Tag: pc

Context claims commercial users buying PCs

Beancounters at Context claim that PC sales through distribution across Western Europe in Q4 show that the commercial market is still buying PCs.

Apparently while consumer sales continue to slump, commercial PC sales continued to hold up towards the end of last year and gave a fillip for resellers.

Context pointed out that the fourth quarter is always traditionally a busy period in the PC hardware world and the market for Western Europe was hit by “soft consumer performance”, which dragged it down by two percent compared to last year.

Windows 10 is starting to become a significant driver of sales with distributors handling more Win 10 pre-installed machines in the fourth quarter, Context said.

Commercial sales were up by six percent year-on-year with all categories delivering growth.

Notebooks were up nine per cent, desktops two percent and workstations by one percent. Detachables, which includes the iPad Pro and Surface Pro also continue to remain in demand.

It is the consumer space which has been proven to be pants since 2016. Volume sales of PCs aimed at home users dropped by seven percent. All categories were down but the worst was desktops with a 16 percent fall.

Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context said that Windows 10 began to play a stronger role in the commercial segment in Q4 2016.

“38 percent of Windows Business PCs sold through Western European distributors during the quarter featured Windows 10 Pro compared to 22 percent in the third quarter.”

The performance of the enterprise market has given hope to those vendors that continue to fight for market share in the PC market and has been used as evidence by the likes of Lenovo that there is still gold in them thar hills.

Wobbly PC market stabilises in EMEA

Bike-blog--Young-child-on-010Figures just in from IDC show that the EMEA PC market stabilised in the fourth quarter.

After adding up some numbers and dividing by their shoe size, the IDC beancounters worked out that the market had declined only 0.2 percent annually, thanks to strong demand in the commercial space and a Chromebooks boom.

If it had not been for Brexit vote caused a slump in Blighty of 6.2 percent year on year everything in the region would have been good – another reason for suppliers to string up Nigel Farrage, Boris Johnson and Michael Grove.

“As the pound has become a turbulent currency following Brexit in the UK, the British traditional PC market was impacted negatively, down 6.2 percent,” said IDC.

In the final quarter of 2016, total PC shipments in EMEA reached 20.7 million, down 0.2 percent year on year. Notebooks performed well in the region, up 2.9 percent, and “strong demand” was triggered in the commercial space, which grew 10.1 percent.

During 2016, PC shipments fell 6.1 percent to 71.6 million units.

The biggest disappointment was that Windows 10 “did not drive extensive renewals.” The money spinners were Chromebooks which led to “strong demand for notebooks” in the second half of the year thanks to a boom in the education market.

Although the whole EMEA region performed well in Q4, the same could not be said for the UK.

Senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing Malini Paul, said that the western European PC market performed better than expected in 2016’s Q4, thanks to notebooks in both the consumer and commercial segments.

“While promotions around Black Friday and the post-Christmas period supported the strong seasonality of the holiday period, fulfilling backlogs from 2016’s Q3 due to component shortages contributed to the sell-in uptake in the consumer space.”

IDC thinks PC sales worse than it thought

tarotreadingIDC has reached the conclusion that the PC market is a bigger mess than it originally thought and reshuffled its tarot cards for another prediction.

It now thinks that PC shipments  will decline by 7.3 percent year over year which is  two percent below what it was telling us before.

The outfit blames weak currencies, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty, and delayed projects.

Microsoft is partly to blame because it handed out free copies of Windows 10 to everyone who asked, including a lot of people who didn’t.

IDC said that that “while a large share of enterprises are evaluating Windows 10, the pace of new PC purchases has not yet stabilised commercial PC shipments.”.

IDC now predicts just 255.6 million machines will ship in 2016, of which 103.3 million will be desktops. The firm reckons we’ll see “… progressively smaller declines through 2017 followed by stable volume in 2018.”

All up it seems that the PC market is such a mess that no one can effectively say how dire it will be, even half-way through the year. It also looks like most companies have written the year off as an an annus horribilis and only thinking about next year. Sooner or later the bigger companies will have to buy PCs but it looks like it will be much later.

 

PC market blighted by inventory problems

old-pcs-100565082-primary.idgeBeancounters at IDC claim that the reason that the PC market is not picking up is because there is far too much inventory out there.

IDC said that this high inventory, falling commodity prices and foreign exchange issues meant it was reducing its outlook for the PC market for 2016.

Expectations for early 2016 were already pretty grim, but a range of factors has prompted it to reduce its 2016 outlook “by a couple of percent”. Now, it predicts the global market will decline 5.4 percent annually.

IDC predicts that by 2018 the market will “effectively stabilise” but will not avoid some small declines in certain quarters before then.

The analyst pointed to the SMB and education sectors were star performers when it comes to PCs.

Jay Chou, IDC’s research manager said that in addition to specific devices, the SMB and education segments are expected to do better than the overall market.

“There have been indications of faster commercial adoption of Windows 10 than of past operating systems, and that should support some growth in the medium term. Similarly, IT access for students remains a priority, and will drive projects across regions – even though constrained government spending may limit some projects.”

Accounting scandal could be the last straw for Tosh PCs

toshiba-logoOne of the casualties of Toshiba’s accounting scandal could be the outfit’s mediocre PC business.

The company is desperate to cover a huge billion dollar accounting hole and it is thought that flogging its notebook division might help.

Tosh has said that it could be forced to divest non-core activities and “accelerate concentration and selection of business areas and promote restructuring to enhance efficiencies”.

Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys, said the PC division was a key part of the probe and flogging it off made sense.

The question is, who would want it?

Toshiba shipped 2.5 million notebooks globally in Q1 2015 which is not bad but not great when you consider that figure is based on cooked books. However it does have a brand power in the West  which would make it an attractive target for a Chinese player looking to deepen its foothold in Europe or the US.

The downside is that Tosh’s PC business has not been performing well recently. Last year it said it wanted to get away from the consumer business and focus on B2B.

PC sales slip back into the doldrums

pc-sales-slumpPC sales plunged lower than a Hollywood starlet’s dress in the first quarter of this year, according to Gartner Group.

One big reason for the decline was businesses buying fewer desktop computers, according to the Gartner research firm. It noted companies have mostly finished replacing older PCs that used outdated Windows XP software.

PC sales may get a boost later this year when Microsoft releases its next version of Windows, analysts said, but they’re still expecting an overall decline in sales for this year.

Gartner added that there had been an sales of laptop computers and hybrid models that combine features of tablets and laptops. That could help drive a gradual return to growth by next year.

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa estimates PC makers shipped 71.7 million computers in the first quarter, down 5.2 percent from a year earlier.

Some computer makers are doing better than others. China’s Lenovo saw an increase in worldwide sales, as did its nearest competitor, the maker of expensive printer ink HP.. However smaller companies, including Dell, saw sales decline.

Global PC sales have fallen steadily over the last three years, but Gartner are projecting a return to growth in 2016. Tablet users are giving up on the technology and are moving back to notebooks.

HP won PC battle in 2014

HPThings 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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 14.25.58

 

Microsoft’s profit falls thanks to strong dollar

dollarSoftware giant Microsoft reported a fall in its quarterly profit as sluggish PC sales dampened demand for Windows software and the company struggled with the impact of the strong US dollar.

Shares of the world’s largest software company, which have surged to 14-year highs in the past few months, fell three percent.

The fall did not seem to faze the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street who seemed to be expecting it. Not much can really stand up to a high dollar pressure and most thought the numbers were good enough.

Microsoft’s flagship Windows business has been under pressure for three years as PC sales have declined, although the market appears to be stabilising in recent months.

Currency shifts against the strong U.S. dollar also crimped profit in the fiscal second quarter, ended December 31, although Microsoft did not specify by how much. Microsoft gets almost three-quarters of its revenue from overseas, but a significant amount of that is still in US dollars.

Commercial licensing is chiefly sales of Windows and Office to business customers, which is Microsoft’s biggest revenue generator.

Microsoft reported profit of $5.86 billion for the latest quarter, compared with $6.56 billion last year.

Sales rose eight percent to $26.47 billion, largely due to the acquisition of Nokia’s phone handset business last year.

Analysts had expected revenue of $26.3 billion including some restructuring costs.

 

Intel scrambles PC and mobile processor divisions

ScrambledEggIntel has decided to merge its PC and mobile processor divisions under one roof, claiming that the line between tablets and laptops has blurred.

Starting from next year, Intel will form a  division called the Client Computing Group, which will include the teams that develop its Core processors for desktops and laptops, as well as those that develop its Atom chips for smartphones and tablets.

According to an internal email from CEO Brian Krzanich, the changes are supposed to improve lines of communication between product teams and help Intel better reach manufacturers that use its products.

Krzanich said that the market was evolving and Intel must change faster to stay ahead.

He claimed that the days when Intel served the PC market with its Core processors and the smartphone and tablet markets with its low-power Atom chips, were gone. The emergence of hybrid computers, which can switch between a laptop and a tablet, has done much to blur the boundary, he reckons

Intel’s Core M processors, for instance, are used in traditional laptops but also in hybrid computers and tablets. The current structure of the company no longer matches where the market is headed, he said.

Kirk Skaugen, who leads what is called the PC Client Group, will run the Client Computing Group when it’s formed.

The Mobile and Communications Groupwill be broken up. The teams that develop mobile processors will join the new client group, while the remainder, which builds modems, will be part of a new wireless R&D group.

Herman Eul, who leads the mobile group today, will oversee the move to the new structure until at least the end of the first quarter, with a new role for him to be announced after that.

The Mobile and Communications Group reported an operating loss of more than US$1 billion in the third quarter, in part because it has been making payments to tablet makers to encourage them to use its chips. Because of those and other efforts, Intel has said it aims to get its processors into 40 million new tablets this year.

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.

iPads sinking to oblivion

quicksand1It looks like the world has given up on the novelty of the tablet and is more interested in bigger phones and PCs.

After years of posting stories about how Steve Jobs killed the PC by bringing in the tablet, the Tame Apple press has to face the fact that it was not quite, but completely, untrue.

Apple reported that it had its strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years but tablet sales were slinking fast.

This seems to suggest that what we have been saying all along the so called shift to mobile was all marketing spin and that slow PC sales were due to economic rather than a shift in technology demands.

Jobs Mob saw a 16 percent jump in iPhone sales, with a stronger-than-expected revenue of $63.5 billion to $66.5 billion in the December quarter.

But sales of the iPad slid for the third straight quarter falling 7 percent from the previous quarter to 12.3 million units, and were down 13 percent from the year-ago period.

The Tame Apple Press is banking on Apple’s alliance with IBM to drive tablet and phone sales to corporate customers, however saner heads do not think that likely.

Biggish Blue Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that the scheme had more than 50 clients, and Apple and IBM intend to introduce their first jointly designed software apps next month.

The lack of interest in the Tablets place Apple in a dodgy position. It means that the company still depends on the iPhone, and it is a market which is fast drying up.

Orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus began in September, helping Apple chalk up a 12.2 percent jump in revenue last quarter to $42.12 billion. That exceeded the roughly $39.9 billion that Wall Street analysts had predicted, on average.

The return of the Mac was a surprise. There was talk once of Apple leaving its Mac business behind as it moved into the gadget business. But it appears that there are people who are prepared to pay over the odds for a PC with an Apple logo on it.

 

Intel makes profit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASemiconductor firm Intel gave a current-quarter revenue forecast well above what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street had predicted.

Intel posted third quarter net profits of $3.32 billion compared with $2.95 billion in the same financial quarter last year.

Third quarter revenue was $14.6 billion, up eight percent from same quarter last year, and the company said it expects fourth quarter revenues of $14.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Wall Street expected third quarter revenues of $14.44 billion and fourth quarter revenues of $14.48 billion.

The company said its supply chain was in good shape ahead of the holiday season and demand for PCs had recovered as enterprises finally started replacing their aged PCs.

Intel said in a statement on Tuesday that demand for its chips was in good shape.

“The worldwide PC supply chain appears to be healthy, with inventory levels appropriate in anticipation of the fourth quarter retail cycles,” Intel said.

The recovering PC industry has helped push Intel’s shares 24 percent higher in 2014, making it the top performer in the Dow Jones industrial average.

The results are an apparent poke in the eye to comments from Microchip that weak demand in China  would soon become visible across the chip industry.

Intel said its gross margins would slip to 64 percent in the current quarter from 65 percent in the third quarter.

Intel said its mobile and communications group had an operating loss of $1.04 billion on revenue of $1 million, reflecting subsidies Intel has been paying to persuade tablet makers to use its chips.

Shares of Intel were up 2.05 percent in extended trade after closing up 2.13 percent at $32.14 on Nasdaq.

Microsoft’s bottom line stripped

spankingMicrosoft is being seriously spanked by people buying naked PCs and installing pirated versions of its operating system, particularly in China.

Vole said that too few people in emerging markets are willing to pay for legitimate copies and this is holding back the spread of its newest Windows 8 version.

Ironically analysts say even buyers of pirate software prefer older versions and more than 90 percent of PCs in China, are running pre-8 versions of Windows.

Microsoft is trying to tackle the problem by offering Windows 8 at a discount to PC manufacturers who install its Bing search engine as the default. And it’s giving away versions of Windows 8 for phones and some tablets.

However Reuters  thinks that masks the fact that Redmond never really worked out how to get people in emerging markets to pay for its software.

In 2011, then CEO Steve Ballmer told employees that, because of piracy, Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the Netherlands even though China bought as many computers as the United States.

This hurts Microsoft because 56 percent of its global revenue and 78 percent of operating profit came from Windows and Office.

In China PC makers working on wafer-thin margins see the operating system is one of the costliest parts of the machine.

The result is that up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, have no Windows operating system pre-installed and carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. However once the owners get them home they just download a hot copy of Windows and Office.

Some Chinese retailers even offer “bundles” of pirated copies of Microsoft software alongside the main sale.

Microsoft has had a job getting respected firms like Lenovo to stop shipping naked PCs, but the Chinese firm countered that its margins were too low. China announced a new law requiring PCs to be shipped with operating systems. That merely dented piracy rates, which fell to 79 percent in 2009 from 92 percent in 2004.

Lenovo has reached an agreement with Microsoft in June to ensure that Lenovo PCs sold in China would come pre-installed with a genuine Windows operating system.

The way Microsoft has done this is to push the price of Windows low enough to make it worth a PC maker’s while. The cost of a Windows license has fallen to below $50 from as high as $150.  So far it is not clear if that has worked.

 

Old PCs are costing SMBs time and money

ancient-laptopSmall businesses are bleeding cash thanks to their reliance on antiquated PCs. According to Intel’s Small Business PC Refresh Study, the average small business worker loses one work week per year due to old PCs.

The Techaisle survey covered 736 businesses across six countries and found that more than 36 percent of them use PCs that are more than four years old. The old boxes require more maintenance, repairs and they exhibit security and performance issues, all of which have a negative impact on productivity.

Worse, the average repair costs for older PCs usually equal or exceed the cost of buying a brand new one. On average small businesses spend a staggering $427 to repair a PC that’s four years or older, which is 1.3 times the repair cost of PCs that are less than four years old. Almost a half of respondents did not even know that Redmond is planning to cut off support for XP next year.

Curiously, businesses in the US tend to use the oldest PCs on the planet – 8 percent of them are using PCs that are five years or older. In India, just one percent of small businesses use ancient PCs.

The results aren’t very surprising. A couple of months ago Intel released another survey which found that the average age of PCs is going up and it’s now at four years or more. The upgrade cycle is getting longer and there’s practically no incentive to upgrade for many users.

EMEA PC shipments down 16% in Q3

european-commissionPC shipments in EMEA declined 16 percent in Q3 2014, hitting a grand total of just 21.4 million units. What’s more, research firm IDC reports notebook shipments dropped 20.6 percent, while desktops weathered the storm with a 7 percent plunge. This is understandable because desktops can’t be cannibalized by tablets, so sales of workstations and gaming desktops are still relatively stable.

However, there are some encouraging signs. Although the market contracted, the drop wasn’t as bad as last quarter and there are some signs of recovery.

“The third quarter marked a change in the overall market trend,” said Chrystelle Labesque, EMEA research manager. “While it is too early to talk about recovery, the worse seems to have been reached in the second quarter of 2013. However, the ramp-up is mainly in the commercial area, with September performance above expectations for most players.”

Labesque added that the end of Windows XP support in 2014 is already driving IT departments to focus on hardware refresh, generating higher renewal in the corporate space.

Shipments in Western Europe were down 13.2 percent year-on-year. The back-to-school period didn’t help much, as demand remained soft, which can also be attributed to the late rollout of Windows 8.1, at least to some extent.

IDC believes new form factors like convertibles based on Intel’s new SoCs could drive demand in the fourth quarter and the introduction of Bay Trail and Windows 8.1 products might be the reason shipments were slow in Q3, as nobody wanted to end the quarter with practically outdated inventory.

Interestingly, Central and Eastern Europe did even worse than the Middle East and Africa, with a decline of 22.2 percent. MEA dropped just 14.5 percent.

As far as vendors go, Lenovo is continuing to outperform the competition. It ended the quarter with a 15 percent share of the market, up from 10.7 percent in the second quarter. HP also gained share, and it’s still the leader with 21 percent, up from 18.2 percent. Acer and Asus continued to bleed, losing almost a fifth of their share in the process.