Like The Little Engine That Could, the worldwide PC market kept chugging onward against all economic odds, pushed in large part by an emerging netbook market that seemingly popped up overnight. But the ultraportable PCs could only do so much to stave off the inevitable, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the global PC market will suffer its first decline in 2009 since the Dot-Com bust of 2001.
"An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market," observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli. "Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline -- in 2001 -- was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the Dot-Com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse."
The market research firm predicts global PC shipments to dip to 287.3 million units in 2009, marking a 4 percent drop from the 299.2 million shipments in 2008. Ironically enough, a growing notebook market -- which we assume also includes netbooks -- might be part of the reason for the overall drop in PC shipments. While notebook PC shipments will rise by 11.7 percent, desktop PC shipments, including entry-level servers, is expected to plummet 18.1 percent and is being cited as the "primary factor driving the decline of the PC market in 2009," according to iSupply.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Despite what you might have read, Windows 7 has not yet hit RTM (Release to Manufacturing), although it is getting very close, Microsoft says.
"As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready," Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
LeBlanc's statement would seem to contradict the Windows 7 7600 build that has been running rampant on torrent sites, but LeBlanc insists that "just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM." Before Windows 7 reaches that stage, all languages must be completely finished and Microsoft needs to get to a point of "global readiness," LeBlanc added.
Once Windows 7 is complete, there are a few ways you can get your hands on a copy, depending on which category you fall into. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after Microsoft announces RTM, Volume License (VL) customers can get a copy starting September 1st, and everyone else will have to either wait until October 22nd, or trust that the inevitable torrent downloads are legit.
Microsoft is preparing to launch a music streaming service by the end of July. Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, told UK’s Telegraph about Microsoft’s plans to foray into the music streaming industry in the UK. Its service will rival Spotify – European company that provides both ad-supported music streaming and paid downloads. In fact, Bale said that Microsoft’s music streaming service will mimic Spotify’s revenue model.
“We are looking at how other similar businesses have structured their business models and trying to figure out what will work best for both consumer and Mircosoft.” Bale said. He added that the service may eventually become associated with the Xbox 360, though he would not say how.
The wild popularity of netbooks comes as a double-edged sword for Intel and OEMs alike. On one hand, the worldwide PC market continues to grow on the strength of netbooks, most of which sport an Intel Atom chip inside. But on the other hand, it's long been feared that netbooks would cannibalize traditional notebook sales with higher profit margins, and at least one firm says it's already happening.
According to DisplaySearch, netbook shipments will reach 33 million units in 2009, penetrating into existing notebooks by 20 percent.
"Penetration of mini-notes is one of the primary factors behind DisplaySearch’s expectations of flat Y/Y demand for notebook PCs. The other factor is a dramatic reduction in demand from enterprise customers," DisplaySearch said in a press release.
As has been talked about before, DisplaySearch said that the launch of Windows 7 in late October, if combined with economic recovery, could turn things around and lead to a "rapid recovery" in the enterprise notebook market. However, the market firm also said it doesn't anticipate this happening until sometime in 2010.
The life of a technology and gadget aficionado is filled with challenges. With so many amazing computing options available to us these days, we tend to go a bit overboard with the number of devices we own. In addition to the desktop, we live digital lives on our laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and even the work PC at the office. While each machine has specific functions and advantages, problems arise when we sit down in front of just one device and wonder if it has the latest version of our documents, contacts, and bookmarks.
Keeping your mobile life in sync is becoming an increasingly difficult task these days, and with each device you add to your lineup, the challenge multiplies exponentially. It becomes even more complicated when you start mixing and matching platforms that have conflicting file systems and format support. On the bright side, there has never been a better time to automate the process, allowing you to keep every aspect of your digital life in sync. This guide will educate you on the best ways to sync files, bookmarks, passwords, emails, and even your contacts / calendars, to any platform or device you may have. We deep dive into the major sync technologies being offered today; showing you step by step how they work, so you can decide for yourself what solution will work best for you.
Netbooks might not be getting bigger (or else they'd be called notebooks), but according to Slashgear, the average screen resolution in systems using Intel's Atom N-series chipsets is going up, and with the chip maker's blessing.
"According to HKEPC, Intel has increased the maximum allowed resolution from 1024 x 600 to 1366 x 768, as seen on the recently-announced Sony VAIO W," Slashgear wrote.
As it stands right now, in order to use the higher resolution panels, companies must choose from Intel's Z-series Atom chips, or else forgo the preferential N-series pricing. Intel's reasoning for doing this has been to clearly distinguish between a netbook and notebook, but perhaps the company is now content to let the physical screen size separate the two segments.
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, and most would agree that Netflix has grown too large (and too strategic) to beat. So who wants to buy them? If you believe the latest rumor, Amazon wants to buy the online DVD rental service, news of which has sent Netflix stock soaring to the highest it's been in 11 weeks.
"There's heavy call buying and the stock is up on renewed takeover talk, with Amazon being mentioned specifically," said Fred Ruffy, the senior options strategist at WhatsTrading.com. "It's pretty typical of speculative buying."
While Netflix and Amazon both compete in the Internet video business, not everyone is convinced a takeover makes much sense. Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, points out that Amazon has distribution centers all across the U.S., meaning the company would have to collect sales tax in those states. Should that happen, subscribers would likely end up footing the bill.
As expected, both Amazon and Netflix said they don't comment on rumors or speculation.
“The decision to shift a release date is never an easy one, especially with a product as highly anticipated as BioShock 2. We felt that it was essential to invest the additional time to ensure that this title will deliver what its fans expect and deserve,” said Take-Two CEO Ben Feder.
“As a result, we will now be launching sequels to several of our strongest franchises - including BioShock 2, Mafia II, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption - during the next fiscal year.”
As a result of that result, Take-Two’s 2009 is looking pretty sparse. We’re all for heart-pounding finishes, but Take-Two’s all-or-nothing 2010 plan is just wild. This is like when action heroes fall from great distances, only to fire off their grappling hooks at the last feasible second; sure, you know the hero’s not going to make any sort of craterous impact, but damn, Take-Two, 2010 had better be the best year ever. After all, Spider Man can’t swing by and catch everyone.
And if 2010 doesn't go your way, we imagine a number of your investors will be plumeting from buildings hoping not for someone to catch them, but for death's sweet, concrete flavored embrace.
Facebook dragged social aggregator Power.com to court about six months ago. Though the news was soon followed by whispers of an out-of-court settlement being near, there has been none. Power.com has now decided to take the fight to the opposition by countersuing it.
Power.com allows users to manage their accounts on some of the major social networks on the internet – it removed Facebook after it got sued - through its website. Users don’t even need to register to use the website; instead, they can log in using the id/password combination they use to access any one of their accounts on MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Facebook had accused Power.com of using its data without securing prior consent. The former was mainly rankled by the fact that Power.com was storing user credentials.
Power.com has accused Facebook of obstructing users from transferring their data in the fashion they see fit. The social aggregator has requested the court to order Facebook to cease such unlawful, anticompetitive practices and to award monetary damages to the plaintiffs (defendants in the original suit filed by Facebook). Why don’t you be the judge, jury and executioner in the comments section? Give us your take on Data Portability.