Tag: pcs

There’s a little light at the end of the PC tunnel

IndiashareA report from IDC said that despite overall doom and gloom, there’s some pockets of the world where PC things are not that bad.

India, said IDC, showed a year on year growth of 4.8 percent for 2013, with 11.5 million units shipping.

Of course India has a population of over one billion people but it has never adopted the PC platform wholeheartedly.

The growth, said IDC, was largely due to state governments buying as part of a scheme to distribute free laptops to students.

And the enterprise segment managed 6.7 million units in 2013 – up 15.8 percent.

There are negative factors impacting the market, said IDC. Those include weak growth, slowdown in hiring people, the devaluation of the rupee and layoffs in the enterprise market.

And if you split out the consumer part of the market, that showed a year on uear decline of 7.4 percent.  The teapot in the broom cupboard are sales of smartphones and tablets.

HP to axe UK jobs

HPOver 1,000 jobs at HP UK will disappear next year, as part of its move to restructure its global business.

The cuts will hit HP at Warrington, Sheffield and Bracknell.

Some people will be redeployed within the company.

600 of the job cuts will go at its Bracknell HQ.

Last week HP released its fourth quarter results which showed mixed results.  But like other tier one vendors, HP has suffered from a decline in people buying PCs using X86 chips.

Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP, has vowed to turn the company round. But HP is quite a big ocean going liner and turning it round isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

PC market to take further plunge

surface-pro-2Research from IDC indicates that worldwide PC shipments will fall by 10.1 percent in 2013.

The market research firm said it is most severe fall since records began.

Shipments in 2014 are also set for fall by a further 3.8 percent with total PC shipments staying at 300 million.

Interest in PCs has waned, but IDC said that enterprise sales are performing far better although still falling by five percent year on year.  But, said Jay Chou, a senior analyst at the company, the long term outlook for commercial and consumer markets is not significantly different.

Even developing markets are showing a fall.

He said: “Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system. While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device – for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones – PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available. And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth.”

And so to PC tablets running Windows. While in 2017 it is expected to grow to 39.3 million units, from the 2013 figure of 7.5 million, such tablets will only add a few percentage points a year to PC growth.

Stan Shih returns in Acer reshuffle

Acer's Stan ShihThe founder of Acer – Stan Shih – has returned to the company he founded as chairman and interim president.

That follows CEO and chairman JT Wang stepping down, along with president Jim Wong.

Acer has been particularly hard hit by the slump in PC sales over several quarters and we guess the return of Shih is seen by the board as giving the company’s fortunes a blip.

Shih saw Acer’s fortunes rise during the 1990s as he turned the company from yet another PC manufacturer to become a global player competing with the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo.

He retired some years ago and observers see little respite in PC performance as people move away from notebooks to tablets and smartphones.

Organisation waves goodbye to the desktop PC

Scottish standardThe Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has moved to a mobile model and in the process reduced its PC energy costs by as much as 90 percent.

That’s according to Citrix, which said it is using its  technology to reduce its energy footprint.

SEPA is using desktop virtualisation technology to centralise data and applications, which people  can now use as a service. It moved into a new building earlier this year designed with mobile usage in mind – and includes seven hot desks for 10 staff. SEPA employees over 1,000 people.

Staff get to the SEPA desktop wherever they are and using whatever device is being used – whether it’s a tablet, a home PC or a desktop PC.

The scheme will also reduce business travel costs. Citrix gives as one example that lets scientists who work at the agency start a model in the morning from home and access the results later in the day.

Jav Yaqub, IT Services Manager, SEPA said: “We wanted this project to embody the core ethos of the agency, creating an efficient and environmentally-conscious IT infrastructure. We also wanted to offer people their desktop, wherever they went, but we were obviously concerned about potential data loss. The idea of having a centralised virtual desktop and using low power thin-client devices was very attractive. Our employees love the new environment.  They are able to do more things from more places.”

Acer down: CEO quits

acer-logo-ceAfter turning in a net loss for its third financial quarter, Acer’s CEO and chairman JT Wang three himself on his sword.

The company turned in a net loss of NT$12.949 billion and attributed much of the shortfall to its Gateway, Packard Bell and Founder brands, according to a report on Taiwanese wire Digitimes.

Wang will remain as chairman until June 2014 but his job as CEO goes now to Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer.

Acer had a gross margin of 6.81 percent for the quarter. It’s very exposed to the downturn at the consumer end of the PC market.

That is  underlined by the news it shipped 1.4 million notebooks in October, down 10 percent from September. Digitimes again reported that much of that was due to labour shortages in China, where much of its kit is manufactured.

Notebook market continues to plunge

notebooksWhile the notebook PC showed sequential growth in the third quarter the news is not good.

That’s according to market research company IHS, which said shipments “plunged” on a year to year basis.

IHS said that mobile PC shipments were 47.9 million worldwide, a rise of six percent from the quarter before. But despite this sequential growth, the market has now shrunk for five consecutive quarters on a year for year basis.

Craig Stice, senior principal analyst at HIS, said: “Amid the onslaught of tablets, the notebook PC market now is desperately seeking any reason for optimism. However, even with a respite from the sequential decline and a few other hopeful developments, the mobile PC business still on track to decline for the full year of 2013.”

He said the global PC market is forecast to fall again this year, repeating its decline in 2012. That was the first decline in 11 years.

PC market continues to be weak

IDC graphIDC released figures estimating that worldwide PC shipments accounted for 81.6 million units in Q3 of 2013 – that’s a drop of 7.6 percent, compared to the previous year.

But IDC said it had expected a decline of 9.5 percent for the quarter.  It said that shipments were weak in the early part of the quarter but business buys and channel intake of Windows 8.1 based systems happened in September.

IDC said emerging markets continued to be weak, while the channel and vendors were stock heavy on Ivy Bridge systems and eroded by lower priced smartphones and tablets.

Upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments in the enterprise desktop section.

Rajani Singh, senior research analyst at IDC, said that the US market hasn’t changed that much. There may be a small increase in the fourth quarter, he said. But that will be followed “by a challenging 2014”.

In EMEA the PC market continued to decline with weak consumer demand a shift to tablets.  The channel maintained lean inventories during the period.

The only bright light were “pockets of investments” despite companies still being reluctant to spend any money.

Lenovo is the top vendor and is expanding into the channel, while HP and Dell were numbers two and three.  Acer and Asus both were weakened by lack of spend by consumers. Asus doesn’t have a significant corporate user base.

Internet of video things will be next really big thing

Internet of ThingsThe internet of things might have to be renamed the really big internet of video things. As names go it’s not as catchy but it reflects the reality that in a little more than four years from now, we will be outnumbered by video-enabled devices connected to the internet.

This is according to research from the Broadband Technology Intelligence service, which is part of IHS and is based in the US.

At present there are thought to be 4.3 billion video-enabled devices connected to the internet. This catch-all term of ‘video devices’ comprises things like tablets, smart TVs, games consoles, smartphones, connected set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and PCs and the like.

By 2017 this will increase to 8.2 billion, more than the number of homo sapiens likely to be kicking about at the time.

In 2005, PCs accounted for 93% of all connected devices. By the end of 2017, PCs will comprise only 23 percent of the connected installed base. Smart TVs will be at 5%, consoles at 2%, and smartphones and tablets collectively representing 67%.

This proliferation will change the way people watch TV, movies, news and access many more services besides. It will introduce many of the same problems of disintermediation that has affected the mobile phone sector – customers’ loyalties lie not with the network they use, but the handset they bought, they detect little value in the network and price has been driven down.

Unsurprisingly, there will be modest growth in mature markets, 10% or so in North America and Western Europe, and double that in Asia-Pac, mostly down to increasing demand in China.

Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to see an additional 145 million new connected video devices added to the total.

According to Merrick Kingston, a senior analyst at Broadband Technology: “On average every human being in the world will possess more than one Internet-connected video device by the year 2017 – a major milestone for the electronics market.”

And in so doing he demonstrates why it pays to be careful when playing with statistics, as clearly not everyone in the world will own on average 1.1 video devices.

Kingston goes on to clarify this point by saying: “In practice, ownership of Internet-connected hardware will be concentrated among users whose homes are equipped with broadband connections. We’re quickly approaching a world where the average broadband household contains 10 connected, video-enabled devices. This means that each TV set installed in a broadband-equipped home will be surrounded by three Internet-connected devices.”

A number which rings true in the home of this average hack.

Intel becomes irrelevant

The mighty dinosaur IntelIt was formerly a chip giant but pretty soon now some archaeologist will uncover the bones of Chipzilla as the lumbering dinosaur nears the end of its existence.

At the Intel Developer Forum this year, Intel’s newly hatched CEO, Brian Krzanich, attempted to breathe new life into the diplodocus he tends by warbling on about healthcare and tablets. He must realise, of course, that to somewhat mix metaphors, Chipzilla has missed the boat.

The writing was on the wall for Intel some years ago but because the company is such a giant, the tiny brain wasn’t getting messages from its extremities that it was slowly dying.

It is a climate change in the egosystem that will spell the end for Intel because, in the marketing babble of the present age, its business model is clearly “unsustainable”.

Intel could only continue to churn out new processes and chips as long as it had a virtual monopoly in the market.  A new fab costs billions to produce and profit is predicated on the fact that it essentially controlled the market.

The giant appears to have missed the fact that handset manufacturers didn’t and don’t want to be locked into the same model as the PC industry.  Now, anyone with a smartphone or tablet is toting around an extremely sophisticated computer and no-one in their right minds wants to spend thousands on a PC unless they’re forced to.  As recent market research has shown, the days of PCs are pretty much numbered and, of course, like its evil twin Microsoft, Intel forgot about the mantra it used to chant, that mantra called convergence.

It will take a while for Intel to die because it is such a lumbering creature, but a model that requires billions to develop new processes simply based on PC sales just won’t work anymore. And if Intel thinks that tablets or smartphones will save its bacon, then it is living in cloud cuckoo land.

In some ways, we must lament the coming death of Chipzilla.  It had some fine people working for it and its process technology was next to none.  But greed and its virtual monopoly meant that it was viewing the world wearing blinkers and its own momentum and size prevented it from taking vital decisions.

Intel thinks PC market a-ok

Intel-logo “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,” an Intel spokesperson said, before insisting that the PC market isn’t seriously in the doldrums.

At a New York event, Intel execs showed off an Intel sponsored IDC survey that claimed the PC market holds enormous potential, and that there is no better time than now to buy a PC. Cash strapped people in Europe and the US may disagree – instead spending their cash on daily necessities like food instead of replacing functional consumer electronics.

The survey said 97 percent of respondents consider their PC their main computing device, and of these respondents, 41 percent plan to buy a PC in the coming year. Many also said they would rather give up exercise, sweets, caffeine, and TV than their computers.

As AllThingsD points out, a rather different recent IDC document showed PC sales trends are the worst they’ve ever been, ever, not just in the US and Europe, but also in emerging markets like Latin America and Asia.

Intel’s Merlin Kister said retailers were partly to blame because they frequently do not show off the capabilities of hybrid-style notebook, tablet crosses.

PC and tablet shipments to hit 493m this year

pc-sales-slumpCombined worldwide shipments of tablets and PCs are expected to hit 493.1 million units, according to research from Canalys. The firm is expecting seven percent growth, but it will come from tablets rather than PCs.

Tablets are forecast to account for 37 percent of the market, up from 25 percent last year.

By 2017, unit shipments should reach 713.8 million, but only a quarter of them will be laptops, while tablets should make up 64 percent of all shipments.

The tablet market is booming. It more than doubled in the first quarter of the year, while at the same time desktop and laptop shipments took a double-digit plunge. Tablet shipments in 2013 should hit 182.5 million units and by the end of the year they should outpace laptops.

Competition should heat up over the next few quarters, with traditional PC vendors vying for a piece of the lucrative tablet market. Windows 8.1 tablets are expected to start making their mark later this year, but they might not have what it takes to stand up to Android and iOS gear in the low end. Therefore many outfits are turning to Android tablets, including Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP. However, the trouble with cheap Android tablets is that they’re not good money makers.

“Shipment numbers can be high but absolute margins on these products are expected to be small. Low-price tablets will not be lucrative but it is necessary to compete or a vendor will simply lose relevance and scale. In fact, accessories, particularly cases, as well as the new generation of high-tech app-enabled accessories will likely provide higher margins than the products themselves,” said Pin-Chen Tang, research analyst at Canalys. “This new influx of Android devices will provide a boost to the platform and Canalys therefore expects Android to take a 45% share in 2013, behind Apple at 49%. The iPad mini is expected to continue selling well, becoming more significant in terms of the product mix and spawning a further increase in consumer demand for smaller tablets.’

The other big unknown is Intel’s 2-in-1 convertible push. They should also start appearing later this year and vendors have already shown off some designs, but many are not convinced that they will do well. The first generation isn’t very impressive. They require pricey and relatively hot x86 chips, so they end up a bit bulkier than ARM-based tablets. In addition, Windows 8.x is still an unproven OS in the tablet space and it’s more bloated than Android or iOS.

“These convertible products have disappointed so far. Convertibles are too heavy in tablet form and too expensive when compared with clamshell product,” said the company. Canalys therefore expects that, for at least the next 18 months, consumers will buy separate products, rather than compromise on a Windows 8 convertible or hybrid PC. Even for Android products, alternative form factors are not expected to grow rapidly due to the category being sandwiched between low-priced slates and more familiar Windows-based clamshell notebooks,” said Canalys analyst James Wang.

Tablets oust PCs

cheap-tabletsA Gartner report says that worldwide shipments of PCs fell in all regions during the second quarter of this year – a fall of 10.9 percent and the fifth consecutive decline.

And, if Gartner analysts are to be believed, the day of the PC is over, with a shrinking installed base of PCs.  Mikato Kitagawa, principal analyst at the company, said: “Inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC. This is also accounting for the collapse of the mini notebook market.”

Lenovo pipped HP at the post, but showed a decline in the Asia Pacific region.  HP however, still leads in the USA, Latin America, and APAC.

76 million units shipped in the second quarter, but worldwide, Acer’s growth dropped by 35.3 percent, while Asus also see a decline of 20.5 percent.

Dell also fell, but showed steady growth in the USA and Japan.

Kitigawa, however, doesn’t think Windows 8 is responsible for the slowing shipments. However, the impending end of support for Windows XP helped to grow PC sales in the US enterprise sector.

Victor Basta, MD at M&A firm Magister, believes the PC era ended some time ago. He said: “If you’re a store chain called PC World you might want to rethink your brand quickly if you want to be associated with the future of technology rather than antiquity.”  He also warned poor sales of PCs would cast a cloud over the Dell deal.

Dell price cuts fail to boost revenues

Michael DellA report claimed that Dell will announce results tomorrow that don’t match the expectations of financial analysts.

The Wall Street Journal claims to have talked to a person close to the matter who indicates profits continue to fall, as Dell slashed prices in order to boost sales.

The results were supposed to be out on May the 21st but have been brought forward, the source said.

And it indicates revenue will amount to around $14 billion, and comes against the background of potential buyouts from Michael Dell himself, in competition with Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management.

It’s not just Dell that’s been slashing prices, but some suspect there’s politics related to the potential buyout that’s pushing the company to announce its results tomorrow, rather than wait a few weeks.

Ivy Bridge notebook prices slashed

Intel-logoThe UK market is following in Taiwan’s lead and slashing Ivy Bridge notebook and desktop prices in preparation for Intel’s Haswell launch, resellers have said.

However, they have warned that in the current climate the company is doing itself no favours with the price reductions.

The comments come after a report in DigiTimes suggested  that retail channels in the Taiwan market had begun to slash prices of Intel’s Ivy Bridge machines, which retail from $611, by an average of 10 percent. However, other models were reduced further with discounts between 20-30 percent.

And the orders from above have filtered down to the UK with resellers also feeling the pressure to slash.

“We’re getting orders for reductions too for the same reasons. But, this isn’t anything new, it’s the way the cycle works,” one reseller told ChannelEye.

“I’m not sure about the 20 to 30 percent reductions. At the moment we’re seeing five to 15 percent. But as the date of launch comes closer we’ll probably be forced to slash prices even more.”

However, others claimed the company wasn’t doing itself or the new launch any favours with the reductions.

“Whenever Intel is about to make a new release we see the old models, even if they haven’t been on the shelves for long, slashed in price,” another reseller added.

“While it works for us in terms of not carrying so much surplus stock, for companies it means they are losing potential customers and money with consumers and businesses now taking heed of these sales and waiting until these price cuts happen.

“Once the new products are launched the sales circle starts again.”

Another agreed, telling ChannelEye: “This is nothing new. It’s the way of retail life. But it’s not a good model to follow, especially in this climate where consumers are waiting to pounce on bargains and refusing to pay full price for anything.

“Maybe Intel should concentrate on getting existing lines right before making price cuts and new products that will no doubt be left sitting on the shelf.”