.7 percent, up from 9.1 last year. Asus also suffered a slump, with 1.69 million shipped boxes, down 38.5 percent.

Microsoft: partners want Microsoft cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeMicrosoft is going nuts over an IDC report that claims customers like a catch-all, single cloud provider, because it’s confident it can fill that gap.

The study, which was sponsored by… Microsoft, says as companies are dragged into the cloud,63 percent of customers want a provider that can do it all. Meanwhile, 67 percent are after a wide variety of services from a single vendor, and 74 percent expect their data to be moved back on premises if they want it to.

Veep at Microsoft’s worldwide partner group, Jon Roskill, boasted that Office 365 is bringing in tonnes of annual revenue and the company has over 250,000 customers on Windows Azure, so partners should really exploit the trend and sell Microsoft kit in particular.

Microsoft’s calling its efforts a hybrid approach: offering services on site and cloud for public and private. Of course, it’s not the only company offering such services.

While it is an increasingly common opinion that European businesses would be insane to put too much stock in US servers, Microsoft is sure that its partners will be able to win Redmond more business and turn a buck or two themselves by pushing its cloud offerings.

Mobile shipments in Europe fall again

nexus4-ceThe smartphone market seems to be cooling off at last. After years of double-digit growth, sales of mobile handsets in Western Europe were down 4.2 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, according to IDC’s latest numbers.

Smartphone sales were up 12 percent annually, but this was the slowest growth rate since 2004. Feature phones are dying a quiet death, with shipments down 31 percent to just 12 million units.

Samsung solidified its lead in the market. Its market share rose six percent to 46 percent. The Korean giant shipped 19.9 million phones in the first quarter, up 1.8 million compared to Q1 2012. Apple ranked second with 6.2 million iPhones shipped in Q1, but overall its shipments were down 800,000 units from a year ago. Nokia is in a close third, with 6.1 million units, but its shipments fell 2.6 million units. 

These figures include feature phone sales and the smartphone standing is a bit different.

Samsung still reigns supreme with a 45 percent share and 14.3 million units shipped. Apple is second, but its market share dropped from 25 percent to 20 percent. Sony came in third with 10 percent and LG had a very good quarter, quadrupling its shipments and seizing 8 percent of the market. Nokia ranked fifth with just five percent of the smartphone market and 1.6 Lumias shipped. HTC is conspicuously absent from the top five ranking.

In terms of platforms, Android is still on top, with 21.9 million units and a market share of 69 percent, up from 55 percent last year. Apple’s iOS dipped from 25 to 20 percent, while Windows Phone came in third, with a share of six percent.

“We are now entering the second wave of smartphone adoption in the region. The first wave was driven by those users looking for devices that would meet their mobility needs.” IDC European mobile devices research director Francisco Jeronimo said. “They did look for the best devices in terms of performance and user experience, and more importantly, they were able to afford and pay a premium to get a premium experience. We are now entering the second wave of smartphone adoption, which will be driven by those users with no need for a smartphone.”

In other words, the market is maturing. People who felt the need for a smartphone already have one and the upgrade cycles are bound to start slowing down, in spite of generous telco subsidies and 2-year plans. On the other hand, feature phones are going extinct and they will be replaced by cheap smartphones rather than high-end devices like iPhones or Galaxy S-series phones.

EMEA server market slides 10.5 percent

server-racksThe EMEA server market seems unable to regain its footing. Following several consecutive quarters of lacklustre results, the negative trend seems set to continue, according to the latest IDC figures.

Revenue dropped 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 year-on-year. Shipments also dropped by 5.7 percent, to 520,000 units. This is the sixth quarter in the red and the market has been contracting since the fourth quarter of 2011.

IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group research manager Giorgio Nebuloni said yearly revenue declined by more than 40 percent.

“Part of the spending intended to keep core business applications running is now absorbed by new integrated system offerings combining x86 and lower-end RISC/EPIC blades with storage and networking back-ends,” Nebuloni said.

The non-x86 market was especially hard hit, with a revenue decline of 34.8 percent. Revenues generated by x86 server dropped by 1.5 percent. Demand for x86 servers in developed European economies is flat, while demand for non-x86 gear is plummeting.

“RISC sales were particularly hit, down by 49.8% year on year, whereas mainframe revenue suffered single-digit declines of 4.8%” said IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group senior research analyst Beatriz Valle. “Big organisations in the corporate space and government are consolidating existing infrastructure using high-end x86 servers, with demand for legacy architectures at an all time low.”

Demand is evaporating in the CEMA region as well, with a third consecutive drop in the first quarter. Shipments were down 9.7 percent, although some positive trends were seen in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile the share of modular server shipments increased from 19.9 percent to 22.7 percent in the first quarter of the year. The growth was driven by the increasing popularity of density optimised servers in the HPC area.

IDC predicts more PC gloom

pc-sales-slumpIf you thought 2012 was a bad year for the PC industry, think again. Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 7.8 percent this year, according to the latest IDC forecast. The forecast can be summed up in a single trend – consumers aren’t upgrading their PC boxes because they’re saving cash for tablets and smartphones.

In fact, the outlook has been revised downwards. It was originally believed that the PC market would decline 1.3 percent in 2013, followed by a slight rebound. The new outlooks sees a 7.8 drop in 2013 and a 1.2 percent decline in 2014, with shipments recovering to 333 million units in 2017, still below the 349 million shipped last year and 363 million shipped in 2011.

It is hardly surprising, as even Intel executives are admitting that there is practically no incentive to upgrade at the moment. There is no compelling hardware and Microsoft hasn’t exactly done a brilliant job with Windows 8. The mature PC market is trying to put up a fight against the tablet onslaught and it is taking a beating.

“As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving,” said Loren Loverde, Program Vice President, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. “Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn’t require a lot of computing power or local storage. Instead, they are putting a premium on access from a variety of smaller devices with longer battery life, an instant-on function, and intuitive touch-centric interfaces. These users have not necessarily given up on PCs as a platform for computing when a more robust environment is needed, but this takes a smaller share of computing time, and users are making do with older systems.”

Things could pick up next year, as support for Windows XP expires and businesses rush to upgrade. However, the average consumer probably won’t rush to replace an old PC. The update cycle is getting longer and longer. Another worrying trend is the BYOD phenomenon, which allows users to use their own gear in the workplace, thus delaying and reducing the volume of corporate PC purchases.

One has to wonder what will happen to average selling prices and margins over the next couple of years. Businesses replacing turn of the century XP boxes will probably look for the cheapest possible solutions. At the same time, demand in mature markets will continue to decline for the foreseeable future, while demand in emerging markets should start to recover next year. Emerging markets also tend to prefer cheaper devices, which means the era of “goon enough” computing is here to stay.

The enthusiast market has always been a bastion for high-end component makers, but it seems to be running out of steam as well. New CPUs and GPUs don’t deliver huge performance gains seen in past generations, yet they’re getting pricier. Affordable 4K screens are still years away and new consoles are about to hit retail, disturbing the PC gaming landscape further.

IDC notes strong storage growth

seagate-hddIDC’s worldwide storage tracker has noted that the personal and entry level storage market has shot up 73.4 percent year on year – reaching 20.2 million units shipped in Q1 2013, with shipment value growing 54.1 percent at $1.8 billion.

In the first quarter, there was both strong shipment and revenue growth. The market has finally recovered from the floods in Thailand several years ago which led to a worldwide shortage in hard disks. Thanks to cheaper average selling prices, better products and more user awareness about the need for storage and back up, the market is picking up nicely.

Personal storage makes up 99.1 percent of shipped PELS units and 89.8 percent of values for the quarter. Dual bay product shipments were up 43.6 percent year on year, but single bay devices are overwhelmingly still the most popular choice at 96.8 percent of all units shipped. Higher bay devices saw growth at 38.2 percent year on year.

3.5″ devices lost some market share to the 2.5″ form factor, declining 2.6 percentage points for the year. 3.5″ and 2.5″ devices did both see shipments increase, at 56 and 79.7 percent respectively.

Consumers are flocking to higher capacity storage, generally. 2TB devices made up 49.9 percent of the 3.5″ personal storage market, while 1TB devices held 50.6 percent market share for 2.5″ devices. 4TB devices had the most market share in the entry level segment at 28.3 percent of units shipped.

USB is still the dominant interface, with an increase of 76.4 percent units shipped. Ethernet grew 68.8 percent. Thunderbolt grew plenty at 5102.7 percent – but with a tiny base.

 

Disties stick up for Windows 8

Windows-8A recent report laying a fair chunk of blame on Windows 8 for the demise of PC sales has been queried by distributors.

Speaking with ChannelEye the sources have said it was unfair to lay the blame just on Microsoft and Windows 8, pointing out other factors such as Apple kit and the ongoing economic crisis.

Their comments come as IDC published its latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, where it pointed  the finger at Windows 8 for disrupting the market in tough trading conditions.

It found that shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a decline of 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

The Windows 8 launch was blamed partly for the decline. Bob O’Donnell, IDC Programme  Vice President, Clients and Displays said it not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but had also slowed down the market as a result of the “radical changes” to the UI. This included the absence of the Start button, plus the costs associated with touch had made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices.

However, disties have stuck up for the company.

One told ChannelEye: “I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on Microsoft for disrupting the market, PC sales were flagging long before it bought out Windows 8 to the forefront. If you really want someone to blame then look towards Apple, which has totally changed the landscape with its fancy products.

“It’s tablets, not PC innovation that’s disrupted the pace of PC life.”

Another pointed to the economic climate, saying the recession has a huge part in the slow growth and decline of PC sales as consumers opt for laptops that can be used by everyone in their family.

“Businesses are also cutting down on IT spend, usually opting to repair or reuse their current kit,” the distie said.

However, there were a few choice words for Microsoft’s OS.

“Windows 8 has a small part to play in the way it has disrupted the landscape, offering people touchscreen products and making older, less feature-based PCs seem less glam,” the distie said. “Maybe people are waiting for other operating systems to come out mimicking this, hoping that competition will drive down the prices and get them the bargain they are looking for.”

Windows 8 drags down PC sales

Windows-8The first quarter of 2013 was the worst for PC sales since 1994, IDC said.

In its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, the company pointed the finger at Windows 8 disrupting the market amongst tough trading conditions, reporting that shipments totalled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a decline of 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

The dismal figure was also even worse than the forecast decline of  percent 7.7 percent IDC had predicted, with the company adding the extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since it began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994.

The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.

Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago.

IDC said fading Mini Notebook shipments had also taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continued to divert consumer spending.

And it seems innovation has also hindered rather than helped the PC industry with IDC pointing out that efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8.

It added that the PC industry was struggling to identify innovations that made PCs stand out from other products and encourage people to buy.

The Windows 8 launch was blamed partly for the huge decline with Bob O’Donnell, IDC Programme  Vice President, Clients and Displays claiming it  not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but had also slowed down the market .

He said the “radical changes” to the UI including the absence of the Start button, plus the costs associated with touch had made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices.

“Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market,” he warned.

And other vendors have also been blamed with the restructuring and reorganisation efforts of HP and Dell claimed to have hampered the market.

In fact it seems only Lenovo has come out smelling of roses, with IDC claiming it continued to “execute on a solid “attack” strategy”,

It said to keep up with the rat race, vendors had to revisit their organisational structures and “go to market strategies” – whatever that means, as well as their supply chain, distribution, and product portfolios in the face of shrinking demand and looming consolidation.

And regionally there wasn’t better news. Across the pond, the United States contracting 12.7 percent year on year, with a drop of -18.3 percent for the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 and quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006.

In Blighty and the EMEA region, the news remained bleak with IDC claiming that the area
posted a stronger double digit decline than anticipated in the first quarter of 2013.

Results fell short of expectations in the consumer segment as softness in demand persisted amid a continued shift to tablets and budget pressures. Meanwhile, the market response to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remains slow, leading to cautious “sell-in” from most vendors.

Japan fared a little bit better, with PC shipments in line with expectations in the first quarter. IDC said this was down to some economic improvement, which was helping to support commercial replacement demand ahead of the scheduled end of support for Windows XP next year.

However, consumer shipments remained very weak.

And Japan’s friends in the Asia/Pacific region didn’t have much to celebrate about with PC  shipments declining  sharply, dropping a record 12.7 percent.

IDC also pointed out that this was the first time the region had experienced a double digit decline. Although much of the earlier Windows 7 stock had cleared, a lukewarm reception toward Windows 8 hampered new shipments.

China’s inactivity contributed heavily to the decline, as public sector spending continued to be constrained.

HP remained the top vendor, but posted a substantial double digit decline in shipments after an aggressive fourth quarter kept growth flat during the holidays. HP’s worldwide shipments fell more than 23 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2013, with significant declines across all regions, as internal restructuring continued to affect commercial sales. Although HP maintained its leadership position in the United States, the company saw US shipments fall -22.9 percent from a year ago.

Lenovo remained second in global shipments and nearly closed the gap with HP, while Dell saw shipment decline by 10 percent globally and 14 percent in the United States. The vendor continued to face tough competition and struggled with customer uncertainty about the direction of its restructuring.

Apple fared better than the overall US market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also face competition from iPads.

Surface tablet sales fall short, resemble Zune

surface-rtOh dear. It looks like the sceptics were right, Microsoft’s Surface tablets are lemons. Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has sold about 400,000 Surface Pro tablets since their debut last month. In addition, it only managed to sell a little over a million Surface RT tablets.

Microsoft reportedly ordered three million Surface RT tablets last year, but sales never picked up and Redmond was forced to scale back the order. 

The lacklustre figures come as no surprise. Earlier this year it emerged that the RT faced high return rates and very low sell-through, with shipments totalling just 900,000 units in the first quarter of sales. The Surface Pro did not fare any better. It got relatively negative reviews and since it is quite a bit pricier than the RT, consumers don’t seem keen to make the leap of faith.

JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna told Bloomberg that Microsoft has failed to prove that Windows has a place in a new world dominated by touchscreens.

“It’s pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they’re getting worse,” he said. “The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now.”

Apple still commands a 50+ share of the tablet market, although it is projected to slip under 50 percent later this year. Analysts put Apple’s iPad shipments in Q4 at 22.9 million units, which dwarfs every single competitor. However, Apple is losing share to Android, not Windows.

IDC reckons that the share of Windows RT tablets will stay below 3 percent through 2017, while Windows 8 could end up on 7.4 percent of tablets, in 2017 of course. In other words, Windows tablets are going nowhere, fast.