In a few more days, Black Friday will be here, and if you plan on braving the crowds, that means getting up early (or staying up late) and making a mad dash for the electronics section among a frenzy of shoppers with no qualms about pushing, shoving, and trampling anyone who gets in their way. But should your reach your destination unscathed, you may find that the deals are nothing to get excited over considering stores have already had to mark prices down in the current economic climate, or that quantities are so low that if you're not near the front of the line donning a pair of running shoes, you're going to miss out.
CNNMoney.com reveals that in some cases, stores may stock as little as 3 units of those enticing low-priced electronics advertised in your local flier. Sale items could also be "derivatives" of the real deal, such as a large screen HDTV with lower image quality or a less desirable image contrast.
"It's a sleazy practice," said Craig Johnson, retailing expert and president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners. "I am old school. If a retailer is advertising a juicy deal and they are not prepared to have in sufficient quantity, don't advertise it. Or give consumers a raincheck."
Its latest operating system has helped the company obscure the spectre of Vista's failure. A couple of NPD reports published during the past fortnight indicate that Windows 7 has so far surpassed Vista in terms of sales, revenue, and adoption rate.
One shareholder apparently became the face of moderation for a bit during the meeting when he questioned Ballmer about Apple's huge popularity with the younger generation. Ballmer admitted that there is some room for improvement. But on the whole, he seemed satisfied with the fact that Windows is by far the most popular OS in the world.
It's been a little while since anyone has pronounced the PC a dead platform for gaming, and the next time someone does, you can help that person remove their cranium from their hind quarters with some hard figures. Not only is the PC doing well, it's doing exceptionally well, suggests data put together by Jon Peddie Research (JPR).
JPR's latest report predicts that PC gaming hardware sales will reach $21.26 billion by the end of the year, which is an increase of nearly $1.2 billion over 2008. But that's nothing compared to how much hardware the research firm predicts will fly off the shelves in 2010. According to JPR, PC gamers will spend $27.62 billion next year investing in gaming systems, accessories, and upgrades.
"The largest influence on the high forecasted growth rate is due to purchasing delays for systems and upgrades in 2008/2009 as consumers circled the wagons and took a conservative position on discretionary spending. A recovering economy, processing advancements, and higher quality gaming offerings will all contribute to a healthy year for PC gaming hardware in 2010."
What's even more remarkable about the increased spending is that PC hardware has never been cheaper. For the most part, gone are the days where a high-end videocard commanded $600, and it's now possible to piece together a respectable gaming rig for well under a grand.
Going forward, JPR says hardware sales will continue to climb, reaching $32.75 billion in 2010, and $34.76 billion in 2012.
Like everyone else, we're chomping at the bit to see what Nvidia's next-gen Fermi graphics chipset (GT300) brings to the table, so we're a little bummed it's been pushed back until Q1 2010. The delayed launch, however, isn't expected to negatively impact Nvidia's sales for the remainder of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
When Fermi does ship, Nvidia will position the GPU into three different product lines, including the GeForce brand, Quadro, and Tesla, according to company CEO Jen-Husn Huang.
While the delay is unlikely to hurt Nvidia's bottom line, that could change if Fermi gets pushed back a second time, some analysts warn. They say Nvidia could start to lose some of its market share should Fermi arrive in April 2010, as AMD will in all likelihood have already started shipping its entry-level Radeon HD 5600 and 5300 GPUs.
Windows 7’s launch may have turned in an impressive 234% growth in sales over Vista, but at least one industry analyst report is suggesting it may not be enough to bring Microsoft out of the red. Boxed copies of the software enjoyed strong pre-orders, but as many of you know, the vast majority of these were sold at a significant discount with an average selling price of only $76 in the week ending October 24th. Sales of PCs through the OEM sales channel also grew by 95% during the launch week, but it has since settled down considerably.
According to the report, Microsoft’s fortunes in 2010 will largely depend on whether the global economic conditions improve, and if IT budgets increase along with it. Strong sales to consumers is one thing, but getting businesses to embrace a tech refresh is the real trick to Microsoft’s recovery. Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell suggested that his company is planning for the worst, and is being “reasonably cautious” about the prospect of enterprises adopting Windows 7.
"It looks like the Win7 inspired upgrade cycle can start in late 2010 and run through early 2013," Katherine Egbert, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in an Oct. 12 report. "We expect new hardware purchases to precede the software upgrades by about 6 months." Either way, business will need to replace aging hardware and software eventually, but the big question for Microsoft is “when”.
"It has been quite amazing to watch the global excitement build around Windows 7, especially during a tough economic climate. It was just a few short weeks ago that we learned about Windows 7 outselling the UK's "own" Harry Potter. In Japan, anxious PC users waited in line to be one of the first to get their hands on Windows 7," a clearly ecstatic Le Blanc wrote on the official Windows Team Blog.
According to NPD's weekly tracking service, Windows 7 software unit sales in the US surpassed VIstas by 234 percent during the first few days. However, revenue generated by Windows 7 sales was only 82 percent higher than Vista's during the tracking period. NPD imputed the rather lackluster revenue growth to the discounts offered on pre-sales and Microsoft's failure to plug the Ultimate version in a manner its due. Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade with an average selling price of $76 was the top-selling Windows 7 SKU during the week ending October 24, 2009.
The recession may or may not be over for the general public, but as far as D-Link is concerned, the high times are here again. The maker of network solutions has posted solid growth in the third quarter of the year. Net profits were up to $7.98 million in Q3 2009. This is an abrupt turnaround after the first half of the year when the company actually lost several million.
A whopping 54% of D-Link’s profits were from the Asia Pacific and emerging markets. Management expects that to rise over 60% in the next few quarters. D-Link expects growth to continue in the fourth quarter, but not at an increased rate over the third quarter.
While most segments in the tech industry have had a hard time coping with a global recession, the smartphone market seems to have weathered the economic storm just fine, suggests a new report from research firm Canayls.
According to Canayls, smartphone sales saw growth of 4 percent against the same quater last year, and shot up 14 percent from last quarter.
"While growth has undoubtedly slowed, it is still outperforming the overall mobile phone market by some margin, as well as driving data revenue for operators, and smartphones are ushering in a range of changes in user behavior when it comes to what people actually do on their phones," said Canalys senior analyst Pete Cunningham.
The smartphone market has been particularly kind to Apple, whose iPhone 3G S helped the iPhone grow its market share by 4 percent to settle in at 18 percent of the market. That puts it in third place behind RIM, which holds a 21 percent share.
"Demand for the iPhone 3G S far outstripped supply, and we expect to see continued growth for Apple, especially with new operators coming onboard, for example in the UK with teh end of O2's exclusivity on the device," Cunningham added.
It’s no secret that chip sales have been hurting in this economy. In fact, semiconductor sales fell last year for this first time since the tech bubble burst in 2001. However, the newest numbers out seem to show a reasonable rebound. Global chip sales in Q3 rose 19.7% over Q2 to 61.9 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The bad news is that sales were still over 10% lower than Q3 last year.
To a degree, this sort of increase is expected as demand ramps up approaching the holidays, but SIA president, George Scalise, has called the results “above expectations”. He pointed out that sales of PCs and cell phones have been running ahead of predictions. These devices are the largest consumers of semiconductors.
Positive signs continue to accumulate for the chip market. In addition to the just released numbers, previous values indicate that September actually saw a year-over-year gain of 7.8% in American sales. SIA is raising their projections for total 2009 sales. Is this a premature decision, or not? We’ll find out in a few months.
True to the company's prediction, Acer can finally chant, "We're number one!," so long as they're chanting it in Taiwan. That's because the PC maker's brand value has been appraised at $1.241 billion, the highest value of any Taiwan-based global brand in 2009, according to the government-sponsored Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
This is the first time Acer has ever taken the top spot, after coming in third in 2008 and 2007 with brand values of $1.265 billion and $1.069 billion, respectively.
Acer leapfrogged both Asus (formerly No. 2, now No. 3) and Trend Micro (formerly No. 1, now No. 2) to grab the top spot, but not by much. Trend Micro is close behind with a brand-value appraised at $1.235 billion, and $1.226 billion for Asus.
D-Link also had a good year, moving from the 13th spot up to No. 7 and now valued at $190 million.