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."
While there is no gainsaying the fact that the Pre did lend a fatally rudderless Palm some direction, the much anticipated forward thrust is an entirely different matter. The impetus that Palm hoped to receive from its dapper webOS products hasn't materialized. The Sunnyvale-based company has lowered its guidance for the current fiscal. It blamed the move on lower-than-expected sales of its new webOS-based phones.
“Since the quarter has not yet closed, it is too soon to offer exact numbers, but we stated that we expect to report revenues for Q3 between $300 and $320 million. We also announced that we expect our revenue for this fiscal year to fall below the guidance we gave to Wall Street, which ranged from $1.6 to $1.8 billion,” CEO Jon Rubinstein announced in an internal email meant for employees. Its full financial results will be announced next month.
Rubinstein clarified that the the abrupt announcement was being made in order to “prevent a surprise for Wall Street when we announce quarterly earnings in March.” But this announcement did take many by surprise and sent its shares down south. Its share price dropped 13% on the news before eventually making a bit of a come back.
The company is currently pursuing a new strategy to improve sales. “To accelerate sales, we initiated Project JumpStart nearly three weeks ago. Since then, nearly two hundred Palm Brand Ambassadors, supplemented by Palm employees from Sunnyvale, have been training Verizon sales reps across the U.S. on our products.” It clearly believes that lack of awareness and Verizon's poor handling of its products are the two major factors hampering sales.
In a recent presentation to music and tech industry executives, NPD Group’s Russ Crupnick had some interesting things to say about music streaming. According to Crupnick, on-demand streaming services like Spotify result in a 13 percent decrease in paid downloads. He went on point out that services that follow the “radio” model, like Pandora, increase sales 41%.
Pandora doesn’t allow users to select specific songs like Spotify, but instead plays music in a chosen genre more or less randomly. The unsurprising conclusion is that people are less likely to buy a song if they can stream it at any time. Perhaps it isn’t that simple; is it possible to draw enough new users to increase overall sales? The key for Spotify may be the effort to convert free users to paid premium users.
This report is just the sort of thing music labels could use to justify keeping Spotify from launching in the US. Warner Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman said earlier this month, “Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry.” If Spotify launched stateside, would you ante up for extra features like mobile streaming?
As it turns out, not only is Windows 7 a much better operating system than Windows Visa, it's also being much better received by early adopters than its predecessor was.
Web metrics firm NetApplications says Windows 7 accounts for 9 percent of all OSes in use online in February. That's twice as much as Vista claimed five months after it launched, which only saw a 4.5 percent share.
"Looking at the trends, the [Windows 7] growth rate seems to be strong and consistent with no visible decline," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president with NetApplications.
There's also been a difference in Windows 7's weekend and weekday scores, which Vizzaccaro says is indicative of "personal usage growing faster than corporate usage, which fits expectations."
Dell should be on the lookout for a 'thank you' card from Gigabyte, which saw strong on-month and on-year revenue growthrates to the tune of 55.1 percent and 41.1 percent, respectively, in January 2010 mostly because of server and storage system orders placed by Dell.
The mostly short-term orders won't do much to bolster Gigabyte's long term outlook, but according to some analysts, it will help Gigabyte see better revenues performance than nearly all of its motherboard competitors.
The server and storage orders came at a good time. Gigabyte has struggled a bit in the notebook sector, shipping only about 300,000 units in 2009 and failing to meet the company's expectations. Meanwhile, Gigabyte's handset subsidiary is seeing losses, though the vendor expects both of these segments to see significant improvement in 2010.
Microsoft today reported results for the second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2009. It managed to churn out strong results during the quarter thanks mainly to Windows 7. Both its profit and revenue soared to record levels in this period. During fiscal 2Q, the company reported earnings of $6.66 billion, or 74 cents per share, on revenue of $19.02 billion. This is way better than what financial pundits had predicted.
Microsoft claims it has sold 60 million Windows 7 licenses. While the phenomenal consumer interest in Windows 7 is clearly propelling Microsoft's growth, the lingering parsimony among enterprises is a cause for concern.
The division that makes its popular Office productivity suite was particularly hit by lack of corporate spending, with its revenue dropping 3 percent. The entertainment division did not fare too well, either. It only sold 5.2 million Xbox 360 consoles, 13 percent less compared to the previous year.
The Nexus One has been available for just over a week. Now, analytics firm Flurry has managed to estimate the number of handsets sold in week one is around 20,000. For comparison, the Droid sold about 250,000 in its first week. The iPhone sold a whopping 1.6 million. Even the T-Mobile Myouch 3G sold 60,000 units. So, what does this mean for the Superphone?
When looking at these numbers, one must consider the huge difference in the marketing and distribution. Verizon has spent millions advertising the Droid, and Apple always manages to make a spectacle of iPhone launches, and the humble MyTouch had marketing from T-Mobile to help it out. The Nexus One can only be purchased online, and there’s no real advertising. Even the launch event seemed subdued and procedural.
A spring Verizon launch may kick sales into overdrive, we’ll have to wait and see. For now, it could be Google is just fine with only selling a limited number of phones to early adopters. Considering the complaints about customer service, that might also be for the best.
Oracle didn't exactly stick it to Wall Street, but the world's No. 2 software maker did manage to post a quarterly profit above what analysts were expecting, eWeek reports. Not by a wide margin, mind you, but still 3 cents higher than the average Wall Street forecast of 36 cents per share.
The better-than-expected performance can be attributed to an unexpected increase in sales of new software licenses, which rose 2 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter ended Nov. 30. And it was just 3 months ago that Oracle said sales would probably be down 10 percent, or at best, fall flat.
Oracle wasn't the only one with reason to celebrate. The company's numbers has analysts and other vendors optimistic that technology spending is on the rebound after suffering through a rough year. Because of its size, Oracle reports earnings a month before most of its peers.
According to a new report from research firm Research and Markets, netbook shipments will end the year with a bang, shipping twice as many units as 2008. That's pretty impressive, and with prices continuing to fall, it seems netbooks are destined to keep selling like hot cakes. Or are they?
The research firm predicts that the market will slow somewhat in 2010 as manufacturers cope with increasingly slimmer profit margins.
"In order to expand netbook PC market coverage, other than increasing product differentiation to stimulate demand in the existing mature consumer markets," states the report, "PC companies also aim to seek new market opportunities in the education, commercial, and emerging market segments, as well as new distribution channels and new offerings."
The report went on to say that competition from Nokia and Apple could heat things up in 2010, including the release of the rumored Apple Tablet sometime next year.
Psystar had big plans, unfortunately, their plans were pretty much the only thing that fit that description. Now that Apple has effectively won its copyright infringement case against the company, not only is it all but sure to close, but it will likely have to pay a fine for each and every Hackintosh that went out the door.
Just how many machines is that you ask? Turns out even though the company planned to sell as many as 12 million units by 2011, they only managed to pump out around 768 Mac clones so far. Either the Psystar machines were far less popular than the company (and media) let on, or they are fudging the numbers to try and dodge some of the fine. The numbers were revealed as part of a court ordered release to be used against them at upcoming injunction proceedings. Even if Psystar does manage to pay the fine, they will still be a company without a product, not exactly an ideal situation.
It seems as though Apple has done a pretty good job of nipping these guys off in the bud before they had a chance to cost them any customers, but do you actually think the Hackintosh crowd will actually buy genuine Apple OEM goods now that the hammer has come down against Psystar? I also can't help but wonder how many of those 768 machines were sold to the press.