Despite a miserable year for the smartphone industry, Lenovo managed to do rather well and saw its third quarter revenue rise 31 percent to $14.1 billion.
This beat what the cocaine nose-jobs of Wall Street expected as its mobile division sales more than doubled following its acquisition of Motorola.
Lenovo wrote a cheque for $2.91 billion for Motorola, the US handset brand with a long sales history in the United States and Europe, as part of an effort to diversify away from the shrinking PC market.
These results took into account two months of Motorola’s performance and Lenovo said Motorola sold more than 10 million handsets during the quarter for the first time.
This is good news as Lenovo has been having trouble in its home market of China. Xiaomi swept aside Lenovo in China but has largely avoided Western markets due to fears of intellectual property challenges.
The company is expected to make a comeback against Xiaomi in China by adopting its rival’s Internet distribution model. Lenovo in May signed a deal with e-commerce site JD.com and announced a subsidiary last month to sell smartphones and wearables exclusively online.
Under Lenovo, Motorola will re-enter the Chinese market and be distributed primarily online, Yang said.
Total sales from the mobile division leapt 109 percent to $3.39 billion, or a quarter of the company’s sales.
Lenovo said net profit was $253 million, down from $265 million a year prior due to ballooning expenses associated with closing two major acquisitions. The Beijing-based company also acquired IBM’s low-end server unit for $2.1 billion.
The results beat expectations of $13.71 billion in revenue and $200 million in net profit.
Lenovo continued to consolidate its hold on the PC market, reaching a record 20 percent share during the quarter with sales of $9.15 billion. Shipments rose five percent compared with a three percent decline in the broader industry, with growth particularly strong in Eastern Europe.
Over 375.2 million
smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter of 2014 – that’s up by 28.2 percent compared to the same period the year before.
Apple had been the number two vendor in 11 previous quarters before Q4 2014, but, according to IDC, it was close to a tie with Samsung, the market leader.
IDC now predicts that Samsung could well outstrip Samsung during 2015.
It’s not just Apple that is challenging Samsung – as we’ve reported before, is under challenge from small Android OEMs selling products at much lower margins.
Growth in 2013 represented 40.5 percent but according to IDC, “the market clearly still has legs”. It estimates growth will fall to a mid teen figure during 2015.
The top five vendors for the fourth quarter were Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi. The last showed growth of 178.6 percent during Q4 2014, compared to Q4 2013.
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.
suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.
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.
quarterly financial results last week, reports claim IBM is set to cut over a quarter of its workforce this week.
IBM has currently a workforce of 431,000 people, but Sky News claims that Forbes’ reporter Robert X Cringely is forecasting the job cuts.
According to Cringely, around 26 percent of IBM will get calls from their managers telling them their jobs are surplus to Big Blue’s requirements.
IBM has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours.
The report claims that the reorganisation is called Project Chrome, and the majority of people losing their jobs will be in the USA.
IBM has been re-engineering its business and last year sold its X86 server business to Chinese giant Lenovo.
It has also been focusing more and more on cloud computing, in an attempt to trim costs and position itself as a market leader.
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.
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.
Microsoft’s forthcoming OS Windows 10 has been praised to the skies by thinkpad maker Lenovo.
Lenovo Peter Hortensius, chief technology officer at Lenovo told PC World that customers are anxious to breathe some life into Windows 10 and his outfit was bullish and hopeful about Windows 10.
Windows 10 will succeed Windows 8.1 operating system, which has been slammed for its touch-based tablet user interface. Windows 10 will resolve many problems affecting Windows 8.1, which is a good OS but has its problems, Hortensius said.
Windows 10 will boot straight to the desktop and brings back many familiar Windows 7 features, which Microsoft hopes will please OS loyalists. It also removes program incompatibility issues plaguing Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions for Intel and ARM processors.
Analysts have said Windows 10 could spur a round of PC upgrades in businesses, which could boost PC shipments. Lenovo’s shipments have increased even as rivals like Dell and Hewlett-Packard struggled in recent years as laptop and desktop shipments slowed.
Customers are responding well to changes in Windows 10, and Microsoft is taking the right approach in developing the OS, Hortensius said.
Lenovo was positive about where the product was going and depending on customer demand, Lenovo may consider the OS for a range PCs, tablets and handsets.
“It’s up to Microsoft to make competitive offerings. If they do… we’ll gladly use it,” Hortensius said.
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.
Emerging markets worldwide have accounted for the growth of smartphones in the third quarter of this year, growing by 20 percent.
Gartner said Samsung lost market share, but Chinese manufacturers are showing positive growth.
Altogether, sales of smartphones accounted for 301 million units shipping in the third quarter.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in the third quarter smartphones represented 66 percent of the total mobile phone market. She thinks that by 2018 nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.
Western Europe saw a decline in growth of 5.2 percent, but the USA saw high growth of 18.9 percent, fuelled by the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
In terms of market share, Samsung holds 24.4 percent of the market, Apple holds 12.7, Huawei holds 5.3 percent, Xiaomi has 5.2 percent of the market and Lenovo five percent.
As far as operating systems are concerned, Android ruled the roost in the third quarter (83.1%), Apple was next with 12.7 percent, Windows only held three percent and Blackberry 0.8 percent.
Cozza said: “The smartphone market is more than ever in flux as more players step up their game in this space. With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs, Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too.”
A report said that increased production by major Chinese vendors will topple US players from their grip on the server market.
Digitimes said that Lenovo, Huawei and Inspur are likely to ship a total of two million units in 2015, knocking Dell off the number two slot.
Earlier this year, Lenovo bought IBM’s X86 business and that means the company is likely to ship a million server boxes in 2015.
Meanwhile HP, the market intelligence firm said, will show a decline in server shipments of 10 percent this year.
By the end of next year, the combined shipments worldwide from Chinese vendors is likely to amount to nearly 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the multinationals are threatened by ODMs (original design manufacturers) like Quanta, which are squeezing the Dells and HPs of this world by selling units direct at a knockdown price.
Strong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.
That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.
All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.
The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up. And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.
Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.