Stamford-based IT research firm Gartner has revealed the worldwide PC industry’s sales figures for the second quarter. Overall, the global PC industry registered a growth of 16% as a total of 71.9 million units were shipped during the quarter. More and more people are turning to notebooks, as opposed to desktops, as notebook prices continue to plummet. However, the US PC industry couldn’t keep up with the highly promising growth rate seen globally and managed a much subdued rate of 4.2% - total shipments stood at 16.5 million units.
If its Q2 performance is anything to go by, HP is not moving an inch from its position as the top PC maker in the world. HP’s sales grew at a faster rate than even the global average. But Dell is not too keen on staying at No.2 either. It raised its market share to 15.6% and even outshone HP’s year-over-year growth rate. These days one can’t resist mentioning netbooks but they really didn’t leave much of a mark in the US; still early days, though.
Google wants to further strengthen its grip on the online contextual ads business. To this end, it has announced that it is going to acquire a leading Russian contextual advertising company, Begun, for $140 million. Begun’s network encompasses 143,000 Russian websites and 40,000 publishers. Rambler Media, the majority owner of Begun, will buy the remaining stake in the company and in turn sell the entire company to Google. According to Rambler, the online search ads business in Russia is expected to grow by 50% in a year’s time. The acquisition will allow Google to expand its wings over the lucrative, Russian-speaking internet landmass.
If Sony Ericsson were capable of self-fulfilling prophecies, it would wish it could take back its ominous profit warning issued in late June. The company said it would break even in the second quarter due to disappointing European sales of its mid and high-end mobile phones, but even that turned out to be wishful thinking as Sony Ericsson on Friday posted a staggering 97 percent drop in Q2 profits. To help weather the financial storm and reduce operational costs, the mobile phone maker plans to cut 2,000 jobs "within the next 12 months."
Sony Ericsson only shipped 24.4 million units in Q2, compared to Nokia's 122 million handsets in the same period, who on Thursday announced better-than-expected earnings. Relief doesn't appear to be in sight either, as SE indicated "challenging market conditions" would remain through the rest of the year.
Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang has scored a major victory against corporate raider Carl Icahn ahead of the crucial board election on August 1. Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, who owns a 4.4% stake in the internet company, has vowed his allegiance to Jerry Yang and the current board. Bill Miller’s support is being inferred as a fatal blow for Icahn’s Microsoft-backed proxy war as analysts don’t expect any institutional investors – that hold a stake in Yahoo – to back the boardroom coup.
The only glimmer of hope for Icahn is Gordon Crawford, who controls a substantial 6.5% stake. Gordon has hinted that he can align with Icahn but remains undecided. Yang wants to leave nothing to chance and wants to finalize a deal with AOL before the upcoming board elections, however, the chances of the deal going through ere Aug 1 remain slim.
Ubuntu's Hardy Heron (8.04) operating system has been flapping its wings in full-release form since late April, and now the latest Linux distro lands on pre-configured Dell systems. This isn't the first time Dell has offered Linux as an OS option, but up until now, OEM shoppers looking for a Windows-alternative were stuck using Feisty Fawn (7.04), bugs and all.
So why the nearly three month-long delay? Dell claims it spent that time in development to ensure a smooth rollout with the new OS, as well as testing for peripheral support, including ATI graphics, fingerprint readers, HDMI, and other odds and ends. Linux support has increased leaps and bounds from the pre-Vista days, but the emergence into the mainstream segment has been a relatively recent development, so it comes as little surprise that pre-configured systems using the latest distro release wouldn't be as quick to market as a Windows PC.
Dell currently offers Ubuntu on its Inspiron 530N desktop, Inspiron 1525N laptop, and XPS M1330 laptop machines, and is expected to add its XPS M1530N and new Studio 15N laptops to the lineup by early August.
It was an offer that no sane iPhone owner in the U.S could refute. But alas, AT&T quickly sensed its folly and disowned its promise of free Wi-FI access for iPhone users across its network of more than 17,000 hotspots around the country. It had erroneously published a notice on its website apprising users that it was extending free Wi-Fi access to iPhone owners. The notice vanished from the company’s website after a terse stay that lasted for an hour between 8:30 a.m. PDT and 9:30 a.m. PDT.
Soon after, AT&T explained to Cnet that the announcement was a mistake. And so AT&T excused itself from the mistake that had the entire internet abuzz for a while. But AT&T has made quite a habit of erroneously promising free Wi-Fi access as, in May, it had similarly announced free Wi-Fi access for its Laptop Connect customers only to dismiss it as a mistake.
Forget about ultraportables and low powered laptops, and you can toss that MacBook Air into through the Wind. OCZ apparently wants nothing to do with current fads, and instead looks to appeal to the power user with a penchant for customization. And not just cursory customizations, but a full hands-on, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. That's the idea behind OCZ's DIY whitebook solutions, and with the release of Intel's Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform, the company has announced a new model taking aim at "the high end gamer."
DIY notebooks can still be considered an emerging market, and OCZ will have to fight against other OEMs offering high-end notebooks already assembled. But as Maximum PC readers are fully aware, building your own rig carries with it a certain intangible, and combined with a bevy of performance-minded options, OCZ hopes its gamble will pay off.
Builders going all out can choose Intel's Core 2 Extreme X9100 processor on a GM47 foundation, slap in up to 4GB of DDR3-1066, and even run two ATI M88XT videocards in Crossfire mode, or a single Nvidia 8800GTX. For those looking to live a little farther away from the performance edge (and save a few greenbacks in the process), OCZ's whitebook can be configured with integrated graphics and a processor with less punch, all the while remaining on Intel's Montevina platform.
If OCZ proves to be right in seeing a growing market for DIY notebooks, enthusiasts might soon find themselves asking that long debated question: Build or buy?
Social networking colossus MySpace has launched a Pan-Asian game development contest. Developers from China, India, Japan and Korea will square off against each other to develop the best social game. The contest stipulates that developers be legal residents of one of the four countries mentioned above and above the age of 18 years. And no development team should have more than three members. The contest will culminate at the Tokyo Game Show and the winning social game will be plastered all over MySpace after being translated into English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, besides that, cash and other prizes will be up for grabs. Registrations are open right now.
ReadWriteWeb.com is letting the world in on a secret, mainstream users can’t find the address bar. If you’ve ever done over the phone tech support you know this is true. They end up typing into a search engine, or a search engine bar, or into some piece of foul malware that wiggled into their browser. They will type anywhere but in the address bar.
What made ReadWriteWeb notice this trend was a report by Hitwise that showed more than 10% of the searches for the top 10 dating search terms were URLs like match.com and plentyoffish.com and almost all of the queries were something that .com could have been added to for direct navigation.
For competitors this isn’t such a bad thing. If you buy into Adwords your site can come up on a search for a competitor. For instance, type eHarmony on Google and the sponsor links come up with Match.com and LoveandSeek.com. Of course had they just tagged on the .com onto eHarmony in their address bar they would have gone straight there and never saw the links for the other sites.
Is it a bad thing for users? Not really. I make plenty of fat fingered typos and I hate landing on some misspelled domain that is brimming with malware. You avoid that altogether by searching. It is also human nature to take shortcuts. Users know they’ll get there whether they add the .com or not.
It’s not so hot for the companies that shelled out big bucks for the domain name. Domain names haven’t worked so hot since they came out and squatters snatched up as many as they could to sit on waiting for a huge offer. It’s led to some creative names for companies that desperately wanted their domain name to match their company name however.
IBM’s Q2 results paint an idyllic picture as the company not only surpassed financial pundits’ expectations but also defied the gloom that currently shrouds the US economy. The company reported sales worth $26.8 billion in the second quarter and announced a profit of $2.77 billion – up 22%. The better-than-predicted result prompted IBM to revise its financial guidance upwards and now expects to earn $8.75 per share this year. The company has developed a strong immunity against the economic downturn due to the highly consolidated nature of its business and global reach. Its IT service division that caters to disparate businesses remains sturdy as ever.