Cupertino based Apple Inc has decided to ditch HP and Dell to supply its servers and instead is looking to Taiwanese firms to supply its data centre needs.
That’s according to Taiwan wire Digitimes which said some of the local white box server manufacturers have already received orders from Apple for boxes.
One of the major manufacturers of servers is Quanta, which used to specialise almost wholly in making notebooks for big vendors but has diversified its business over the last two years.
It offers servers at a price that undercuts Dell and HP and will customise the machines for customers which already include giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Apple said recently it will open data centres in Ireland and in Denmark and it’s also spending billions on building up data centres in the USA.
The company is also cuddling up to IBM and wants to release tablet machines that will appeal to enterprises rather than the home users it has depended on in the past.
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.
The generation of vast amounts of data continues to fuel the disk storage systems revenue in the third quarter.
With revenues of $8.8 billion, up 5.1 percent from the same period last year, 25 exabytes shipped in the quarter, said IDC. Capacity shipments soared by 42 percent during the quarter, compared to Q3 2013.
IDC said sub $100K external array revenues grew by over six percent during the quarter, but shipments ODMs (original design manufacturers) directly to hyperscale datacentres showed positive growth.
EMC remains at the top spot for the quarter, followed by HP, Dell, IBM and Netapp.
ODM direct sales accounted for 24 percent of the market however, outstripping the traditional vendors. And this trend is continuing, as we’ve reported previously, with ODMs also shipping more and more servers directly and bypassing the brand names,
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.
While the computer industry saw comparatively small growth for notebooks in the second quarter, it looks like the third quarter will be much slower.
The third quarter always used to be buoyant for PC sales until sales started to slow a few years ago as smartphones and tablets came into their ascendancy.
Taiwanese wire Digitimes reports that ODMs (original design manufacturers) largely based on the island has fallen quite short of expectations.
It attributes the growth in the second quarter not to a rise in interest in the platforms any more, but because Windows XP was phased out in the spring.
People realised that if they were going to buy a notebook, it would be as well to do it then and move to a new Windows operating system.
Reports earlier this week suggested that sales of tablets in North American and western European markets had reached a degree of stasis too. Most people who wanted a tablet have got one.
A report from Gartner today suggested that original design manufacturers (ODMs) are set to cut out brand vendors in the global X86 server market.
It estimates that sales of servers by ODMs directly to customers will be worth $4.6 billion by 2018, representing 16 percent or so of the market.
The traditional route to market had OEMs hiring ODMs and selling branded goods. But Gartner reckons that the manufacturers are changing their business models to directly target “hyperscale” customers, that is to say to data centres.
Data centre operators prefer ODM supplied kit because the machines are cheaper and they can customise systems.
Naveen Mishra, a research director at Gartner, said: “Direct engagement with hyperscale data centres is the biggest contributor to ODM growth.” He said that ODM success is right now restricted to server but he thinks that similar technologies, such as storage, will follow suit.
The ODMs are largely based in China and Taiwan so can make cost efficiencies that can’t be replicated in other geographies. They are also aggressive on pricing.
The tiny island of Taiwan accounts for 83.91 percent of global notebook shipments through original design manufacturers (ODMs).
And according to a report from Digitimes Research, all is not well on the notebook front. The report claimed that ODMs will ship 33,476 million notebooks in Q2 of this year.
But that’s down 8.4 percent compared to the equivalent period last year.
The usual suspects remain Quanta, Compal and Wistron – and, Digitimes Research said – of those three Compal is likely to see the most growth in the second quarter.
It continues to be bleak news on the X86 notebook front, with several original design manufacturers (ODMs) showing sales decreases last January.
According to Digitimes, Compal shipped 2.8 million units in January, down 37.8 percent sequentally. Meanwhile, Quanta shipped 3.6 million notebooks, a fall of 10 percent.
Wistron, which has a broader reach in the PC market, saw 1.4 million notebook units go in January. Along with sales of desktops, handhelds,, monitors, servers and the rest, Wistron fel by 19.08 percent in the month, but a more severe drop of 26.28 percent year on year.
The only bright spark on the ODM notebook front was Pegatron, which showed a rise of 3.54 percent in the month, said Digitimes.
It is hardly a surprise given that one in two UK households now have a swipy style tablet, but independent research shows top X86 models aren’t exactly the flavour of the month.
According to Digitimes Research, both branded notebook vendors and top original design manufacturers (ODMs), recorded month on month drops of 12 percent and 11 percent in December.
Dell and Toshiba did better than the other bunch of brand names, with the former, in particular, showing a bit of a surge because Microsoft will deck long in the tooth but reliable Windows XP this spring.
The ODMs were hit because HP was hit – Quanta and Inventec supply Hewlett Packard with most of its notebook boxes.
While the X86 mob hope that enterprises are still likely to plump for Windows based boxes, there is evidence that large corporations are seriously contemplating the bring your own device route, which will further erode Intel market share.
Notebook shipments appear to be recovering, albeit slightly, after several consecutive quarters of unparalleled awfulness. We are quite used to hideous numbers by now, but Digitimes Research is reporting that notebook shipments of the top five brands grew by 22 percent, while the top three ODMs saw 11 percent of growth in August, compared to July.
HP saw the most growth, up 50 percent, while Lenovo and Acer saw their shipments grow by 25 and 20 percent respectively. Asus shipments dropped, while Dell’s appear to be stagnating.
Wistron outperformed other ODMs with 20 percent on-month growth in August, thanks to strong shipments from HP and Lenovo. Quanta and Inventec grew by more than 10 percent, Compal was saw some single-digit growth, while Pegatron’s shipments dropped due to lower orders from Asus.
A word of caution is advised. The upsurge has a lot more to do with seasonal trends than actual end-user demand. The notebook market still remains very weak and soft demand is expected over the next few quarters, if not years.
Worldwide shipments of laptops in the second quarter reached 39.4 million units, up 0.4 percent over the first quarter, according to WitsView. It doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but given the state of the PC market any hint of growth is an encouraging sign.
Although overall shipments are up, the nine leading laptop makers saw an 0.7 percent decline quarter-on-quarter, which was caused by inventory problems. New designs based on Intel Haswell chips are coming online and big brands are apparently not getting rid of Ivy Bridge models fast enough.
Hewlett Packard had a good quarter, shipping 7 million units, up 10 percent from Q1, while Lenovo shipped 6.3 million units and stayed relatively flat. Acer and Asus dropped 0.2 and 1 percent respectively, while Toshiba had a terrible quarter, ending with a 12.6 percent slump.
Researchers noted that the market started to slow down in June, as consumers held back on purchases and decided to wait for Haswell products. However, the Haswell rollout was hampered by inventory issues, as manufacturers could not liquidate their Ivy Bridge stock in time. It was basically a vicious circle.
WitsView reckons the market could start to recover in the second half of the year, due to seasonal trends. If all goes well, Q3 laptop shipments could grow seven to nine percent. Sales by second- and third-tier brands are also expected to go up.
Manufacturers 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.