Maybe the tech recession is finally over, or perhaps it just couldn't get any worse. Either way, worldwide PC processor shipments and revenues climbed by 3.6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, in the second quarter of 2010, according to market research firm IDC.
"Such a sequential increase in PC processor shipments alone would have been enough to conclude that the first half was strong for the market," said Shane Rau director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC. "However, a modest rise in revenues, too, points directly to a rise in ASPs. System makers bought more and higher-priced PC processors in the second quarter than in the first. Digging a little deeper into the numbers shows that they bought more mobile processors and more server processors, while desktop processors remained flat."
As the IDC reports it, the desktop sector continued to struggle with a 0.1 percent decline on quarter. Mobile PC processor shipments, on the other hand, rose by 6.5 percent, while the server market saw a 6.1 percent rise on quarter.
Another key part of IDC's prognosis is SaaS share of the total software market:“By 2012, IDC expects that less than 15% of net-new software firms coming to market will ship a packaged product (on CD). By 2014, about 34% of all new business software purchases will be consumed via SaaS, and SaaS delivery will constitute about 14.5% of worldwide software spending across all primary markets.”
Nope, the PC still isn't dead. But don't just take our word for it, market research firm IDC, which spends its time tracking these sort of things, indicated that the PC market grew by 22.4 percent in the second quarter of 2010 despite lingering concerns over the economy.
"The PC market remains robust, and in a recovery phase, despite challenges to a broader economic recovery, such as slow job growth and a more conservative outlook in Europe and Asia Pacific," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "The factors which led to the recent PC rebound, an aging commercial installed base, a proliferation of low-cost media-centric PCs, and low PC penetration through much of the world, remain key drivers going forward."
Nobody's benefiting more from this than Asus, who noted an 83.6 percent year-over-year growth rate, nearly double that of Lenovo, which had the second highest growth rate at 47.3 percent.
Someone at Asus deserves a raise. We're talking about whoever it was that convinced the company it was a good idea to put so much time and energy into the netbook market, because that strategy has paid off in a big way. For the first time ever, Asus has positioned itself as one of the top 5 PC makers in the world, and it's mostly due to Eee PC sales.
According to market research firm IDC, Asus shipped 4.3 million PCs in the second quarter of 2010, claiming 5.3 percent of the market. That also represents an 84 percent growth rate for the quarter, putting the company shoulder-to-shoulder with Toshiba for the fifth spot.
"It's remarkable, particularly for people who haven't seen the Asus name around," said Loren Loverde, head of IDC's Quarterly Worldwide PC Tracker. "Toshiba is a long-time venerable PC player. Asus is a relative newcomer. But they have been shipping pretty significant volumes (of PCs), more substantially outside the U.S., but pretty significantly in most markets."
Hewlett-Packard still leads the pack with 18.1 percent of the market, trailed by Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, in that order.
Market research firm IDC crunched the numbers and determined that IBM is the market share leader in Social Platforms, at least in terms of total software revenue.
According to the report, which IBM is plenty eager to share with anyone who will listen, worldwide revenue for the social platforms market climbed to nearly $370 million in 2009, representing a growth rate of over 55 percent.
"Social software helps enterprises define their collaboration agenda," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, IBM Lotus Software. "The use of social software can transform the way people work increasing the speed of business."
As far as IDC is concerned, the social platforms market includes IBM Lotus Connections, as well as its cloud-based LotusLive Connections toolset, IBM said.
Cloud computing has proved to be more than a passing fad, and though the common perception is that public clouds are where it's at, private clouds hold a slight edge, according to a recent survey.
Market research firm IDC pinged IT executives about their penchant for cloud computing, and somewhat surprisingly, 55 percent said that a private cloud was more desireable than a public one. By comparison, only 22 percent said they found both types equally appealing.
"If you scoff at the idea of a private cloud, you're in peril," said Frank Gens, an IDC chief analyst. "But public clouds will drive a lot of solutions, so don't be too cocky if you're a private- cloud evangelist. Virtually every customer, at least from the midmarket up, will have a mix of both."
Cloud computing is a booming market, and will continue to grow, said IDC. In 2009, revenue from IT cloud services climbed above $16 billion, and is expected to reach $55.5 billion in 2014.
NetApp was another top gainer with a massive 47.4% year-over-year increase in revenues. It is now within touching distance of second-ranked IBM. In fact, the first quarter proved fruitful for the entire industry. The total disk storage market witnessed year-over-year growth of 18.8% in factory revenues, which rose to $6.7 billion .
"The worldwide disk storage systems market is off to a strong start in Q1 2010, based on year-over-year growth, although annual comparisons are less indicative of market performance given the 2009 economic crisis," said Natalya Yezhkova, research manager, Storage Systems at IDC. "As such, sequential comparisons can provide more information on a market recovery. Although the market declined in Q1 2010 compared to Q4 2009, the decline was lower than usual. This is a positive sign, suggesting increased storage budgets and continued demand for storage solutions."
Tablet shipments will reach 7 million units by the end of the year and exceed 46 million in 2014, representing a sixfold increase, market research firm IDC reported on Thursday.
Apple's iPad will be the driving force in pushing tablets to the masses, but so too will tablets becoming differentiated from PCs and smartphones, said Suasan Kevorkian, program director at IDC. According to Kevorkian, apps, content, and services designed for tablets will increase the divide between these devices.
IDC's numbers might even be a bit conservative. Apple has already sold over a million iPads, and that was just in the first 28 days, and also before the international launch. In addition, several other players are taking aim at the tablet market, including Hewlett-Packard, Asus, Lenovo, and others, all with different screen sizes and OSes (Android, webOS, and Windows).
As the economy picks up, so too does the demand for cloud computing hardware, says market research firm IDC. In a report released this week, IDC said it expects server revenue for private cloud computing to grow from $7.3 billion (2009) to $11.8 billion in 2014.
The public cloud market, which is a significantly smaller segment, is also on pace to experience growth, with IDC predicting a rise in revenue from $582 million to $718 million the same time period.
"Now is a great time for many IT organizations to begin seriously considering this technology and employing public and private clouds in order to simplify sprawling IT environments," said Kathernie Broderick, research analyst, Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends.
On a related note, the IDC report notes that public clouds won't see the same broad adoption as private clouds, partly because the public sector will be less enterprise focused.
Rebounding from a market contraction in the first quarter of 2009, mobile phone shipments surged by 21.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to market research firm IDC. Increased demand for smartphones played a big role in overall mobile phone performance, with vendors shipping 249.9 million units in Q1 of this year compared to 242.4 million in Q1 2009.
The growing demand for smartphones also helped Research In Motion (RIM) wiggle its way into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time ever. RIM jumped ahead of Motorola to tie Sony Ericsson for the No. 4 spot in IDC's 1Q10 vendor rankings.
"The entrance of RIM into the top 5 underscores the sustained smartphone growth trend that is driving the global mobile phone market recovery," noted Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "This is also the first time a vendor has dropped out of the top 5 since the second quarter of 2005, when Sony Ericsson grabbed the number 5 spot from BenQ Siemens."
IDC predicts the worldwide mobile phone market rebound will last throughout 2010, though not necessarily at the same clip as the first quarter performance.
"We are still expecting growth of 11 percent for 2010," IDC said.