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Commercial segment provides a bright spot in the traditional PC market • IDC
<p>The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, declined 3.0% year over year in the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), according to preliminary results from International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments were above expectations, reaching 58.5m during the quarter.

Although the shortage of Intel processors, mostly at the lower end, remained a factor in seeing a contraction in 1Q19, the market performed better than expected with most regions exceeding forecast. Stronger than expected desktop shipments further boosted volume, coming on the heels of a tough previous quarter, (4Q18), which had lackluster consumer demand and desktop supply issues. Furthermore, more PC brands turned to AMD chips. All of this, combined with firms rounding the last corner on its Windows 10 migration deployments, led to a shift in the market for traditional PCs towards more commercial and premium products.

"Desktop PCs were surprisingly resilient as the commercial segment helped drive a refresh during the quarter," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers. "Capitalizing on this refresh cycle, the top vendors – HP, Lenovo, and Dell – each increased their year-over-year volume and captured additional share in the desktop PC market."</p>

So it's "above expectations" when shipments fall below 60m, the first time that's happened in the first quarter since 2006? A fall of 3% is "better than expected"? This is "the glass has a hole, but just now it's half-full! Yay!"

<a href="">Gartner is gloomier</a>, reckoning shipments fell 4.6%, and OEMs allocated their hard-to-get CPUs to high-margin devices and Chromebooks. "Including Chromebook shipments, the decline would have been 3.5%" - which to me implies Chromebook shipments were just 0.7m, unless it's comparing the PCs+Chromebooks figure for both the 2018 and 2019 quarters; in the latter case you can't know how many Chromebooks were shipped, only that 0.7m fewer shipped in 2019.
gartner  idc  pc 
8 days ago by charlesarthur
Global device shipments will be flat in 2019 • Gartner
<p>"For the eighth consecutive year, the PC market is at a standstill," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “PC shipments will total 258 million units in 2019, a 0.6% decline from 2018.” Traditional PCs are set to decline 3% in 2019 to total 189 million units.

<p><strong>Worldwide Device Shipments by Device Type, 2018-2021 (Millions of Units</strong>)</p><table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="97%"><tbody><tr><td width="42%" valign="top"><p>Device Type</p></td><td width="14%" valign="top"><p><strong>2018</strong></p></td><td width="14%" valign="top"><p><strong>2019</strong></p></td><td width="14%" valign="top"><p><strong>2020</strong></p></td><td width="13%" valign="top"><p><strong>2021</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p>Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook)</p></td><td width="14%"><p>195,317</p></td><td width="14%"><p>189,472</p></td><td width="14%"><p>182,823</p></td><td width="13%"><p>175,058</p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p>Ultramobiles (Premium) </p></td><td width="14%"><p>64,471</p></td><td width="14%"><p>68,869</p></td><td width="14%"><p>74,432</p></td><td width="13%"><p>79,871</p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p><strong>Total PC Market </strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>259,787</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>258,341</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>257,255</strong></p></td><td width="13%"><p><strong>254,929</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p>Ultramobiles (Basic and Utility)</p></td><td width="14%"><p>149,561</p></td><td width="14%"><p>147,963</p></td><td width="14%"><p>145,811</p></td><td width="13%"><p>143,707</p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p><strong>Computing Device Market</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>409,348</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>406,304</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>403,066</strong></p></td><td width="13%"><p><strong>398,636</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p>Mobile Phones</p></td><td width="14%"><p>1,811,922</p></td><td width="14%"><p>1,802,394</p></td><td width="14%"><p>1,824,628</p></td><td width="13%"><p>1,798,356</p></td></tr><tr><td width="42%"><p><strong>Total Device Market</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>2,221,270</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>2,208,697</strong></p></td><td width="14%"><p><strong>2,227,694</strong></p></td><td width="13%"><p><strong>2,196,992</strong></p></td></tr></tbody></table>
<p>Source: Gartner (April 2019)</p>

Slow upgrade on phones (though by 2023 foldables might be 5% of high-end phones - that's tiny), and consumers are retiring but not replacing their PCs. Tech stasis.</p>
pc  smartphone  gartner 
11 days ago by charlesarthur
Intel CPU shortages to worsen in 2Q19, says Digitimes Research • Digitimes
Jim Hsiao:
<p>Shortages of Intel's CPUs are expected to worsen in the second quarter compared to the first as demand for Chromebooks, which are mostly equipped with Intel's entry-level processors, enters the high period, according to Digitimes Research.

Digitimes Research expects Intel CPUs' supply gap to shrink to 2-3% in the first quarter with Core i3 taking over Core i5 as the series hit hardest by shortages.

The shortages started in August 2018 with major brands including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Lenovo all experiencing supply gaps of over 5% at their worst moment.

Although most market watchers originally believed that the shortages would gradually ease after vendors completed their inventory preparations for the year-end holidays, the supply gap in the fourth quarter of 2018 still stayed at the same level as that in the third as HP launched a second wave of CPU inventory buildup during the last quarter of the year, prompting other vendors to follow suit.

Taiwan-based vendors were underprepared and saw their supply gaps expand from a single digit percentage previously to over 10% in the fourth quarter.</p>

A "supply gap" implies that the (PC) vendor can't raise prices to reduce demand to match the supply. But if all the big names are suffering, why don't they want to raise prices?
pc  intel  cpu  shortage 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Microsoft's 800m claim for Windows 10 signals migration acceleration • Computerworld
Gregg Keizer:
<p>Although Windows 7's support retirement is just 312 days away, the OS stubbornly clings to a position of power, a place it seems to have little desire to relinquish. Using the 12-month average change in user share, Computerworld recently forecast that nearly 41% of all Windows PCs will be running Windows 7 at the moment it falls off Microsoft's support list. That would be about a dozen percentage points higher than Windows XP's spot when it lost support in the spring of 2014.

Microsoft's reporting of 800m Windows 10 devices, however, hints at a quickening uptake of the OS, which in the current environment - where total PC counts are flat at best - also means a faster diminishing of Windows 7.

The latest 100 million increase - from September 25, 2018 to yesterday - took only 163 days, little more than half the time needed to move Windows 10 from 600m to 700m (300 days). It was also a quicker transition than the ones from 500m to 600m (203 days) and from 400m to 500m (226 days).

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

What that graph doesn't show - but should - is that when Windows 10 was launched in July 2015, Satya Nadella's target was to be on a billion devices (with 1.5bn Windows PCs installed) in three years. They got about two-thirds of the way there by that time; the upgrade curve had flattened out almost at once because Windows got crushed on mobile.
microsoft  windows  pc 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Why PC builders should stock up on components now • PCMag UK
Michael Kan:
<p>NZXT is a popular PC desktop case vendor, but the California-based company recently had to raise its prices.

The reason? The new US tariffs on Chinese imports includes PC cases. In September, the Trump administration imposed the 10% duty, which also cover motherboards, graphics cards, and CPU coolers from the country. As a result, NZXT had to introduce a 10% price increase on PC cases to deal with the added costs, VP Jim Carlton told PCMag in an interview.

And building a PC could get even more expensive in 2019; US tariffs on Chinese-made goods will rise from 10% to 25% in January.

"If I needed to build a system in the next six months, I'd definitely build it before the end of the year," Carlton told us.

For PC builders, the tariffs risk adding a few hundred dollars to the total cost of components for a custom desktop. "If it's a $2,000 purchase on 25 per cent tariffs, it's going to be a $2,500 purchase," Carlton said. "So we are very concerned with the direction of where this is going."

"I don't have a 10 per cent [profit] margin I can just throw away and absorb the tariffs," he added. "And certainly no one has a margin for 25 per cent."

But retail consumers won't be the only buyers affected by the tariffs. MBX Systems is another US provider of hardware systems, which focuses on enterprise customers. The Illinois-based company specializes in assembling servers, which are then resold by its clients, such as cybersecurity firms.

Last month, the company told its customers the bad news; more than 30 component suppliers—including Intel, Samsung, and Seagate—had been affected by the tariffs, forcing server component costs to go up.

"We've seen anywhere from reluctant acceptance by the customer—where they're not going to increase the cost to the end user—to others that will push back heavily," MBX Systems president Chris Tucker told PCMag.</p>

Looking outside China doesn't help: manufacturing prices are higher.. by at least the tariff amount. Trade wars: not so easy to win.
china  us  pc  pricing 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Creation and consumption • Benedict Evans
Benedict Evans:
<p>It seems to me that when people talk about what you ‘can’t’ do on a device, there are actually two different meanings of ‘can’t’ in computing. There is ‘can’t’ as meaning the feature doesn’t exist, and there is ‘can’t’ as meaning you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t know how to do it, the feature might as well not be there. So, there is what an expert can’t do on a smartphone or tablet that they could do on a PC. But then there are all of the things that a normal person (the other 90% or 95%) can’t do on a PC but can do on a smartphone, because the step change in user interface abstraction and simplicity means that they know how to do it on a phone and didn’t know how to do it on a PC. That is, the step change in user interface models that comes with the shift from Windows and Mac to iOS and Android is really a shift in the accessibility of capability. A small proportion of people might temporarily go from can to can’t, but vastly more go from can’t to can. 

Meanwhile, while there are 1.5bn PCs, many of them shared, there are today around 3bn smartphones, and this will rise to 5bn or more in the next few years, out of 5.5bn people on Earth aged over 14… the price and distribution of smartphones means that billions more people will use smartphones for something than ever used a PC for anything at all. 

So, 100m or so people are doing things on PCs now that can't be done on tablets or smartphones. Some portion of those tasks will change and become possible on mobile, and some portion of them will remain restricted to PCs for a long time. But there are another 3bn people who were using PCs (but mostly sharing them) but who weren't doing any of those things with them, and are now doing on mobile almost all of the stuff that they actually did do on PCs, plus a lot more. And, there's another 2bn or so people whose first computer of any kind is or will be a smartphone. 'Creation on PC, consumption on mobile' seems like a singularly bad way to describe this: vastly more is being created on mobile now by vastly more people than was ever created on PCs.</p>
Ipad  creation  consumption  pc 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Gartner, IDC were both wildly wrong in guessing Apple's Q4 Mac shipments • Apple Insider
Daniel Eran Dilger:
<p>The fact that Gartner and IDC were both so wrong about Apple's Mac sales is particularly shocking because Apple reports its Mac shipments every quarter, making it easier to refine the model that analysts use to make their sales projections. No other PC maker issues verified sales data every quarter, meaning there's no way for outside estimates to check their own math against reality.

If Gartner and IDC are that wrong about Mac shipments, their PC numbers are even more untrustworthy.

And of course, moving forward into fiscal 2019, Apple will no longer report its Mac and iPad unit sales each quarter. That means the final verifiable data we now have to challenge analyst estimates will be gone. The only way we will know that Apple isn't doomed is if it is still in business.

The direction of the market on a quarterly basis (in terms of unit market share and growth) will also be a huge question mark. The only way we will know that Gartner and IDC have unreliable data is that they've had unreliable data and insight in the past. After all, IDC once predicted that both Windows Phone and Windows Tablets would be hits that crushed the growth Apple's iPhone and iPad, without offering any actual facts supporting the idea either time.

It is pretty clear that the PC market has not been growing, even if the guesswork numbers from Gartner and IDC can't really be relied upon to be factual. But we also know that Gartner and IDC have spent the last decade <a href="">issuing gerrymandered data</a> to make it look like tablets—specifically iPads sold by Apple—weren't having any material, discernible effect on PC sales, undeniably to make Microsoft's Windows business look better than it was.</p>

DED's point (on the gerrymandering) is that the iPad did have an effect on general PC sales back in 2013, and arguably contributed to the fall in the consumer PC market that we've seen since 2011. It's pretty hard to argue against that: for many home users, an iPad really can do everything their older PC could. (So can their smartphone.) But of course, those who frame the debate win the debate - and as he says in the "gerrymandering" article, linked, by framing the iPad as "not a PC" both Gartner and IDC could suggest the iPad wasn't important.

Plus the fact that they always get Apple's "PC" numbers wrong isn't encouraging, given that Apple is going to stop releasing them.

Speaking of tablets...
apple  pc  ipad  tablet  gartner  idc 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Lenovo reclaims the #1 spot in PC rankings in Q3 2018 • IDC
<p>Preliminary results for the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18) show that shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totaled nearly 67.4m units, marking a decline of 0.9% in year-on-year terms, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Unlike 2Q18, which grew, the 3Q18 results nonetheless outperformed the forecast which called for a decline of 3.0% due to several factors…

…"Q3 came in better than expected," said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's P ersona l C omputing Device Tracker. "But the outlook remains uncertain as we head into the holiday season, when volume will be boosted by many consumer-oriented promotions in entry-level SKUs. AMD supply could help with processor demand somewhat, but it will also take time for OEMs to spec in more models."

"Despite looming concerns around CPU shortages, the PC market in the U.S. turned in a good quarter backed by strong results in the notebook segment," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, US Devices & Displays. "Healthy business PC volume, steady Chromebook shipments to U.S. K-12, and a growing gaming consumer base have been the key reasons for the optimism around the U.S. PC markets."</p>

Hooray! Only down a bit rather than a lot! Notable: Apple sales quite a long way down (11%), though this is an estimate. Equally, IDC's estimates tend to be higher than Apple's actual figures.

Gartner, meanwhile, <a href="">puts the market at "flat growth"</a> (huh?) with 0.1% growth, to 67.2m units. So that's some agreement.
lenovo  pc  apple 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Use of internet, social media, digital devices plateaus in US • Pew Research Center
<p>The shares of US adults who say they use the internet, use social media, own a smartphone or own a tablet computer are all nearly identical to the shares who said so in 2016. The share who say they have broadband internet service at home currently stands at 65% – nearly identical to the 67% who said this in a survey conducted in summer 2015. And when it comes to desktop or laptop ownership, there has actually been a small dip in the overall numbers over the last two years – from 78% in 2016 to 73% today.

<img src="" width="100%" />

A contributing factor behind this slowing growth is that parts of the population have reached near-saturation levels of adoption of some technologies. Put simply, in some instances there just aren’t many non-users left. For example, nine-in-ten or more adults younger than 50 say they go online or own a smartphone. And a similar share of those in higher-income households have laptops or desktops.</p>

Notice that dip in desktop/laptop use, while tablet use inched up. Although I suspect that tablets plus smartphones have consumed that gap in PC use.

If that's continued in two years' time, it'll be a clear trend. Check back in 2020!
pc  tablet  smartphone  us  demographic 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
Global PC market to halt decline in 2019 as APAC leads with 1% growth • Canalys
<p>The worldwide PC market will enjoy a slight recovery in 2019, with shipments of desktops, notebooks and two-in-ones set for 0.3% growth after seven years of decline. APAC will be a key driver as the industry turns to the region in the face of falling demand in Europe and China. PC shipments to Asia Pacific will overtake those to Western Europe by 2021.

<img src="" width="100%" />

"Windows 10 refresh will continue to be the main driver of commercial demand for PCs in 2019," said Canalys Chief Analyst Alastair Edwards. "This will be buoyed by strong economic performance and business spend in the United States, the largest PC market in the world, as well as a continued global push to upgrade on the back of heightened IT security concerns. Furthermore, 2019 is likely to bring about an easing of component supply constraints that have recently plagued the industry. Intel and its partners have admitted that tight supply of 14 nanometer processors will delay PC shipments this year, while DRAM shortages will start to ease toward the end of 2018, with the effects to be felt next year. Pent-up demand from this year will boost growth in 2019 as these issues are resolved."</p>

One per cent growth! Hang out more flags!
pc  growth 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
ARM says its next processors will outperform Intel laptop chips • Engadget
Jon Fingas:
<p>While ARM already believes that its recently unveiled Cortex-A76 is competitive with Intel's 2.6GHz Core i5-7300U, it expects its 2019 "Deimos" and 2020 "Hercules" designs to clearly outperform that CPU. You would get "laptop-class" speed from a more efficient mobile chip, according to the company.

Of course, it's worth taking ARM's braggadocio with a grain of salt. The figures don't include Intel's comparable 8th-generation Core chips that pack twice as many cores and could easily shrink the performance gap. This is also based on one synthetic, integer-oriented benchmark (SPEC CINT2006), not a broader suite of tests that would measure floating point math and other performance traits. ARM is putting its best foot forward rather than offering definitive proof.

Even so, it's telling that ARM might be in the ballpark.</p>

The argument is strong apart from the bit where it suggests PC OEMs would switch to ARM from Intel. I just don't think it would happen. Fine, Windows could manage it. Could third-party apps? Nope. Only Apple might be able to strongarm enough developers to do that, or run an emulator able to do it.
arm  intel  pc 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Worldwide PC shipments grew for first time in six years during 2Q 2018 • Gartner
<p>"PC shipment growth in the second quarter of 2018 was driven by demand in the business market, which was offset by declining shipments in the consumer segment," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "In the consumer space, the fundamental market structure, due to changes on PC user behavior, still remains, and continues to impact market growth. Consumers are using their smartphones for even more daily tasks, such as checking social media, calendaring, banking and shopping, which is reducing the need for a consumer PC.

"In the business segment, PC momentum will weaken in two years when the replacement peak for Windows 10 passes. PC vendors should look for ways to maintain growth in the business market as the Windows 10 upgrade cycle tails off."

With the completion of Lenovo's joint venture with Fujitsu, three out of four PCs were shipped by the top five PC vendors in the second quarter of 2018. With the inclusion of Fujitsu’s PC shipments due to the joint venture (a formation of Joint Venture with Fujitsu), Lenovo was in a virtual tie with HP Inc. for the top spot in the second quarter of 2018 based on global PC shipments. All of the top five PC vendors experienced an increase in worldwide PC shipments in the quarter.

…In the US PC market, the industry returned to growth after six consecutive quarters of shipment declines. In the second quarter of 2018, US PC shipments totaled 14.5 million units, a 1.7% increase from the same period last year. HP Inc. continued to be the market leader in the US, but Dell closed the gap, as Dell's US PC shipments increased 7.2%.

"In the US, business PC demand was particularly strong among the public sector as the second quarter is typically PC buying season among government and education buyers," Ms. Kitagawa said. "Desk-based PC growth was attributed to continued high usage of desk-based PCs in the US public sectors. Mobile PCs grew in the US, but strong Chromebook demand in the education market adversely affected PC growth. Overall, Chromebooks grew 8% in the US, but Chromebooks are not included in the PC market statistics."</p>

OK, it's time to ask: if Chromebook shipments can be high enough to "affect" PC growth, why the hell aren't they included in the stats, and perhaps broken out?
Pc  growth  idc  gartner 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Toshiba to close the book on its laptop unit • WSJ
Takashi Mochizuki:
<p>Sharp is paying just ¥4 billion ($36m) for an 80.1% stake in a business that once was at the forefront of the global move toward mobile computing. Osaka-based Sharp, controlled by Taiwan-based iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group, has been expanding its consumer goods lineup because Foxconn wants to establish itself in branded electronic products.

The deal, disclosed by the companies Tuesday, highlights a contrast between the two electronics makers, both of which faced multibillion-dollar losses and management turmoil several years ago. Sharp has managed to turn itself around quickly under foreign management while Toshiba, which received more support from the Japanese government during its restructuring, is still trying to streamline its unprofitable portfolio.

Toshiba’s laptop PCs, sold under the Dynabook name, helped make the conglomerate famous among consumers outside Japan, but the business has lost money for the past five years and was at the center of a profit-padding scandal that the company disclosed in 2015.

That scandal and the bankruptcy last year of Toshiba’s U.S. nuclear subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Co., have pushed Toshiba to shed many of its money-losing consumer businesses as well as more profitable units to raise funds. It has sold its television and appliance businesses to Chinese companies and its medical-equipment business to Canon Inc.

Last week, Toshiba completed the sale of its main profit center, its flash-memory semiconductor business, to a consortium led by U.S. private-equity firm Bain Capital, although Toshiba will retain a 40% stake…

…The Toshiba PC business had revenue of ¥167 billion ($1.52bn) in the year ended March 2018 and posted an operating loss of ¥9.6 billion ($87m).</p>

And so another now-tiny player exits the PC market.
Toshiba  PC  sharp 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Tablets and PCs set for modest 2.1% decline in 2018 as the industry finally starts to stabilize • Canalys
<p>“Consumer demand will remain weak overall,” said Dutt. “Components such as DRAM will remain constrained in the short-term, and vendors will pass most of the increased costs onto customers, driving up ASPs. But dedicated gaming PCs have emerged as a genuine hotspot in large markets, such as the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, where eSports has helped to generate an appetite among younger consumers with disposable incomes who are willing to spend top prices for high performance. The consumer market is also more likely to see new brands challenging the likes of HP, Lenovo and Dell. Despite the sector’s weak performance, there are lower barriers to entry from a channel perspective compared with the commercial sector. Huawei and Xiaomi are already attempting to disrupt selected markets, but nether yet has a range of products or channel partners to trouble the incumbents.”

<img src="" width="100%" />

Despite a recent rise in iPad shipments, the tablet category remains in decline as consumers show a preference for smartphones as their primary mobile devices and rely on traditional PCs for more compute-intensive tasks. The category is expected to contract by almost 3% per year on average from 2017 to 2022, down almost 150m units from the market peak in 2014.</p>
tablet  pc 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Traditional PC market exceeds expectations with flat year-on-year shipment growth • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totaled 60.4m units and recorded flat (0.0%) year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The results exceeded the earlier forecast of a 1.5% decline and marks the third consecutive quarter where traditional PC shipment volume has hovered around flat growth year on year.

Although the numbers are preliminary, the data seems to indicate a continued build up in commercial renewal activity as the main driver for the stabilizing trend. Business uptake of Windows 10 systems appear to be steadily ongoing, benefitting commercially-focused PC OEMs such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. Demand for premium notebooks in both the consumer and commercial segments have also helped major vendors retain better margins and garner buyer interest. Furthermore, continued focus on gaming systems has injected slight improvement in pockets of the consumer space. Unlike the first quarter of 2017, an improved supply of key notebook components also loosened pressures on both supply and pricing, leading to some recovery of share for the smaller vendors.</p>

The <a href="">Gartner data</a> is gloomier - a fall of 1.4%, though to a higher total of 61.69m units. The confusing thing is that Gartner excludes Chromebooks, but IDC includes them; but Chromebook sales would probably explain how IDC sees sales as static while Gartner sees them falling.

Either way, the PC market is a long way down; in 1Q 2012 IDC's figures were showed shipments of 88m. Somewhere, 28m sales got lost.
idc  gartner  pc  chromebook 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Geek Squad's relationship with FBI is cozier than we thought • Electronic Frontier Foundation
Aaron Mackey:
<p>Another document records a $500 payment from the FBI to a confidential Geek Squad informant. This appears to be one of the same payments at issue in the prosecution of Mark Rettenmaier, the California doctor who was charged with possession of child pornography after Best Buy sent his computer to the Kentucky Geek Squad repair facility.

Other documents show that over the years of working with Geek Squad employees, FBI agents developed a process for investigating and prosecuting people who sent their devices to the Geek Squad for repairs. The documents detail a series of FBI investigations in which a Geek Squad employee would call the FBI’s Louisville field office after finding what they believed was child pornography.

The FBI agent would show up, review the images or video and determine whether they believe they are illegal content. After that, they would seize the hard drive or computer and send it to another FBI field office near where the owner of the device lived. Agents at that local FBI office would then investigate further, and in some cases try to obtain a warrant to search the device. 

Some of these reports indicate that the FBI treated Geek Squad employees as informants, identifying them as “CHS,” which is shorthand for confidential human sources. In other cases, the FBI identifies the initial calls as coming from Best Buy employees, raising questions as to whether certain employees had different relationships with the FBI.</p>

Now, is this really, actually bad? I'd suggest that the Geek Squad staff are doing precisely what you'd want concerned citizens to do: alerting the authorities when they think they have evidence of malfeasance. Then the authorities check it. The accused person might never know they were accused; it could all blow over. The evidence still has to be heard in public.

Related: it was staff at a PC World (akin to Geek Squad) in the UK who found child abuse imagery on the computer of a British man. And so began the downfall of Paul Gadd - aka the multiply-chart-topping music star Gary Glitter.
geeksquad  pc  content 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Why the Connected PC initiative misses the mark • Techpinions
Tim Bajarin:
<p>While in theory, I like the idea of always being connected, anytime and anywhere, I knew from our research that connectivity via cellular was not a high priority when it comes to features wanted in a laptop. Indeed, we have had the availability of cellular modems as options for laptops for over ten years, and demand for this feature in laptops is very low.

Another good benchmark to measure demand for cellular connectivity beyond a smartphone is the cellular activation rates of iPads. It turns out that of all iPads sold, around 50% buy up to include a cellular modem. But our research shows that less than 20% of those iPads with a cellular modem in them activate them. [So only 10% of all iPads - CA.]

The key reason for lack of real demand for a cellular connection in a laptop or a tablet is the additional cellular costs this adds to a person’s cell phone bill. When I asked one major cellular carriers about how they would price the connection on a connected PC, they said it would be an additional $10 or 12 dollars a month fee, and data used on a laptop would count against the person’s monthly data allotment they pay for already.

I could imagine that a younger demographic user who watches a lot of Youtube videos and accesses a lot of content on their laptops now, could go through their allotted all-you-can-eat 22-25 gig personal data plan in one or two weeks and then their data speeds on both their smartphone and connected laptop go down to 128 kbps.

Our research about the demand for cellular in a laptop was done sometime back so early this year we updated this survey by asking people “what are the three most important features you want in the next notebook or laptop you will buy.” As you can see from this chart below, long battery life, more memory, and larger hard drive storage topped their list.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

Personally I use a PAYG (pay-as-you-go, aka prepaid) sim card. And being connected really is useful - though weirdly, one doesn't care on a laptop.
Connectedpc  pc 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
Lenovo heads for a goodwill iceberg • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan:
<p>There's absolutely no doubt, based on management's previous public statements, that those units [Motorola’s mobile business and IBM’s server business] bought at a cost of $5bn are performing worse than expected. What's extraordinary is that after four years Lenovo hasn't recognized such impairment and allows the goodwill to sit on the balance sheet.

Reporting standards only require a test of goodwill to be done annually, so it's reasonable not to see anything announced in the past few quarters. But the company's financial year is coming to an end March 31, so the clock is ticking.

You can understand management's reticence. After a slew of deals in the late 2000s, Acer, a Taiwanese PC maker, clung to inflated goodwill figures despite clear signs that the acquisitions weren't bearing fruit. In the end, it had to conduct an IAS36 impairment test and recognized a NT$9.4bn ($335m) writedown, enough to plunge Acer into a record annual loss and spur the ousting of its chairman and CEO.

That impairment was equivalent to about 24% of Acer's total intangible assets at the time.

For Lenovo, I calculate it would take a mere 10.3% writedown to push it into a loss for the current fiscal year - and that's only for an impairment on goodwill, and only at the mobile and server divisions. A deeper, 20% impairment on those units would bring about a record annual loss.</p>

This is a terrific insight. Lenovo was clearly suffering from hubris when it took on Motorola and the IBM server division. The PC division is the only thing keeping it afloat.
Lenovo  pc  mobile  server  goodwill 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Despite pockets of growth the personal computing device market is expected to decline at a -2% CAGR through 2021 • IDC
<p>Traditional PC shipments are expected to drop from 260.2m units in 2016 to 248.1m in 2021 units, resulting in a five-year CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of -0.9%. However, when detachable tablets such as the Microsoft Surface Pro are added in, the five-year CAGR improves to +0.3%. Out of the five major product categories in the PCD market, desktops and slates will continue to decline over the duration of the forecast, while detachable tablets, workstations, and notebook PCs will show signs of volume improvement.

Although the 0.3% CAGR is positive news, examining the market along geographic lines shows the PCD market will continue to face challenges in growing both volume as well as margins. With over 69% of shipments in emerging markets going toward traditional notebooks and slate tablets in 2021, price points remain very sensitive in countries once pegged as ripe for growth. Conversely, while convertibles and ultraslim notebooks have found increased favor in developed markets, China will be the only developing market among the top 10 markets for these devices in 2021.

"Detachable tablets are expected to see double-digit growth from 2018 through 2021," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "Windows-based detachables already count for close to 50% of the volume in this category and this isn't expected to change much over the duration of the forecast. Apple's iPad Pro lineup will remain at 30-35% of the category with the remainder going to Google-based devices. It is clear this is a category that has the interest and now investments from both PC and smartphone OEMs, but when looking at the overall PCD market it accounts for just 5% of volume in 2017, growing to 9.4% in 2021."</p>
idc  forecast  pc 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Fujitsu offloads PC division in joint venture with Lenovo • Canalys
Fujitsu is selling a 51% share in its PC division to Lenovo for US$224m, and another 5% to Development Bank of Japan for $22m:
<p>Fujitsu insists it is not quitting the PC market, but instead sees this partnership as a way to strengthen its competitive position against larger rivals. With a focus on enterprise PCs only (apart from in Japan), Fujitsu's global PC market share, excluding tablets, has fallen from around 1.9% in 2013 to 1.3% in 2016. The primary benefit for Fujitsu is the combined purchasing power that Lenovo brings with Intel, Microsoft and other component vendors, which will bring substantial pricing advantages.

<p>For Lenovo, the attraction is different. Fujitsu brings some size benefits – combining Q2 shipment volumes would have given Lenovo a 21% market share (excluding tablets). But the real appeal lies in Fujitsu&rsquo;s sizeable consumer business in Japan. Lenovo is already Japan's PC leader through its joint venture with NEC, so adding Fujitsu significantly extends its leadership (assuming no objections from competition authorities) as Japan's PC market struggles with growth. Fujitsu's notebook manufacturing and R+D operations in Japan will move into the joint venture, improving efficiencies for Lenovo, which the company hopes will boost profitability. Unlike in the rest of the world, FCCL will own the sales and support organization and go-to-market operation in Japan. This means it will be responsible for large retail relationships and direct sales in Japan.</p>

Fujitsu will still make servers and storage. But what a capitulation. It values the whole PC business at $439m; given that it's probably loss-making, that will be "going concern" pricing.
fujitsu  lenovo  pc 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Stop being so PC, Lenovo • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan is pretty salty about Lenovo's results and acquisition of 51% in Fujitsu's PC business:
<p>Apparently that loss on previous acquisitions wasn't a lesson for the board, because they've just doubled down on PCs to the tune of at least 20.4bn yen ($179m), and as much as 30.7bn yen. The deal sees them join with with Fujitsu and Development Bank of Japan Inc., which will hold a 5% stake.

The joint venture will focus on the research, development, design, manufacturing and sales of client computing devices for the global PC market.

Spare me (and your shareholders)! Lenovo investing even more money in an anemic business is folly, and dressing it up as R&D looks like it might be intended to fool us.

I get why they want to go deeper into client computing: It's the only division that's capable of showing consistent growth and profitability. But we all know that this is an unhealthy addiction, because in the long term PCs are a dying business. Lenovo may be staying there because of old habits, or perhaps is driven by a need to report profits to shareholders every quarter; Lenovo's client computing division remains the only unit capable of delivering profits.

This won't be an easy addiction to kick. At least one rival, Dell Inc., went cold turkey and is trying to wean itself off the quarterly treadmill. Others have pivoted away from client devices.

A decade from now, Lenovo won't be predominantly a PC company, because it will have shifted focus, or succumbed. It should start that process now, while it can.</p>

It has lost money in smartphone for 15 straight quarters, and I can't find evidence of its tablets making money. PCs are all it has.
lenovo  pc 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Traditional PC market further stabilizes as top companies consolidate share • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 67.2m units in the third quarter of 2017 (3Q17), which translates into a slight year-over-year decline of 0.5%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The results were better than projections of a 1.4% decline, and further demonstrate the trend of market stabilization in recent quarters. Improvement in emerging markets as well as back-to-school promotions helped boost results.

The component shortages of recent quarters have continued to improve and did not factor as a significant hindrance to production volumes. Nonetheless, higher component prices and inventory in some markets meant limited shipments and validated IDC assumptions about a muted third quarter. Not surprisingly, competitive pressures further cemented the dominance of the top five PC companies, which accounted for nearly 75% of the total traditional PC market…

…"The U.S. traditional PC market exhibited lower overall growth, contracting 3.4% in 3Q17," said Neha Mahajan, senior. research analyst, Devices & Displays. "Despite the overall contraction, Chromebooks remain a source of optimism as the category gains momentum in sectors outside education, especially in retail and financial services."</p>

<a href="">Gartner says the decline was worse</a> - it puts the decline at 3.6% - but has almost exactly the same shipment figure for the quarter, at 67.0m. Gartner doesn't include Chromebooks in its figures, so it's a little hard to see the source of IDC's enthusiasm; IDC doesn't show Acer (which ships a lot of Chromebooks) as outselling Apple.

Also of note: Gartner says Lenovo's PC shipments have declined year-on-year in eight of the past 10 quarters. IDDC puts HP ahead of Lenovo all of this year.

Even so, this looks like the market bottoming out. Though it always then finds a new bottom.
idc  gartner  pc  lenovo 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
More Windows 10 S PCs, starting at $275, are on the way • ZDNet
Mary Jo Foley:
<p>Microsoft's PC maker partners are readying some new low-end devices running Windows 10 S, which they may be marketing as suited for "frontline" service workers.

New Windows 10 S devices are coming from Acer, HP, Lenovo and Fujitsu, starting at $275, and will be available later this year, Microsoft execs said today at the company's Ignite IT Pro conference in Orlando.

Microsoft and partners will be hawking these devices as "Microsoft 365-powered." Microsoft 365 is a bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Microsoft's enterprise mobility and security services.</p>

The plan is that these will be deployed in enterprises. Essentially, taking on Chromebooks.
pc  windows10s 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Uk PC prices have risen 30% in a year since the EC referendum • The Register
Paul Kunert:
<p>The average trade price of computers in Britain shot up by almost a third in the past year since the EU referendum, though a weakened pound might not tell the whole story.

According to distributor data collated by channel analyst CONTEXT, average sales prices (ASPs) for desktops, notebooks and workstations reached £480 in July and August, up 30% on the same months in the prior year.

Component shortages in areas including memory, a shift to higher-spec machines and fewer sales to lower-margin retailers were also behind the hike, Marie-Christine Pygott, CONTEXT senior analyst, told The Reg.

"But it looks like currency issues had the biggest impact," she said. The average price of PCs sold by distributors in the Eurozone went up 12% year-on-year during the period in question.</p>

Note that this is trade price. But PCs are now getting squeezed by the demands of smartphones for memory and components.
Pc  price  trade 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Worldwide brand motherboard shipments continue to fall • Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
<p>Worldwide brand motherboard shipments are expected to reach only 45m units in 2017 and may drop further in 2018 as related demand continues shrinking, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Worldwide brand motherboard shipments were 75m units in 2013, but slipped below 50m units in 2016. Since motherboard demand from China, which had been the main growth driver in the past few years, is dropping significantly, shipments are expected to remain in decline in 2017.

Gigabyte Technology is also expected to see its motherboard shipments drop below 13m units in 2017. In addition to China's weakening demand, competition from Asustek has also grown fiercer, the sources noted.</p>

These figures roughly track the decline in the overall PC market (2013: 315m; 2016: 261m), and are also a declining ratio of that number. Building your own PC was always a minority sport; now it looks endangered.
motherboard  pc 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Traditional PC market fares slightly better than expectations as component shortage pressures ease • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 60.5 million units in the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17), posting a year-on-year decline of 3.3%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The results tilted just above the previous forecast that called for a decline of 3.9%, and hewed to the expectation that unlike past seasonal patterns of significant positive sequential growth, second quarter volume showed only a modest uptick from the first quarter.

Whereas one factor affecting shipments during the past several quarters was an inventory buildup caused by shortages of key components such as SSD (Solid State Drive), the second quarter operated under less harsh constraints, though in some instances component shortages still played a role in driving shipment dynamics. Moreover, as expected, the increased bill of materials (BOM) cost due to the shortage also began to impact the final price of systems, which was also factored into IDC's original assumption of inhibiting shipments.

From a geographic perspective, mature markets generally outperformed emerging markets, with Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America in particular showing weakness, though Latin America did outperform IDC's original forecast. The U.S. posted just a slight decline but otherwise also pulled ahead of forecast in part due to Chromebook activity. Japan again posted positive growth, in part against the backdrop of tough market conditions in 2015 through the first half of 2016.

"Amid some unevenness in market trends across the regions, the global PC market has continued to trend toward stabilization," said Jay Chou, research manager, IDC Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker.</p>

I love how it's "trending toward stabilisation" as the sales keep dropping year-on-year. Apple is now 4th biggest vendor worldwide (though less than half as large as Dell). Acer has dropped out of the top five.

<a href="">Gartner's view</a> is even gloomier, with a 4.3% fall, though its total is slightly higher - 61.1m. But it says Chromebook sales grew 38% in 2016 - miles ahead of the PC market. But "not a PC replacement yet", according to Gartner's analysts.
idc  pc 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Worldwide device shipments will decline 0.3% in 2017 • Gartner
<p><strong>PC market decline is slowing</strong><br />
PC shipments are on pace to drop 3% in 2017, but the rate of decline is slower than in recent years, alleviated by Windows 10 replacement purchasing. Prices for components such as DRAM memory and SSD hard drives continue to rise, creating headwinds for the global PC market and — to a lesser extent — the smartphone market. The impact of component pricing on PCs is being reduced for buyers as producers absorb some of the cost into their margins — fearing the alternative of a reduction of their share of a competitive market.

"PC buyers continue to put quality and functionality ahead of price," said Mr. Atwal. "Many organizations are coming to the end of their evaluation periods for Windows 10, and are now increasing the speed at which they adopt new PCs as they see the clear benefits of better security and newer hardware."

<strong>Smartphone shipments set up for strong growth in 2017</strong><br />
Overall smartphone shipments will grow 5% in 2017, reaching nearly 1.6 billion units. End-user spending continues to shift from low-cost "utility" phones toward higher priced "basic" and "premium" smartphones. The smartphone market is now more dependent on new devices that offer something different, as users are extending their purchasing cycles and need to be enticed to make a replacement.</p>

I like how a (forecast) 3% decline in the PC market is presented as eh, nothing special, when it would have been huge drama a few years ago; while 5% growth in smartphones is "strong", after years when it has been way over 20%. I guess it helps everyone feel things are OK-ish.
device  smartphone  pc  growth  gartner 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
It took Toshiba 70 years to reach its peak—and just a decade to fall into an abyss • Quartz
Josh Horwitz:
<p>Starting in the early 2000s, thanks to the internet’s growing popularity, more ordinary consumers wanted a computer than ever before. This created an opportunity for lower-end contract manufacturers from Taiwan, like Acer and Asus, to begin selling house-branded laptops and other electric components. Later, Lenovo and a bevvy of no-name brands from China offered rival products at even lower prices.

Toshiba, Sony, and other Japanese companies were once synonymous with sought-after consumer electronics. But nowadays, consumer electronics—even laptops—aren’t any more exciting than a microwave or washing machine. That means consumers usually want the cheapest brand, not the most prestigious one.

The competitive squeeze, coupled with the 2008 recession, caused the company to take a hit on its bottom line. According to its revised financials, revenues from its PC division shrank over 80% between its 2007 and 2015 fiscal years, while losses for the division deepened.

In 2010 Toshiba began outsourcing manufacturing of its TVs, and by 2015 it had withdrawn from the non-Japanese market. Last year the company announced it would exit the consumer PC market outside of Japan altogether, instead selling only to businesses. Toshiba’s share of the global PC market dropped from nearly 20% in 1996 to about 5% in 2016, according to research firm IDC.</p>

It's not just Toshiba, but all the Japanese PC manufacturers which fell. I've been digging in to the numbers: I'll post something about them on The Overspill presently. Toshiba is the poster child for the failure.
toshiba  pc  japan 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Traditional PC market was up slightly, recording its first growth in five years as HP recovered the top position • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17), posting year-over-year growth of 0.6%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The previous forecast had expected shipments to decline 1.8% in the quarter. And, while the 0.6% growth was arguably flat, the result nonetheless represented the first foray back into positive territory since Q1 2012, when many users still considered PCs their first computing device.

Like the second half of 2016, some of the same forces continue to shape the market. Tight supplies of key components such as NAND and DRAM are affecting inventory dynamics and led a number of vendors to boost shipments to lock in supply ahead of further cost increases. In addition, the market continued along a path of stabilization that began in the latter half of last year, especially as more commercial projects moved out of pilot mode and began shipments in earnest…

…"The traditional PC market has been through a tough phase, with competition from tablets and smartphones as well as lengthening lifecycles pushing PC shipments down roughly 30% from a peak in 2011," said Jay Chou, research manager, IDC PCD Tracker. "Nevertheless, users have generally delayed PC replacements rather than giving up PCs for other devices. The commercial market is beginning a replacement cycle that should drive growth throughout the forecast. Consumer demand will remain under pressure, although growth in segments like PC Gaming as well as rising saturation of tablets and smartphones will move the consumer market toward stabilization as well."</p>

Let's be clear: it's 0.6% growth officially, but it would have been down 1.1% using last year's numbers - which IDC quietly revised down. (Neither IDC or Gartner ever reveals in these press releases when they tweak their year-ago numbers.) Arguably, that means this year's 0.6% growth could be next year's 1% fall.

Whatever; the PC market isn't in freefall any more, though <a href="">Gartner's numbers suggest a 2.4% fall</a> (it revised 1Q 16 down by 1m, so that fall is ever bigger than reported). It is however settling into one where the business market has taken over again.
pc  idc  gartner 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Versatile mobile devices are expected to grow in a declining personal computing devices market • IDC
<p>Western European personal computing devices (PCDs), including traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), will total 76.4 million shipments in 2017, a 6.1% YoY decline, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). However, some product categories, such as convertibles, ultraslims, and detachables, will continue to expand and will undergo 19.1% growth in 2017, with convertibles being the smallest in volumes but catching up the fastest (31.3% YoY growth). This outlines a stark shift in consumer and enterprise preferences from traditional solutions to thinner, lighter, and more versatile mobile solutions. In 2017, the traditional PC market will contract by 9.0%, while tablets will experience a 2.2% decline. Traditional solutions will continue to retain the majority of share thanks to their affordability and ability to address price-sensitive customers. More evolved and flexible solutions are gaining traction, representing an opportunity to reach market stabilization.</p>

A 9% decline in the traditional PC market? That's going to hurt the small companies which can't compete in the detachable market. It has taken a long time for the lightweight laptop market to take off - it was all the talk back in 2011 or so (remember Intel's Ultrabook campaign? They used to push it, bless them.)
ultrabook  convertible  pc  market 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
PC industry expected to stabilize and see less than 5% shipment drop in 2017 • Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
<p>With AMD ready to release Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs, sources from the upstream supply chain expect the PC industry to stabilize and see a less than 5% on-year shipment drop in 2017, while PC and related component sales in the first quarter are also expected to perform better than the same period a year ago, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

Worldwide PC shipments reached around 260m units in 2016, down 6% from 2015 and the volume has been dropping for five consecutive years. Among PC vendors, Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) were able to maintain their shipment performances thanks to strong orders from the enterprise sector and their leaderships in Europe and the US.</p>

Only a 5% fall! Break out the champagne!
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Desktop dies on weekends • Axios
Sara Fischer:
<p>Web traffic from desktop computers plummets on weekends as people spend most of their time on mobile once they leave the office on Fridays, according to a study.

The ratio of mobile to desktop traffic stays somewhere near 1:1 throughout the week, but on weekends, the ratio changes dramatically -- nearing closer to 2:1. Check out the grey dips in the chart below.

<img src="" width="100%" />
<em>Data:; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios</em> estimates that this change accelerated most from 2015-2016. Their findings also show that the mobile ratio tends to increase late at night, even supporting an 11:00 p.m. EST "reading activity peak" for mobile visitors.</p>

Speaks to the importance of office PCs for use of sites like Facebook and online shopping.
desktop  pc 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
2016 marked fifth consecutive year of worldwide PC shipment decline • Gartner
<p>For the year 2016, PC shipments totaled 269.7m units, a 6.2% decline from 2015. PC shipments have declined annually since 2012.

"Stagnation in the PC market continued into the fourth quarter of 2016 as holiday sales were generally weak due to the fundamental change in PC buying behavior," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The broad PC market has been static as technology improvements have not been sufficient to drive real market growth. There have been innovative form factors like 2-in-1s and thin and light notebooks, as well as technology improvements, such as longer battery life. This end of the market has grown fast, led by engaged PC users who put high priority on PCs. However, the market driven by PC enthusiasts is not big enough to drive overall market growth."

"There is the other side of the PC market, where PCs are infrequently used. Consumers in this segment have high dependency on smartphones, so they stretch PC life cycles longer. This side of the market is much bigger than the PC enthusiast segment; thus, steep declines in the infrequent PC user market offset the fast growth of the PC enthusiast market."</p>

Hasn't found the bottom yet, then. The other notable point is that the "Others" category (all those who aren't Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, Apple or Acer) shrank by 19% in the fourth quarter, against 17% for the year - suggesting that the squeeze on the smaller players is getting worse. In total, "Others" went from 77.6m in 2015 to 64.5m. Those lost 13m sales are going to hurt balance sheets.
pc  gartner  2016 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Don't write off the PC just yet • Bloomberg Gadfly
Shira Ovide:
<p>Above all, the PC industry has become a barbell. There's promise in selling high-end and low-priced models, with a vast swath of declining demand in the middle…

…Catering to the high end has been a windfall to both Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft generated more than $4.1bn in revenue in its last fiscal year from its Surface lineup. That is new revenue for the software giant, which started its own line of PCs in 2012.

Microsoft also recently introduced the Surface Studio, an innovative $3,000-and-up desktop computer aimed at the creative types that have long been Apple's customer base.

And although Mac sales have declined in the last year as Apple's computer models grew long in the tooth, Macs still generated $22.8bn in revenue in the last 12 months. That is more than the annual revenue of all but 117 public companies in the U.S. The company also recently rolled out a new line of the high-end Macbook Pro computers at higher prices. As Apple has done with its iPhone business, if the company has trouble increasing Mac sales, at least it can wring more money from each one. The even bigger PC success story can be found at the low end of the market. IDC estimates unit sales of PCs priced below $300 - including Alphabet Inc.'s stripped down Chromebook laptops - will increase 7% this year.</p>

Though as Ovide points out, Microsoft's Surface revenue has probably come largely from HP rather than Apple. The PC business is barely even zero-sum competition now, given the way it's shrinking.
Microsoft  apple  pc 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Is that a PC on your desk? Windows hybrids, Macs and iPads struggle for share • ZDNet
Ed Bott:
<p>Does anyone even know what a PC is anymore?

That's not an idle question. Unfortunately, it's a reflection of the confusion among analysts covering this space today.

I've just reviewed four years' worth of data from IDC and Gartner, the two big research companies that release regular reports tracking the state of the PC market. IDC publishes its results in its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, while Gartner's data is part of its PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide report. Full reports are a subscribers-only product, but both firms publish detailed press releases with each new publication.

So, if you study both sets of data you'll get a good handle on the PC market, right?

Spoiler: They can't even agree on the definition of a PC.

…IDC says a Chromebook is a PC but a Surface Book running Windows 10 isn't. Gartner counts the entire Surface line but leaves Chromebooks off the list.

To make things even more confusing, Apple (alone among device makers) publishes detailed sales figures for both its iPad and Mac lines. And Tim Cook insists that "the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people."</p>

Yup, it's a problem all right; made worse by the purposeful obfuscation by those research companies in their public releases. The companies of course want people to pay for the full data, but there's plenty of confusion sown because writers get hold of half the story and can't figure out the other half.
pc  tablet 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Worldwide PC shipments declined 5.7% in third quarter of 2016 • Gartner
<p>"There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.

"In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don't find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets."</p>

<a href="">IDC's results say much the same</a> (with not quite such a big decline). That point about "consumers not being keen to own PCs" is pretty telling. PC sales for the third quarter were the lowest they've been since 2006; concentration of production (80% by the top six) was at its greatest ever, and is going to increase once Lenovo takes over Fujitsu. I do wonder how long Samsung will persist.

Neither set of numbers, however, includes Chromebooks or 2-in-1s. Chromebooks in particular are zooming ahead. It's about time that one of these groups included them: they're becoming important in education, from where they could break out. They're a slow low-end disruption playing out over a decade, as children graduate from school.
pc  decline  windows 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Lenovo tipped to take over Fujitsu's PC business • South China Morning Post
Bien Perez:
<p>Bernstein Research senior analyst Alberto Moel said a deal with Fujitsu would enable Lenovo to “continue gaining share in the worldwide personal computer market”.

“Our view on whether this deal is positive or not will hinge on the terms,” he said. “It would not be without precedent for Fujitsu to give the business away to Lenovo, or even pay Lenovo to take it.”
He estimated that Fujitsu sold 1.7m personal computers in the first half of this year, mostly in Japan, which yielded US$1.9bn in revenue.

“That represents about 15 per cent of Lenovo’s nearly US$14bn PC sales globally in the same period,” he added.

Lenovo recently expanded its operations in Japan when it paid US$195m in July to acquire a further 44% interest in Lenovo NEC Holdings, a joint venture with NEC Corp that has been the country’s biggest personal computer supplier.</p>

PC consolidation continues, with the little fish being swept up. Fujitsu really is tiny, but its PCs command a premium price: Lenovo shipped 25.3m PCs in the first half of the year for $13.3bn.
fujitsu  lenovo  pc 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
PC leaders must overhaul their businesses or leave the market by 2020 • Gartner
<p>Business leaders of PC vendors face a stark choice and must decide between overhauling their businesses or leaving the PC market by 2020, according to [research company] Gartner. If they decide to stay, they need to rapidly determine what changes to make or what alternatives to adapt in today's over-penetrated PC market.

"The PC business model as we have traditionally known it is broken. The top five mobile PC vendors have gained 11% market share over the past five years — from 65% in 2011 to 76% in the first half of 2016; but this has come at the expense of profitable revenue," said Tracy Tsai, research vice president at Gartner. "While this does not mean that the PC market is finished, the installed base of PCs will continue to decline over the next five years, with a continuing erosion of PC vendors' revenue and profit.

"The traditional way of gaining shipment market share by competing on price to stimulate demand simply won't work for the PC market over the next five years," said Ms. Tsai. "Today's PC vendors need to adjust to the new realities that are shaping consumption, including the fact that PC users are extending PC lifetimes until end of life, business PC applications and storage are moving into the cloud, and are less reliant on PC performance and, crucially, that price and specification are not enough for a user to upgrade a PC — a new and better customer experience is the only true differentiation."</p>

Intel and Microsoft are looking elsewhere, Gartner says, but the PC companies don't seem to have caught the hint. Moreover, it says the installed base of PCs is shrinking: from 1.48bn in 2015 to 1.44 this year, and 1.33bn in 2019. Fewer PCs means fewer replacements means fewer sales means less profit.

That 2020 timescale is pretty short.
pc  revenue  gartner 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Consumer ultraslim and detachable uptake revitalizes PC and tablet market in western Europe • IDC
<p>Chromebooks are gaining momentum and experiencing high growth, especially in the Nordics. As we are in the Nordics' back-to-school season, many vendors pushed shipments in 2016Q2, in particular targeting the education sector in the region, where the adoption of this form factor is taking off. Volumes are still low, as Chromebook are in early adoption stage among schools, but the growth potential is promising, especially in Sweden (59.7% YoY increase in 2016Q2).

Similarly to ultraslims, detachables are experiencing interesting growth in Western Europe, as shipments rose from 0.5m in 2015Q2 to 1.6m units in 2016Q2, in contrast with the 6.0% decline of the tablet market. Detachables performed strongly across all Western Europe, posting triple-digit growth in all countries. Surface continued to be the most widely adopted detachable in the commercial segment, while iPad Pro reached first position in the consumer segment. Detachables posted strong growth in both consumer and commercial, showing that interest in this form factor continues to be on the rise in both segments. Despite the rapid growth in both segments, the drivers behind their performance differ between them.

"The interest in detachables in the commercial segment is generated by the number of premium devices available in the market and the increasing number of use cases in which detachables emerge as the optimal solution. While deployments are not massive, since detachables are mainly adopted either to address specific vertical needs or by top executive ranks, the number of companies adopting them is clearly picking up as some of the classic concerns such as device performance are being tackled by this wave of new releases" said Daniel Gonçalves, research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. "On the other hand the penetration of detachables in the consumer segment is driven by many local vendors and white brands moving away from the already saturated slate space dominated by Android. These players keep targeting market share in the entry-level space, and now they also supply 9- or 10-inch screen size, Windows-based devices with basic features and keyboard capabilities."</p>

IDC is taking the "PC plus tablet" market as the proxy for everything that's going on - though at 17.2m (in western Europe) that still saw a 3.4% year-on-year fall, with tablets down by 6% while PCs fell by 1.6%.
idc  pc  tablet 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Acer, Asustek consider raising PC prices in the UK, says report • Digitimes
Joseph Tsai:
<p>With Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) both having decided to raise their PC prices in the UK by 10% beginning August, Acer and Asustek Computer are also considering following suit and will make decisions within two weeks, according to a Chinese-language Apple Daily report.

With the pound depreciating nearly 15% in the past few weeks, PC vendors have started raising their prices to avoid losses. Lenovo reportedly is also evaluating whether to raise prices, the paper added.</p>

Expect everyone to follow suit. None of the PC makers can afford to eat a 15% change in price.
pc  brexit  pricing 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
PC shipments beat expectations in Q2 2016 as US market returned to growth while other regions continued to decline • IDC
<p>"The PC market continues to struggle as we wait for replacements to accelerate, along with some return of spending from phones, tablets, and other IT," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. "Our long-term outlook remains cautions. However, the strong results in the U.S. offer a glimpse of what the market could look like with pockets of growth and a stronger overall environment. It's not dramatic growth, but it could push the market into positive territory slightly ahead of our forecast for 2018."

"As expected, the start of the peak education buying season helped generate large Chromebook shipment volumes in the U.S.," stated Linn Huang, research director, Devices & Displays. "A somewhat unexpected boost came from intensified inventory pull-in as cautious channel players, who had been working to pare down inventory over the last several quarters, opened up inventory constraints a bit. This was likely a one-time shipment boost to bring aggregate inventory levels back to market equilibrium. The larger story remains whether an early wave of enterprise transition to Windows 10 could help close out a 2016 that is increasingly looking stronger in the U.S."</p>

The US market was 17.03m units including those Chromebooks, according to IDC, while Gartner - which doesn't count Chromebooks (don't ask me why), <a href="">puts the US market</a> at 15.22m. Suggests that Chromebooks were 1.81m - just behind Apple's figure of 1.87m (Gartner) or 1.91m (IDC).

If Chromebooks are over 10% of the US market, that's beginning to be important. (By that calculation, Chromebook shipments in 2Q15 were 1.2m in a total market of 16.2m. Strong growth.)

The Windows PC market, meanwhile, isn't healing.
windows  pc  chromebook 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Profit opportunities exist for PC vendors • Gartner
<p>Many vendors in the mid-tier of the PC ecosystem are struggling. "They are severely reducing their regional and country-level presence, or leaving the PC market altogether," said Ms. Escherich. "Between them, Acer, Fujitsu, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have lost 10.5% market share since 2011. In the first quarter of 2016, Dell, HP Inc. and Lenovo gained market share but recorded year-over-year declines."

Regional markets are also changing. Low oil prices and political uncertainties are driving economic tightening in Brazil and Russia, changing these countries from drivers of growth to market laggards. In terms of volume, the US, China, Germany, the U.K. and Japan remain the top five, but consumers in these markets have also been cutting their number of PCs per household…

…Despite a declining PC market, the ultramobile premium segment is on pace to achieve revenue growth this year — the only segment set to do so. It is estimated to reach $34.6bn, an increase of 16% from 2015. In 2019, Gartner forecasts that the ultramobile premium segment will become the largest segment of the PC market in revenue terms, at $57.6bn.

"The ultramobile premium market is also more profitable in comparison with the low-end segment, where PCs priced at $500 or less have 5% gross margins," said Ms. Tsai. "The gross margin can reach up to 25% for high-end ultramobile premium PCs priced at $1,000 or more."</p>

5% gross margin - $25 per machine? And that's before operating costs.
pc  vendors 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Can Google and Apple pull the plug on the PC market? •
Paul Thurrott:
<p>where Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Windows phone are still precarious from a mobile app perspective, Apple iOS and Google Android have steadily improved on the productivity app side. Ironically, they’ve done so with Microsoft’s help: The Microsoft Office apps, in particular, not to mention its ever-growing collection of other apps for Android and iOS, are both excellent and full-featured. What Android and iOS are missing, however, are platform features that make those systems more suitable for the traditional productivity tasks that we now perform on PCs.

Surely – <em>surely</em> – those shortcomings will soon be addressed. And it’s not coincidental, I think, that both Google and Apple have shipped in the past six months devices —the Pixel C and the iPad Pro, respectively — that can replace traditional Windows laptops. All that’s missing, of course, is a bit of sophistication in the underlying software.

And sitting here on the cusp of that revolution, we can finally see how Microsoft’s Windows phone and Windows RT failures have deeper ramifications than just the smart phone and tablet markets: It is much easier to improve mobile platforms enough to replace PCs than it is to try and simplify PCs and make them more suitable for mobile usage scenarios. Especially when you have Microsoft helping you on the app side of the equation. Imagine how much of a blocker it would be for enterprises if Microsoft Office wasn’t already available on Android and iOS.</p>

There's a hell of a lot of inertia behind the PC market, with big OEMs with big investments in the PC market continuing; the Pixel C and iPad Pro are both pricier than pretty much all the PCs sold at any time. But there's something in this: as today's teenagers grow up, they'll not want to have to learn Windows.
google  apple  pc 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Four fresh presentations, four key charts » Creative Strategies, Inc
Ben Bajarin looks at why people who have a PC aren't upgrading, what people like about wearables, who wants virtual reality, and also whether people in India are interested in PCs:
<p>My gut told me there was an interesting opportunity brewing in India. I decided to commission a study, in collaboration with local researchers, to see if India was ready to move beyond the smartphone. We focused on the regions in India where PCs, smartphones, and tablets have the highest penetration — Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai. We did a mix of online studies, focus groups, and 1:1 interviews of 525 Indian consumers in this market.

The theory was simple. As consumers in India mature and have owned more than a few smartphones, they will look to more traditional PC form factors to use for work, school, and more. But with Windows PC penetration in India at less than 10% of the total population and Windows largely being an enterprise/workplace requirement in India, our theory was Android would be more popular as an operating system. As it turns out, it was for the overwhelming majority of consumers looking to buy their first PC in India. Which is encouragingly high for a market that began their journey on the internet on a smartphone.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>
pc  india 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
PC sales: the five stages of grief and the comeback that never comes » Forbes
Mark Rogowsky does a smart take on IDC's repeated insistence that yeah, the PC business is just about to come back, real soon now:
the PC has hit hard times in the era of both the iPad and the smartphone. While the former has itself seen sales falling, its impact on the PC is still real. Apple sold 48m last year and if you believe even 10-20% of them were purchased by someone who might have bought a PC instead, that’s potentially 3% of the decline in the PC market right there. (Chromebooks, based on Google’s ChromeOS, now account for nearly 3% of PCs as well, but IDC actually counts those as laptops so they are masking the decline in Windows.)

But a much more important factor has been the rise of smartphones, which are now used by more than 1 in 3 people on earth. While Americans who grew up on PCs have a tough time imagining computing as something other than a traditional laptop or (gasp!) desktop, many in emerging markets don’t know it as anything but what one does on the device they carry with them all the time. This will continue to confound the same kind of people who believe “real work” can’t be done on an iPad until the generation raised on tablets starts running the world without any real comprehension of what it means to use a PC.
pc  apple 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Worldwide PC shipments declined 9.6% in 1Q 2016 » Gartner
<p>Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8m units in the first quarter of 2016, a 9.6% decline from the first quarter of 2015, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, and the first time since 2007 that shipment volume fell below 65m units.

"The deterioration of local currencies against the U.S. dollar continued to play a major role in PC shipment declines. Our early results also show there was an inventory buildup from holiday sales in the fourth quarter of 2015," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

"All major regions showed year-over-year shipment declines, with Latin America showing the steepest drop, where PC shipments declined 32.4%. The Latin American PC market was intensely impacted by Brazil, where the problematic economy and political instability adversely affected the market, Ms. Kitagawa said. "The ongoing decline in U.S. PC shipments showed that the installed base is still shrinking, a factor that played across developed economies. Low oil prices drove economic contraction in Latin America and Russia, changing them from drivers of growth to market laggards."

PCs are not being adopted in new households as they were in the past, especially in emerging markets. In these markets, smartphones are the priority. In the business segment, Gartner analysts said the Windows 10 refresh is expected to start toward the end of 2016.</p>

IDC <a href="">puts the figure even lower</a>, at 60.6m units. Basically, it's the lowest figure since 2006. Never heard oil prices blamed for PC sales before.
pc  idc  gartner 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Vaio near deal with Toshiba, Fujitsu to form Japan PC giant » Bloomberg Business
Pavel Alpeyev and Takashi Amano:
<p>Vaio Corp., the personal computer maker spun off from Sony Corp. in 2014, is closing in on a three-way merger with rivals to create a producer that can dominate Japan and weather a shrinking global PC market.

Vaio expects to strike an agreement to combine with Toshiba Corp.’s and Fujitsu Ltd.’s PC divisions by the end of March, said Hidemi Moue, chief executive officer of Japan Industrial Partners Inc., the buyout fund that now controls the former arm of Sony. Vaio expects to own the biggest stake in the merged company, which can help the trio save on research and development and scale production, he said…

…The tie-up “makes sense if you want to build a niche consumer base in Japan,” said Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Tokyo. “This approach of merging three Japanese PC makers will probably have little chance of success outside of the country”…

…“In the PC business, all options are on the table for restructuring and partnerships, but nothing has been decided at this moment,” Toshiba’s spokesman Hirokazu Tsukimoto said. A spokeswoman at Fujitsu declined to comment.

In contrast to the gloom, Vaio is set to report its first monthly profit in March and Moue expects the company to be profitable in the year ending May 2017. Japan Industrial Partners has slashed the workforce to 240 from about 1,000, slimmed its product line-up and focused on premium business users, he said.</p>

Consolidation was inevitable.
pc  toshiba  vaio  fujitsu 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Supply chain braces for possible merger of Vaio, Toshiba, Fujitsu PC units » Digitimes
Aaron Lee and Steve Shen:
<p>Japan-based PC brand vendors Vaio (sold from Sony), Toshiba and Fujitsu reportedly are ready to merge their notebook businesses into a company, a move which will affect Taiwan-based notebook ODMs, particularly Pegatron Technology, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Pegatron received over 50% of Toshiba's notebook orders in 2015 and has also led other rivals to win over 50% of the vendor's request for the quotation (RFQ) for notebook orders for 2016, the source indicated.

However, Pegatron has recently been notified by Toshiba to halt production of 300,000 units of mainstream models which are scheduled to be shipped soon, indicating that the merger talks between the three Japan-based companies are likely to be finalized shortly, said the sources. Pegatron declined to comment on its orders.</p>

Consolidation among smaller players. Inevitable, given the market. But which brand will they merge under?
pc  merger  consolidation 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
PC market finishes 2015 as expected, hopefully setting the stage for a more stable future » IDC
Gloom and doom - the figures for "traditional" PCs are back down to 2007 levels, with only Apple growing year-on-year, while the big players grab more of the market.

Note this though, because IDC doesn't count these:
<p>Detachable tablets, which are counted separately from PCs, are growing quickly but from a small base. Adding those units to PC shipments would boost growth by roughly 6 percentage points in the fourth quarter and 3 percentage points for all of 2015, bringing year-on-year growth for 4Q15 to a decline of about -5% and -7.5% for all of 2015. The impact for 2016 will be larger as detachable tablet volume grows, boosting earlier forecasts of PC growth in 2016 from -3.1% to growth of 1 to 2%.</p>

That translates to about 4m "detachables" (ie they come with a keyboard, rather than offering the keyboard as an extra - so the iPad Pro is a tablet, not a detachable) shipped in Q4, and 8m in the whole year.

I think the Surface Pro also counts as a "tablet" under IDC's definition. Nobody's happy with this, of course.

So the numbers are pretty small, but they're principally where the profit is - if you're not Apple.
pc  apple  detachable  tablet 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Toshiba Revitalization Action Plan and FY2015 forecast (PDF) » Toshiba
Following its accounting scandal, the company is cutting thousands of jobs and selling off its TV business, and reorganising its PC business:
<p>The Personal & Client Solutions Company will be split off from Toshiba Corporation and merged with a BtoB PC sales company in Japan.

• Headcount reduction of 1,300, about 30% of its global total, within FY2015.<br />• Close and sell Ome Complex, the Japanese development base of PC and visual products.<br />• A 60.0bn yen [US$490m] cost for structural reform is forecast for FY2015.<br />• Reduce total fixed costs by more than 30.0bn yen [US$245m] in FY2016 against FY2015.<br />• Downsize global sales scale to 3 million units a year, and make the business profitable.</p>

The split will happen in January, and be effective from April. A <a href="">separate PDF of the reorganisation for the PC business</a> alone suggests that it had sales in the year to March 2015 of 97.3bn yen (US$800m) and operating profit of 209m yen (US$1.7m) - which, on 3m PCs sold, would be an average price per PC of $266 and operating profit of $0.56 each.

Toshiba was the first company to produce a mass-market laptop, in 1985. Lots can happen in 30 years.
toshiba  pc 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Samsung restores its PC business by establishing independent business team » ETNews
Han Juyeop:
<p>[The] New PC Business Team will hire additional employees by end of this year and will reorganize product lines with the aim of releasing products in the second half of 2016. It will also newly develop premium PCs that will become the sign of all products and will lay out its strategy for expanding shipment in thre years from now after organization product lines. However modification on whom will be in charge of tablet business is not decided yet. There is a high chance that PC Business Team will be in charge of products based on Windows OS.

Samsung Electronics’ PC business that was almost going to bankrupt rapidly grew between 2009 and 2012. After it went over a hump by shipping 10 million PCs for the first time in 2010, its brand was in the top 10 in industries for the first time. In 2011, it shipped out 14.3 million PCs. While traditionally strong PC businesses such as HP and Dell were growing at an one-digit rate or going through de-growth, Samsung Electronics along with Apple and Lenovo increased their shipments by 20 to 30% every year. Samsung Electronics once presented a blueprint that it would become a top 3 global PC business in 2015.

However its PC business went downhill after IT Solution Business Department disappeared and as PC business was absorbed and combined to Wireless Business Department within IM Sector due to reorganization of group at the end of 2012.</p>

The estimate is its PC shipments for 2015 will total about 3.5m, almost halved from 6m in 2014, and down from a peak of 15m in 2012. Finding its way back will be challenging.
samsung  pc 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
2013: Back to where they came from » number23
Nigel McDermott, writing in December 2013:
<p>The iPhone spawned the iPad which spawned numerous other tablets, and we now live in a world where an iPad will do 90% of the tasks 90% of home PC users. This is not to say that the PC is dead. Far from it. The PC is the best tool for many, many tasks, but the majority of those tasks are associated with work, not leisure. The PC is the ideal tool to be used in many workplaces for years to come. And yes, I'm talking about Windows PCs with mouse and keyboard input: this paradigm is actually fantastic for many productivity tasks, that are just horrendous when carried out on touch screens or machines held in one hand. Even the ecosystem that has grown up with them, the enterprise market, is in many ways a mature and solid setup, that like the sub-optimal "design" of the mammalian eyeball, is actually quite fit-for-purpose.

The thing is about the PC: we just don't need one at home anymore. Consoles and set top boxes provide us with amazing gaming and entertainment. Tablets and smartphones provide us with much better ways to consume news, knowledge and information, and to communicate and remotely socialise. These devices all do what they were designed to do where for years the poor PC had to limp along, doing it's best. It's time to give it a break.

I’m not calling time on the PC: I’m just saying it’s time for the PC to go back to the office.</p>

Now read on...
pc  ipad 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Worldwide PC shipments will continue to decline into 2016 as the short-term outlook softens » IDC
<p>"Despite the substantial shift in spending and usage models from PCs toward tablets and phones in recent years, very few people are giving up on their PC – they are just making it last longer," said Loren Loverde , Vice President, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research. "The free upgrade to Windows 10 enables some users to postpone an upgrade a little, but not indefinitely. Some consumers will use a free OS upgrade to delay a new PC purchase and test the transition to Windows 10. However, the experience of those customers may serve to highlight what they are missing by stretching the life of an older PC, and we expect they will ultimately purchase a new device. As detachable systems become more compelling (including attractive new Wintel designs), some volume will go to detachable tablets rather than traditional PC form factors, which will cut into the PC growth rate, but still supports the PC vendors and ecosystem."

While detachable tablets are expected to grow quickly, they are still a relatively small part of the market. As a reference, combining detachable tablets with PCs would boost growth by roughly 3 percentage points – this would result in a trend of declining volume from 2012 to 2015, followed by about 1% growth in 2016 and slightly higher gains in subsequent years.</p>

The balance is shifting toward commercial buyers again. But the forecast is for a 10% drop compared to 2014, to about 277m shipped (excluding Surface Pro and similar).
pc  idc  forecast 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Six Features That Allow Your PC To Do More Than Your Phone »
Hilarious advertorial from Intel. See what you make of the six things, which are
<p>• it offers a much larger screen<br />• It has uncompromised performance<br />• You don't have to worry about paying for data<br />• It doesn't skimp on software<br />• It's upgradable and expandable<br />• There's no middleman</p>

Any of these alone could raise a laugh, but my favourite may be "you don't have to worry about paying for data". Intel magically makes data appear? Love it. Now let's move on to our next entry…
intel  pc 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
We are not getting out of PCs, says Fujitsu exec » The Register
Paul Kunert:
<p>Fujitsu is the latest bit part PC player to state its commitment to the product line, as it prepares to spin off the computer and mobile businesses into two separate subsidiaries.

The units were part of the Ubiquitous Solutions division but at some point in the next 12 months will be distinct entities sitting under the Product division, the company told us.

“We are super committed to the PC business,” said head of product EMEA, India and Africa, Michael Keegan.

“It’s a very big part of the overall P&L [account] but we recognise that it is a massively changing business and needs more focus.”</p>

I think you'll find Fujitsu's PCs are probably part of the "loss" in P&L, which swung to a loss for the <a href="">half-year</a>. But as it's splitting the mobile phone and PC businesses, we'll be able to see more clearly in future.
fujitsu  pc 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Two top PC vendors predicted to exit the market soon »
Patrick Seitz:
<p>As PC sales have shrunk in recent years, the top four vendors have consolidated market share. They are Lenovo, HP Inc, Dell and Apple, [IDC PC analyst Tom] Mainelli said. So the two companies likely to bow out of the PC market probably will be in the lower half of the top 10, he said.

The bottom six are Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Samsung, Tongfang and Fujitsu, Mainelli said.

"The most likely scenario is that two will simply leave the market," Mainelli said. "I don't expect there to be many acquisitions as the (top four) don't gain much from buying anybody in the bottom half of the list. There will likely be much discussion about possible mergers among the rest, but I'm not sure that this course of action will play out."</p>

november 2015 by charlesarthur
Acer, Asustek will not die in global PC market, says Acer founder » Digitimes
Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai:
<p>In response to IDC forecasts that two of the top-10 international PC vendors will withdraw from the global PC market over the next two years due to unbearable operating losses and the two are possibly Acer, Asustek Computer, Toshiba, Samsung Electronics, Tsinghua Tongfang, or Fujitsu, Acer founder Stan Shih said that Acer and Asustek will not die due to lower overheads compared to other vendors.

Acer achieved net profits of NT$191m (US$5.84m) and EPS of NT$0.06 for the third quarter and the results were a lot higher than those of the previous quarter mainly due to an exchange income of NT$799m.

Shih noted that Acer's third-quarter profits were seriously impacted by competitors' buy-two-get-one-free promotions and Acer also chose to focus on digesting inventory in the quarter, knowing it would gain profits from exchange rates.</p>

I'd not be surprised if Toshiba and Fujitsu pulled out; they're losing money. Samsung is a long way from profitable scale too, but has the advantage of making key components such as the displays.

Acer's PC business isn't looking healthy, though.
pc  acer  asus 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Meg Whitman seeks reinvention for HP as it prepares for split » The New York Times
Quentin Hardy on the split, that by the time you read this will have happened:
<p>Ms. Whitman, who will run HPE, made certain throughout the transition that her company would most assuredly still be able to ship computers.

“We have to ship products, we have to send invoices, we have to collect money,” she said. “HP sells two PCs a second. A server every six seconds. We had to keep selling them.”

The change cannot come fast enough for HP, whose stock is off more than 30 percent since the start of the year. The question is whether Wall Street believes the two companies will benefit from the separation.

“Anytime you make a change, you make a claim,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “They say, ‘We’re on the front edge, everyone will have to catch up to us.’ But both new companies aren’t that wildly different. They’re both growth-challenged.”</p>

HP, the printers-and-PCs company, is very definitely "growth-challenged". Both markets it operates in are struggling.
hp  pc  printer 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Silver Lake explored sale of Dell’s PC business ahead of EMC deal » Re/code
Arik Hesseldahl:
<p>Private equity firm Silver Lake, co-owners of Dell, last week approached Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Huawei to explore the possibility of selling off Dell’s personal computing business, sources familiar with the matter told Re/code.

But by Monday, Dell proposed to pay a combined $67 billion to acquire the data storage company EMC and its subsidiary VMware in what is the largest proposed technology M&A deal in history.

It was not immediately clear if Silver Lake acted alone or if Dell was consulted. It is also unclear if Silver Lake or Dell would continue to explore a sale at this point.</p>

Lenovo didn't think it would get regulatory approval; Huawei doesn't want a PC anchor; HP has quite enough problems. Hesseldahl's estimate is that Silver Lake might have sought $8bn - a third of revenue. Compare to the $25bn LBO in 2013: that's some drop in value.
dell  pc 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Best of luck Microsoft, but the Surface Book isn't going to save the PC » Telegraph
James Titcomb:
<p>In making the Surface Book, which by all accounts is the pinnacle of laptop engineering, Microsoft is screaming: “Hey, PCs are still exciting, look at this one!” It is also sending a message to other computer manufacturers that they need to up their game if they want to keep a slice of what is left of the market.

Can it save the PC? Probably not. Consumers are unlikely to give up using their ever-more capable smartphones just because a slightly-better PC comes along. One could argue that laptop and desktop computers will always have to exist to get “real work done”, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is not really the case.

Slack, an office collaboration tool that works just as well on mobile as on computers, is replacing email in many workplaces. Last month, Apple unveiled the iPad Pro, a high-powered tablet with a laptop-sized screen and keyboard that many will see as a realistic alternative to buying a new computer. Google has a similar proposition with its new Pixel C.

But history has few instances of a declining technology being saved by a spectacular version of it – Sony’s decision to develop higher-capacity MiniDiscs in response to the iPod never really paid off, to give one example.

Microsoft is doing everything it can to keep the industry that has defined it alive. But it’s probably too late.</p>

There are huge numbers of grumpy old sysadmins in the comments, but Titcomb gets to the meat of the issue: selling a super-premium 2-in-1 isn't going to help anyone but Microsoft.
microsoft  mobile  pc 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
PC shipments remain depressed by volatile currencies, inventory, and OS transition in the third quarter, although 2016 should fare better » IDC
<p>Worldwide PC shipments totaled nearly 71.0m units in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This volume represented a year-on-year decline of -10.8% – slightly worse than projections for a decline of -9.2%.

The lackluster volume of PC shipments was consistent with expectations that the third quarter would face challenging financial conditions and be a transition period. Across many regions, the channel remained focused on clearing Windows 8 inventory before a more complete portfolio of models incorporating Windows 10 and Intel Skylake processors comes on the scene. Vendors and channels were also working to limit price swings in the face of changes in currency exchange rates. Though easing a bit, currency devaluation continued to inhibit PC shipments in the third quarter.

While Windows 10 has generally received favorable reviews and raised consumer interest in PCs, many users opted to upgrade existing PCs rather than purchase new hardware…

…the top four vendors performed much better than the rest of the market. Collectively, the top 4 vendors saw shipments fall by -4.5% from a year ago compared to a decline of almost -20% for the rest of the market.</p>

2016 could hardly do worse. PC market now down 26% from the same period in 2011, when it peaked.
idc  pc 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 does not change the PC’s fate » Gartner
John Lovelock:
<p><img src="" width="100%" /><br />The market is still rebalancing. PC sales continue to decline, and tablets are the preferred consumption device. But new lightweight PCs have emerged that can compete with tablets as an all-day carry device. Made possible by Ivy Bridge architecture in 2013, which has improved steadily since, the new ultramobile premium devices, such as Microsoft’s Surface, now compete with tablets on four fronts; mobility, light weight, all-day batteries and lower price. Windows 10 is targeted at the last of the tablet’s differentiators – ease of use and empowering users.

The global installed base for desktops and laptops will decline for at least five more years, nothing changes that. However, the PC ecosystem now has a Windows 10 device that can re-engage users in the thin, light, all-day ultramobile devices that pack the power of a PC. Ultramobile premium devices halt the decline in PC shipments in 2017 and halt the decline of the PC installed base in 2019.</p>

If you're into webinars, Gartner is <a href="">doing a free one</a> at 11am EDT today (Tues October 6) on the PC market's impact on overall IT spending. "Webinar". Hmm.
pc  spending  gartner 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Taiwan market: Toshiba no longer selling consumer notebooks » Digitimes
Aaron Lee and Adam Hwang:
<p>Toshiba has shifted its notebook marketing focus from consumer to business-use models in Asia, Latin America and Central Europe, and has stopped selling consumer notebooks in Taiwan, according to the vendor's Taiwan sales agent Grainew.

However, Toshiba will maintain marketing of consumer and business notebooks in West Europe and North America markets because consumer models are still profitable there, Grainew said.

In the Taiwan market, Grainew sells about 1,000 units of a Toshiba high-end business notebook model a month currently and expects monthly sales to increase 10-20% in 2016, the company indicated. While unit sales has decreased after giving up the consumer segment, overall gross margin has increased significantly, Grainew said.</p>

Tiny numbers; smaller companies like Toshiba will increasingly withdraw completely from the consumer PC market because the margins aren't there.
toshiba  pc 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
PCs: Citi sees deeper 10% decline; is a sustained recovery possible? » Tech Trader Daily -
Tiernan Ray:
<p>Citigroup’s Jim Suva this afternoon cut his estimates for the personal computer market to a decline of 10% in unit shipments versus his prior forecast for a 7% drop, while noting that there’s a nascent PC recovery that could help.

Suva, however, reiterates his Buy ratings on Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Lenovo Group (0992HK), endorsing the former because of its pending split, and the latter because of it’s restructuring effort. “We expect Lenovo and HP to continue to gain share from other PC companies,” writes Suva.

Suva, citing “finalized” PC data from Q2, after all vendor data has been gathered, now models the industry having sold 27.9m desktops last quarter and 37.5m notebook computers, down from his prior projections of 28.7m and 39.7m, respectively. 

He notes the 10% drop he’s looking for is worse than research firm IDC’s projected 9% decline.

For 2015, he now sees total industry volume of 277.2m units, down from a prior 287.2m forecast. His tablet computer estimate goes to 213.7m, which is up from his prior forecast of 205.1m. That’ still a 7% decline in tablet sales.</p>

Smartphone sales growth is slowing too. Is this indicative of something broader? Also: <a href="">smaller players in the PC market are going to get squeezed out</a>.
pc  lenovo  hp 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Toshiba loss on weak TV, PC sales boosts case for revamp » Reuters
Makiko Yamazaki:
<p>Toshiba Corp swung to a first-quarter loss on weak PC and TV sales, raising pressure on its new chief executive to speed up a business revamp in addition to improving governance after a $1.3bn accounting scandal.

The laptops-to-nuclear power conglomerate reported an April-June operating loss of 10.96bn yen ($91m) on Monday compared with a ¥47.7bn profit a year earlier.</p>

Specifically looking at the PC business - which is the one under stress - the Toshiba financials say "The Lifestyle Products & Services segment saw significantly lower sales, reflecting significantly lower sales in the Visual Products business, which includes LCD TVs, and the PC business, due to a shift in focus to redefined sales territories and other factors.
The segment as a whole saw deteriorated operating income (loss), reflecting deteriorated operating income in the PC and Home Appliances businesses."

Specifically, the PC business shrank from a quarterly ¥169.4bn ($1.4bn) a year ago to ¥116.8bn ($970m) in the April-June period. And to a loss. How long can Toshiba's PC business carry on?
toshiba  pc 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Notebook retailers in Europe having difficulty clearing inventory » Digitimes
Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai:
<p>As the year-end holidays approach, the [upstream supply chain] sources are concerned that the retailers may reduce their notebook prices further in order to quickly clear up their inventory, but such a move is expected to greatly impact notebook brand vendors' profitability and affect overall notebook sales in the second half.

The sources pointed out that brand vendors such as Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have been encouraging their retail partners to stock up since May by offering them high commissions. However, weak demand and Windows 10's failure to kickstart a PC replacement trend have caused the retailers to suffer from high inventory pileup despite their aggressive promotions.

Acer and Asustek Computer, neither of whom has used the high-commission strategy, are still expected to be affected as the retailers are selling competitors' notebooks at a much lower price range, forcing the two firms to follow suit or risk losing market shares. Currently, Acer and Asustek take up about 30-40% of Europe's notebook sales.

Asia Pacific is also seeing weakening notebook demand amid a slowing China economy. The PC market in the US is the only one seeing meaningful growth, but only US-based vendors HP, Dell and Apple will benefit.</p>

I'd guess the "sources" in this story aren't too far from Asus and Acer.
pc  acer  asus 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
The PC industry is betting big on gamers » The Verge
Vlad Savov:
The PC gaming market <a href="">produced $21.5 billion in hardware sales last year</a>, according to data from Jon Peddie Research, which is more than double the revenues derived from console sales. More notably, unlike the broader PC market, which continues shrinking, gaming PC sales are projected to increase over the next couple of years. The JPR analysis suggests the biggest chunk of gaming PC revenue — somewhere in the vicinity of 44% — comes from the so-called enthusiast segment, which the researchers identify as "very performance and style oriented, much like sports car owners."

Sports car PCs are exactly what we saw from the big manufacturers at IFA. Acer’s Predators, whether it be on the desktop or in the form of pseudo-portable laptops, ape Lamborghini’s angular shapes and aggressive motifs throughout. Asus, with its Republic of Gamers sub-brand, does the very same. From overclocked monitors to otherworldly arachnid routers, both of these Taiwanese companies are pushing as hard as they can to give conventional, commoditized products the veneer of a fresh attitude and personality.

The very apt <a href="">comment</a> from Sameer Singh, industry analyst at App Annie: "Predictable response when facing disruption - flee upmarket." (The source of the disruption fits in a pocket and also makes phone calls.)
disruption  pc 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Michael Dell sees consolidation among PC makers in next few years » Reuters
The top three global PC makers would be able to raise market share in the next few years through consolidation amid shrinking sales of personal computers, Dell Inc Chief Executive Michael Dell said on Monday.

Lenovo Group Ltd tops global PC shipment ranking with a 20.3% market share, followed by Hewlett-Packard Co at 18.5% and Dell at 14.5%, according to research firm International Data Corp.

The top three companies could corner about 80% of the market in the next 5 to 7 years, Dell said at a roundtable conference with journalists in Bengaluru, India.

"In the first half of this year, we outgrew the two in notebooks and we have grown now 10 quarters in a row," Dell said.

IDC last month forecast PC shipments to fall 8.7% this year, steeper than its earlier estimate of a 6.2% decline, and said they are expected to return to growth in 2017.

Presently those top three have 53%; it would take quite a consolidation (such as the collapse/withdrawal of a player like Acer and a smaller one like Toshiba) to reach that. But the ongoing consolidation is steady.

Read it too for Dell's comment on smartphones.
dell  pc 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Acer honourary chairman Shih would 'welcome' takeover bid » The Register
Paul Kunert:
The major players, such as HP, Lenovo and Dell, would gain nothing on the technology front from buying Acer – which derived 65% of its revenues from PCs last year – save for perhaps some low-margin market share.

Surely it would be cheaper to let the company continue to wither on the vine?

More than a decade ago, Acer said it was the PC maker of the future, based partly on the relatively tiny workforce – it employs 7,000 heads, which is fewer than some vendors employ in their country operations.

As we <a href="">pointed out</a> recently, Acer is running out of runway and something has to give. We doubt any of the majors in the industry will want to buy the business, and the politics involved in merging with Taiwanese rivals HTC or Asus make such a move unlikely, though not entirely implausible.

Becoming a question of whether Acer or HTC will be forced into someone else's arms first. Acer is bigger, but shrinking fast.
acer  pc 
august 2015 by charlesarthur
PC shipments expected to shrink through 2016 as currency devaluations and inventory constraints worsens outlook » IDC
Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -8.7% in 2015 and not stabilize until 2017, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The latest forecast has growth declining through 2016 – which will make five years of declining shipments. Growth should resume in 2017, led by the commercial market, while consumer volume continues a small decline through the end of the forecast in 2019.

Although IDC had expected the second quarter of 2015 to be a transition period as vendors prepare for Windows 10 systems in the second half of the year, final results nonetheless shrank even more than expected due to a stubbornly large inventory of notebooks from prior quarters and severe constraints posed by the decline of major currencies relative to the US Dollar.

Hey ho. This is really going to put the squeeze on the smaller players.
idc  pc  forecast 
august 2015 by charlesarthur
All-in-one PC demand from China Internet cafes rising » Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
Despite the PC market's weak performance, all-in-one (AIO) PCs have become popular in China's Internet cafe market after the China government relaxed the restrictions on Internet cafes.

Now regular cafes, restaurants and karaoke houses are all eligible to apply for Internet cafe permits, and orders have started to surge for all-in-one PCs that are thin and light in form factors.

China's all-in-one PC market is able to achieve shipments of about 13-14 million a year with Lenovo, Apple and Hewlett-Packard (HP) together contributing 70% of the volume, while Dell, Acer, Micro-Star International (MSI), Asustek Computer and others have also been aggressively trying to expand their presence in the market.

In the past, China's Internet cafes used to procure their PCs via PC DIY channels, but they have now turned to all-in-one PCs that take up less space.

Bad for motherboard makers, good for PC makers.
china  pc 
august 2015 by charlesarthur
Toshiba’s woes show how PC sales slump is squeezing big tech firms » The Guardian
I wrote about the Others:
It is whispered among some analysts that only the preinstallation of third-party antivirus programs – which try to get users to sign up to subscriptions – keeps some PC makers afloat at all, owing to the fees they receive from antivirus software firms.

It was the PC business that triggered the current turmoil at the Japanese giant [Toshiba], after an internal auditor asked in late January to look at the accounts for the company’s laptop business. That eventually concluded with an examination by an external panel, whose 294-page report noted “inappropriate accounting” in various business segments, including those “relating to component transactions” in the PC business.

In a statement on 21 July it said that 111bn yen (£580m) of assets in the PC business in the past six financial years were “under consideration” for re-evaluation. That could affect its financial results, which will be finalised by 31 August. But even in its most recent quarterly report, before any restatement, Toshiba said that its PC business recorded restructuring costs of 46bn yen in the previous three quarters, and that otherwise it “would have recorded positive operating income over three consecutive quarters”.

46bn yen is $370m. Is Toshiba really saying it made an average of $123m per quarter in the PC business? That's as much as Asus, which is one of the biggest makers. Seems unlikely.
toshiba  pc 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Why buying ‘death of PC’ hype is dangerous » Laptop Mag
Avram Piltch:
Even though people won’t stop using (or buying) computers any time soon, the widespread but incorrect belief that computers are on the way out has serious implications. Corporate executives, investors and developers read the same news stories as everyone else and change their plans accordingly. While the PC space needs more innovation and better apps, many companies that make software and publish Web tools will transition even more of their resources to mobile. Websites that today offer more content on the page for desktop could end up getting stripped down for all users, on the belief that phone screens are the only ones that matter.

“The challenge the PC has is that it isn’t attracting much in the way of apps that exploit its capabilities and resonate with a broad audience,” said Ross Rubin of Recticle Research.

News of the form factor’s demise certainly won’t help.

As investors jump on the anti -PC bandwagon, companies that make computer hardware will be under increased pressure to produce fewer and lower-quality products. Consumers will see fewer innovations like the Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga, and more commodity laptops in their place.

Hate to break it to you, Avram, but customers aren't generally buying the Surface and the Yoga. They're already buying, as they have been for years, the commodity products - where NPD says (in the article) that the average desktop sells for $482, and laptop for $442.

Set the rapid improvements in mobile (cameras, processors, form factors, sensors) against the dead-end nature of most PC tasks, and you can see why developer resources in hardware and software are going into mobile. There's a lot of uncharted territory to explore.
pc  death 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
PC inventory issues growing serious in Europe; retailers boycotting vendors dumping inventory » Digitimes
Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai:
First-tier PC vendors reportedly are seeing serious inventory issues in Europe and may try to digest stocks by offering price cuts. At the same time, some channel retailers are reacting to the news by boycotting the vendors to avoid having inventory dumped on them, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The PC supply chain was originally optimistic about demand for PCs in the second quarter, but component suppliers have seen their orders from brand vendors weakening during the quarter as most vendors have high inventory levels on hand, which they are struggling to clear as most consumers have halted their notebook purchasing to wait for the release of Windows 10, which is scheduled for the end of July…

…In addition, Windows 10's free upgrade strategy is also expected to weaken consumers' demand for buying new PCs.

"First-tier PC vendors" is probably code, here, for Asus and Acer.
pc  windows10 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
PC shipments beat expectations despite weak currencies and product transitions » IDC
Worldwide PC shipments totalled 68.5m units in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15), a year-on-year decline of -6.7%, and slightly ahead of previous projections, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

Following a strong second half of 2014, which benefitted from the tailwind of the Windows XP refresh and pockets of price-driven consumer activity, the Q1 market faced multiple headwinds – including inventory build-up of Windows Bing based notebooks, commercial slow down following the XP refresh and constrained demand in many regions due to currency fluctuations and unfavorable economic indicators. As a result, growth and volume declined with Q1 shipments below 69m units, the lowest recorded volume since Q1 2009.

Those have to have been some low expectations. And here's the threat:
"Although shipments did exceed an already cautious forecast, the market unfortunately remains heavily dependent on pricing being a major driver, with entry SKU volume masking a still tenuous demand for higher priced systems that is needed to sustain a more diverse PC ecosystem. Pricing pressure is bringing many premium SKUs into formerly mid-level pricing tiers" said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers. "As more vendors find it increasingly difficult to compete, we can expect additional consolidation in the PC market."

Who'll withdraw next? Samsung? Toshiba? Actually, Acer is seeing terrible profits - about $3 per unit sold at an ASP of $363, based on operating profit and revenue numbers.
pc  idc 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Intel lowers first-quarter revenue outlook >> Intel Newsroom
Intel Corporation today announced that first-quarter revenue is expected to be below the company's previous outlook. The company now expects first-quarter revenue to be $12.8bn, plus or minus $300m, compared to the previous expectation of $13.7bn, plus or minus $500m.
The change in revenue outlook is a result of weaker than expected demand for business desktop PCs and lower than expected inventory levels across the PC supply chain. The company believes the changes to demand and inventory patterns are caused by lower than expected Windows XP refresh in small and medium business and increasingly challenging macroeconomic and currency conditions, particularly in Europe.

The XP refresh is/was still going on? Amazing. (During the same period last year, Intel's revenue was $12.7bn. So it might be very close to zero growth.)
intel  pc  business 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Mobile consumers have the answer » Kantar Worldpanel
Carolina Milanesi asked the Kantar panel of consumers for their views:
We know that tablet sales are stagnant and that 79% of American panelists without a tablet have said that the reason they are not planning to buy a tablet in the next 12 month is because their PC is “good enough” for them. When we asked consumers who own a PC if they are planning to replace that PC in 2015, 85% of the panelists interviewed said they are not. 11.3% said they indeed are planning to replace their current PC with another, and1.7% said they will replace that PC with a tablet. Finally, 1.9% plan to replace their PC with a convertible.

Consumers in the 25 to 34 year bracket are the most favorable to tablets, with 2.9% planning to purchase one as a replacement for their PC. Consumers 16 to 24, are the most open to convertibles (3.5%) most likely because they’re still in their school years,

Also asked about virtual reality, to sniffy answers. But you could have asked people if they wanted to surf the web and get email on the move in 2006 and got similar uninterested answers. Asking consumers about future technologies isn't always meaningful without clear use cases.
tablets  pc  vr 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
August 2013: renegade Windows App Store Pokki lands Lenovo as its latest OEM partner, will preload on its PCs » TechCrunch
Alex Wilhelm, in August 2013:
After securing Acer as its <a href="">first major OEM deal</a>, Pokki, an alternative Windows application marketplace and Start Button replacement, today secured Lenovo as its newest partner. The deal will see Pokki’s game arcade and Start Menu shipped with Lenovo machines, greatly boosting its marketshare in the PC ecosystem.

I've asked Lenovo about this: it hasn't been able to tell me how much Pokki paid to be installed. It seems a fair presumption that it did. (Pokki doesn't interfere with network traffic.)

Superfish might be the most recent, but it wasn't the first time Lenovo was trying to improve its margins with preloaded software.
lenovo  pc  install 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Hear that sound? It's the Windows XP PC bubble popping » The Register
Paul Kunert:
The XP bubble has well and truly burst, leaving the UK [PC wholesale] channel awash with unwanted commercial PCs and vendors facing a costly write-down to clear a mountain of misery.

Microsoft ending support for the creaking operating system last April revived the industry in 2014, but it seems vendors forgot the sales cycle and that their products have a shelf life.

Distributors told El Chan that up to £50m of excess stock is lodged in warehouses, with all of the major players, including Lenovo, HP, Dell, Toshiba and Fujitsu blamed.

“The market was driven really hard last year,” said one, “but since November there was an awareness the channel was over-stocked. There’s been a correction in sales-out and now we are having tough conversations with vendors about resetting quotas."

Another agreed it took three months for PC makers to realise that boxes were being pushed out of the door more slowly, and “they were buying in for the XP bubble”.

Could be some fun when Q1 PC figures are announced in April, followed by profit data in the succeeding weeks.
pc  channel 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Vertical integration of design and post-pcs » iLike.code
Nat Brown looks back at his time at Microsoft, while looking around at what's happening in smartphones:
We were helping key [Windows PC] OEMs prototype different special-purpose uses for the Windows operating system which could be sold with new high-volume consumer products under a lower licensing cost to hit the <$300 retail price point. (This effort and some of our prototyping was one contributor to the initial XBox.) I was fascinated to learn details about how much PC OEM’s had outsourced manufacturing (and some forms of the hard intellectual property design) to foreign white-label manufacturers. Some small players had literally outsourced everything but their logo, their sales staff, and their direct-mailing lists. It was clear even then that they were not differentiable and fully doomed. Others, like Dell, were still doing final customer-specific options assembly and industrial/mechanical (particularly pluggable component) design but were no longer designing much of their printed circuit boards (PCBs). The more I learned the more this seemed like a difficult-to-defend position without unique software capabilities to differentiate the clearly commodity hardware. PC OEM’s had no brand-exclusive content.

This has broader ramifications, as he explains, in the smartphone business.
pc  oem  smartphone  commodity 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
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