Tablets Responsible for Slow in PC Sales

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A 4.9 percent decline in global PC sales during the fourth quarter of 2012 can be blamed on one thing: the growing popularity of tablets, a new report has found.

Worldwide PC sales dipped significantly from the fourth quarter in 2011 to the fourth quarter of last year, according to a report by Gartner, Inc. Analysts. In 2012, 90.3 million units were shipped.

“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a press release.

Consumers are increasingly shifting to tablets for personal use and are performing creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC, the Gartner report said, adding it is unlikely buyers will replace older secondary PCs in their homes.

“This transformation was triggered by the availability of compelling low-cost tablets in 2012, and will continue until the installed base of PCs declines to accommodate tablets as the primary consumption device,” Kitagawa said. “On the positive side for vendors, the disenfranchised PCs are those with lighter configurations, which mean that we should see an increase in PC average selling prices (ASPs) as users replace machines used for richer applications, rather than for consumption.”

Tablets and Smartphones have also usurped PCs as the technological Christmas gifts of choice. And while there was uptake of affordably-priced notebooks as a part of mega holiday deals, it did  little to boost holiday PC sales, analysts said.

The launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 also has had little impact on PC shipments thus far.

“PC vendors offered somewhat lackluster form factors in their Windows 8 offerings and missed the excitement of touch,” the press release said. “New products are coming to market, and this could drive churn within the installed base.”

HP regained the top spot in global PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company’s shipments did not grow compared to 2011. Lenovo dropped to the No. 2 position, but experienced the best growth rate (8.2 percent) among the top five PC vendors worldwide.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q12 (Units)

Company

4Q12 Shipments

4Q12 Market Share (%)

4Q11 Shipments

4Q11 Market Share (%)

4Q12-4Q11 Growth (%)

HP

14,645,041

16.2

14,711,280

15.5

-0.5

Lenovo

13,976,668

15.5

12,915,766

13.6

8.2

Dell

9,206,391

10.2

11,633,387

12.2

-20.9

Acer Group

8,622,701

9.5

9,690,624

10.2

-11.0

ASUS

6,528,228

7.2

6,133,042

6.5

6.4

Others

37,393,913

41.4

39,934,184

42.0

-6.4

Total

90,372,942

100.0

95,018,284

100.0

-4.9

PC shipments reached 352.7 million units last year, a 3.5 percent decline from 2011 (as seen below). HP retained the top spot in the global PC market, accounting for 16 percent of the market. Lenovo was the No. 2 vendor with 14.8 percent market share while Asus showed the strongest growth among the top five vendors, with shipments increasing 17.1 percent.

Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2012 (Units)

Company

2012 Shipments

2012 Market Share (%)

2011 Shipments

2011 Market Share (%)

2012-2011 Growth (%)

HP

56,508,218

16.0

60,553,740

16.6

-6.7

Lenovo

52,159,229

14.8

45,688,493

12.5

14.2

Dell

37,611,747

10.7

42,864,265

11.7

-12.3

Acer Group

36,661,066

10.4

39,282,791

10.8

-6.7

ASUS

24,206,696

6.9

20,678,302

5.7

17.1

Others

145,554,478

41.3

156,278,584

42.8

-6.9

Total

352,701,433

100.0

365,364,175

100.0

-3.5

 

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Tablets Responsible for Slow in PC Sales

Reduced iPhone 5 Order Rumor Sends Apple Shares Below $500

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Reports that Apple has slashed its iPhone 5 orders were reflected in Apple’s plummeting stock Jan. 14.

Investors were reacting to reports by The Wall Street Journal and Nikkei that the company has significantly cut back on iPhone 5 component orders due to weak demand. Shares of Apple stock dipped below $500 in early trading Monday morning.

Rumors are circulating that the company has cut “roughly half” of its orders for the four-inch display of its latest Smartphone as well as for other components. The cut back, thus far, is only for in the current quarter, which ends in March.

Apple is to announce its earnings for the recently concluded December quarter next week. The company’s holiday sales — especially for the iPhone 5 — are expected to be at the $50 million mark.

One analyst says the Apple hysteria is unnecessary.

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said in an investor note Dec. 20 that although reports have pointed to a 20 percent drop in Apple’s March-quarter supply chain orders for the iPhone 5, he believes there is a reasonable explanation and other analysts are panicking for no reason.

“Downshifting from ‘white hot’ order activity does not mean the world is ending,” Moskowitz is quoted by CNet.

It is likely Apple pushed its suppliers in the beginning to increase manufacturing of the new phone, and the downshift in orders is simply an aftereffect, he said.

“We also think that the supply chain adjustments could imply that manufacturing yields on iPhone 5 have improved, which means Apple’s gross margin profile could rebound to 40 percent, which would be a positive,” Moskowitz said.

That would support Apple’s assertions its initial deterioration of profits is due to the start up of several major products, all of which needed sizeable startup production investments, according to the CNet report.

Some analysts say Apple needs to come out with some popular products next year to keep the company from floundering. Moskowitz, however, believes Apple’s present slate of products, the iPhone 5 in particular will do well for the company.

“We acknowledge the increasing level of competition in the market, including Samsung, Google, HTC, and Lenovo,” Moskowitz said. “Overall, we continue to believe that Apple can deliver a 12-18 month upgrade cycle with the iPhone 5. The new device is not a pocket hog or battery hog, relative to other competitive LTE-capable devices. Further, the iPhone 5′s LTE performance separates the device from the iPhone 4S, which means that a meaningful upgrade cycle in the installed base stands to manifest in the coming year.”

According to CNet, Moskowitz anticipates Apple will sell 45 million iPhones in the coming quarter.

 

 

 

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Reduced iPhone 5 Order Rumor Sends Apple Shares Below $500

Mobile Ad Gains will Cost Facebook Billions: Analyst

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Facebook can expect to shell out about $2 billion a year for its future mobile ad campaigns, predicts a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group.

Despite the mobile gains the social network made in the latter half of 2012 and the resulting investor confidence that drove the firm’s stock above the $30 mark last week, Brian Wieser, in a research note, lowered his rating on the company from “buy” to “hold.”

He said the stock “had a good run to back up this value, leading to the change in recommendation.”

Facebook’s stock has enjoyed a remarkable rise from less than $18 per share in September to its current value of about $32, thanks to the company’s $150 million in mobile profits in the third quarter — a jump of about $140 million from the previous quarter.

Wieser is predicting Facebook’s mobile ad division will produce $1 billion in revenue this year, adding mobile advertising looks auspicious for the social media site in the short-term.

The problem, the note indicated, is the elevated costs connected to this type of advertising. For instance such campaigns tend to be more labor-intensive than conventional Web campaigns. If the social network’s growth in mobile is due to an increase in mobile campaigns, which would include mobile apps, that could translate into lesser profits and lower CPMs.

“Even if CPMs were higher, the absolute volume of impressions delivered will be much lower than on the desktop,” Wieser said.

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said in October Facebook is pushing so hard to make money, user backlash could weaken its stock value.

Greenfield said Facebook’s “aggressive” drive to increase revenue would eventually backfire.

“In the face of drastically slowing payments revenues and falling investor sentiment and employee morale, it feels like Facebook is pushing advertising monetization harder than they should be, which we believe will harm user engagement in 2013 and beyond,” Greenfield wrote on his blog.

Greenfield was correct in his prediction that Facebook would report higher third-quarter ad revenues. He added, however, that mobile ads would take up more space on screens, annoying users and raising the chances of accidental clicks.

Greenfield slashed his 2013 revenue forecast to $5.6 billion from $5.9 billion.

 

 

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Mobile Ad Gains will Cost Facebook Billions: Analyst

Technology News Briefs — Jan. 15, 2013

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Google Launches Digital Coupon Service

Google has launched a digital coupon service that allows U.S. retail stores and manufacturers to reward loyal customers with coupons.

Dubbed Zavers, the initiative ensures customers receive coupons that are relevant to them “so dog owners don’t get cat food coupons and parents of teenagers don’t get diaper coupons,” Google Commerce director of emerging platforms Spencer Spinnell wrote in a blog post.

Zavers offers real-time data so manufacturers can better measure coupon redemptions and analyze consumer preferences. This allows users of Zavers to better manage distribution, tailor campaigns and optimize budgets for maximum ROI, Spinnell said.

“With Zavers, shoppers find manufacturer discounts on their favorite retailer websites, and save the digital coupons to their accounts,” Spinnell said. “Then they simply shop for those products and check out as usual. Redemption occurs in real time, with savings automatically deducted at checkout when shoppers provide their rewards cards or phone numbers—no scanning or sorting necessary. Manufacturers only pay when a product is moved off the shelf.”

Zavers has recently partnered with New York’s Original Grocer, D’Agostino and expects to announce partnerships with a number of other major retailers in the coming months.

Samsung Axes U.S. Launch of Windows RT-Run Ativ Tab

Samsung has axed its plans to launch its Ativ Tab based on Windows RT in the U.S.

The decision is based on demand, or lack thereof to be precise.

Retailers’ interest in Windows RT is only “modest,” Samsung senior vice-president Mike Abary told CNet.

Windows RT is an offshoot of Windows 8 designed mainly for portable systems.

“When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was,” Abary said. “And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment.”

Abary said customers could be confused by the OS, which can only run software preinstalled by Microsoft or apps downloaded from the Windows Store.

Abary said Samsung may still launch the tablet in some international markets.

Samsung’s decision is bad news for Microsoft, which also entered the tablet market last fall with its Surface RT.

RIM Garners 15,000-Plus Apps Over Weekend

Developers submitted more than 15,000 apps to Research In Motion for its BlackBerry 10 during two events the Canadian company ran over the weekend.

Vice-president of developer relations Alec Saunders said the two Portathons — with one geared toward the BlackBerry 10 developers and the other toward Android developers — were a success.

“Well there you have it. 37.5 hours in, we hit 15,000 apps for this portathon. Feel like I’ve run a marathon. Thanks to all the devs,” Saunders tweeted.

Developers were urged to port their previously developed applications to BlackBerry 10 with the promise RIM will reward $100 for each approved app.

 

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Technology News Briefs — Jan. 15, 2013