HP’s decision to scrap the first, and perhaps only product resulting from its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm was by far one of the most unexpected news stories we’ve seen in years. But just when we thought things couldn’t get any stranger, HP announced it was shopping for a buyer for their PC division as well, a move that would take the company in a radically different direction going forward. As the number one OEM PC manufacturer in the world this came as a bit of a shock to everyone, that is unless your number two. For Michael Dell the HP announcement represents a huge opportunity to grab market share, and the charismatic CEO wasted little time going after HP over twitter.
Both IDC and Gartner have released their third-quarter PC shipment numbers. While their figures may be contrasting, they paint identical pictures of a quarter that saw underwhelming growth in PC shipments. According to IDC, global PC shipments grew 10.5 percent during the quarter, which is 3 percent less than its forecast. But according to Gartner, PC shipments only grew 7.6 percent during the quarter, ending up well below its estimate of 12.7 percent. Analysts blamed poor back-to-school demand for lower-than-expected results. They also feel that the tablet upsurge is bound to eat into the market for secondary PCs.
China is not only vying for the top economy crown but also breathing down America's neck in a panoply of key industries. Take for example the global PC market, where it is currently ranked second - just behind the US - with somewhere between 15 to 20 percent of all PC sales. Its rise to the top of the PC market is most likely to happen sometime this year.
So the soon-to-be world's biggest computer market must have the undivided attention of Microsoft then? Not really. Not until China respects intellectual property rights and clamps down on software piracy. Microsoft after all only owes 1 percent of its total revenue to the Chinese market. According to Steve Ballmer, the company sees greater promise in countries like India and Indonesia.
The Microsoft CEO told media persons in Singapore that intellectual property protection in these two countries is far better than China. He also shared his concern over the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. Ballmer fears a possible global fallout from Europe's debt crisis.
After struggling in 2009 with a yearly world growth rate of just 2.9 percent, market research firm IDC says the PC market is on a pretty big rebound, one that will see double-digit growth in 2010. Not ony that, but 2009 wasn't so bad when you consider a few factors.
"PC volume continued to grow in 2009 -- faring much better than in 2001, when a smaller recession produced a decline in PC volume. The positive 2009 results reflects lower prices and the fact that PCs are increasingly a must-have product," said Jay Chou, research analyst at IDC.
Now that a recovery is under way, IDC says it expects the PC market to rebound to the tune of 12.6 percent, and grow 18.5 percent in emerging regions. Much of this growth will be attributable to portable PCs, a segment the IDC sees claiming a 70 percent share of all PCs by 2012. And let's not forget the potential tablet frenzy on the horizon.
"IDC is keenly focused on the forthcoming tablet device market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president, Clients and Displays. "However, we don't expect these products -- which do not meet the current IDC definition of a PC -- will stunt the strong growth in PCs we're expecting to see this year."
Acer owes its rapid strides in the PC market to its success in the netbook segment. Now it expects to benefit from the launch of Windows 7 and a resurgent global economy. Acer chairman JT Wang is confident that the company will meet its revenue forecast for Q4 2009. The company is expected to register a 10% growth in consolidated revenues during the ongoing quarter.
He believes that the entry of Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba into the ultra-thin notebook segment is bereft of seriousness, and this very lack of sincerity is preventing Intel’s ultra-thin notebook technology from taking off.