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Soft PC Shipments in Fourth Quarter Lead to Annual Decline as HP Holds Onto Top Spot

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), down 6.4% compared to the same quarter in 2011 and worse than the forecasted decline of 4.4%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Although the quarter marked the beginning of a new stage in the PC industry with the launch of Windows 8, its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes. As a result, the fourth quarter of 2012 marked the first time in more than five years that the PC market has seen a year-on-year decline during the holiday season.

The lackluster fourth quarter results were not entirely surprising given the spate of challenges the PC market faced over the course of 2012. IDC had expected the second half of 2012 to be difficult. Consumers as well as PC vendors and distribution channels continued to be diverted from PC sales by ongoing demand for tablets and smartphones. In addition, questions about the use of touch on Windows PCs vs. tablets slowed commercial spending on PCs.

IDC Forecasts Worldwide Semiconductor Revenues Will Reach $319 Billion in 2013

Semiconductor revenues worldwide will see nominal growth this year at less than 1% reaching $304 billion according to the year-end 2012 update of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Semiconductor Applications Forecaster (SAF). The SAF also forecasts that semiconductor revenues will improve by 4.9% to $319 billion in 2013 and log a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% from 2011-2016, reaching $368 billion in 2016.

Weakness in PC demand, DRAM and overall memory price deterioration, and semiconductor inventory rationalization, coupled with continued global macroeconomic uncertainty from lower global GDP growth, a slowdown in China, the Eurozone debt crisis and recession, Japan's recession, and ongoing fear of fiscal cliff negotiations' impact on IT spending by corporations have all been levers affecting global semiconductor demand this year. Bright spots for the semiconductor market include smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and automotive electronics, which IDC expects will continue to be key drivers of growth over the coming years.

Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Maintain Steady Growth in Third Quarter: IDC

Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues posted year-over-year growth of 3.3%, totaling just over $5.9 billion, in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker. For the quarter, the total disk storage systems market posted just under $7.9 billion in revenues, representing 3.7% growth from the prior year's third quarter. Total disk storage systems capacity shipped reach 7,104 petabytes, growing 24.4% year over year.

"The external disk storage system market continues to exhibit steady growth, posting solid third quarter factory revenues of just over $5.9 billion," said Liz Conner, senior research analyst, Storage Systems. "End users continue to invest in storage infrastructures despite persistent concerns surrounding global and regional economies. Helping to drive the worldwide market in the third quarter was the double-digit growth in multi-protocol storage architecture and strong demand for upper mid-range and high-end storage."

Worldwide WLAN Market Growth Continues Unabated in Third Quarter of 2012: IDC

The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments experienced year-over-year growth of 14.6% in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). According to the 3Q12 results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, the enterprise segment continued on its path of torrid growth with an impressive 24.0% increase over the same period last year. This was the sixth quarter in a row with annual growth in access of 20%.

"While the growth in the third quarter was marginally slower than what we have seen in the last couple of years, it was still a stellar quarter by any standards for the enterprise WLAN market," said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, at IDC. "Almost all major and emerging vendors contributed to this strong performance of the enterprise WLAN segment in the third quarter, a period that was highlighted by two significant events: the IPO of Ruckus Wireless, and the acquisition of cloud-networking start-up Meraki by market leader Cisco."

IDC's Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker Shows Declines in Both Markets

The worldwide Ethernet switch market reached $5.36 billion in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), representing a 4.4% year-over-year decline compared to the very strong 3Q11. Meanwhile, the worldwide router market declined 0.2% year over year in 3Q12, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker.

The 3Q12 results also show that the Ethernet switch market increased in the mid to high single digit range, year over year, in Latin America, Japan, Central & Eastern Europe, and Middle East & Africa (MEA). On the other hand, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) was down overall with the market declining 3.5% year over year, whereas the U.S. declined 6.4% and Western Europe decreased more significantly just over 10% year over year in 3Q12.

Worldwide Server Market Revenues Decline 4.0% in Q3

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market decreased 4.0% year over year to $12.2 billion in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). This is the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue decline, as server market demand continued to soften following a strong refresh cycle that characterized the market in most of 2010 and 2011. After declining in 2Q12, server unit shipments increased 0.6% year over year in 3Q12 to 2.1 million units. This was the 11th time in the past 12 quarters that server units have grown on a year-over-year basis.

On a year-over-year basis, volume systems experienced a 0.5% revenue decline. At the same time, demand for midrange and high-end systems experienced year-over-year revenue declines of 14.0% and 8.9% respectively in 3Q12. All three segments were impacted by difficult year-over-year compares combined with transitions in the technology refresh cycles.

Cray Unveils the Cray XC30 Supercomputer

Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced the launch of the Company's next generation high-end supercomputing systems -- the Cray XC30 supercomputer. Previously code-named "Cascade," the Cray XC30 supercomputer is the Company's most-advanced high performance computing system ever built. The Cray XC30 combines the new Aries interconnect, Intel Xeon processors, Cray's powerful and fully-integrated software environment, and innovative power and cooling technologies to create a production supercomputer that is designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops.

SanDisk Celebrates Flash Memory's 25-Year Anniversary

SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today marked the 25-year anniversary of flash memory, the transformational technology used by billions of consumers and countless businesses in smartphones, tablets, ultra-thin laptops, data centers and other electronic devices.

Companies such as SanDisk have increased the capacity of flash memory by 30,000 times while decreasing its cost by 50,000 times over the past two decades. SanDisk’s first product, a 20 megabyte solid state drive (SSD), sold for $1,000 in 1991 but would cost only two cents today. This efficiency has driven the wide adoption of flash memory and enabled the smart digital lifestyle of anywhere, anytime access to digital content. Flash memory fuels the three forces behind this trend – mobile computing, pervasive connectivity and the proliferation of digital content.

Dell Completes Acquisition of Cloud Client Computing Leader Wyse Technology

Dell today announced it has completed its acquisition of Wyse Technology, the global leader in cloud client computing. The combination of Wyse’s capabilities with Dell’s existing desktop virtualization offerings position the company as the leader in the desktop virtualization, enabling it to offer true end-to-end IT solutions for customers and partners.

Dell has made significant strategic investments over the past three years to expand its enterprise technology and services capabilities. The Dell Wyse portfolio with current Dell desktop virtualization offerings, leading data center products such as servers and storage, and Dell’s services division, provides customers and partners with a single vendor that can match the full range of their cloud computing and desktop virtualization needs.

PC Market Returns To Positive Growth, Though Gains Remain Small, According to IDC

The worldwide PC market saw a slight increase in volume during the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) compared to the same quarter in 2011, with shipments rising 2.3%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results are slightly above IDC's February projections of a 0.9% year-on-year decline due to hard disk drive (HDD) supply constraints in addition to weak economic conditions, competition from other devices, and uncertainty about Windows 8.

HDD supply remained a key constraint through most of the first quarter, although PC makers generally had better access to drives than customers in the retail and distribution channels. As a result, large PC vendors were able to maintain shipments by managing inventory or absorbing price increases, while the impact to shipments from smaller PC makers was in line with expectations.

IDC Forecasts Hard Disk Drive Industry Will Return to Growth After a Difficult 2011

In the wake of two massive and tragic natural disasters, worldwide hard disk drive (HDD) unit shipments experienced a year-over-year decline of 4.5% in 2011. Although efforts to clean and repair flooded factory buildings and equipment will take most of the first half of 2012, HDD and HDD component production is expected to return to preflood output levels in the second half of this year. According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the HDD industry will record year-over-year unit shipment growth of 7.7% in 2012 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% for the 2011-2016 forecast period.

Due to the imbalance in supply and demand that resulted from the Thailand floods, HDD prices have moved higher in recent months. HDD vendors are taking advantage of this opportunity to reset prices and recover some of the excessive price erosion that began in 2009. IDC expects year-over-year HDD revenue growth to exceed shipment growth in 2012, a precedent for the industry. Assuming the industry is successful with hybrid solid state hard drives (hybrid SSHDs), industry revenue could approach $50 billion by 2016 with a 2011-2016 CAGR of 8.6%.

Nearly 1 Billion Smart Connected Devices Shipped in 2011, According to IDC

The universe of smart connected devices, including PCs, media tablets, and smartphones, saw shipments of more than 916 million units and revenues surpassing $489 billion dollars in 2011, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). These numbers reflect the combined total from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, Mobile Phone Tracker, and Media Tablet Tracker.

"Whether it's consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust 'app' ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school's computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual's life," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays at IDC.

HPC Server Market Delivers Record Revenues and 8.4% Growth in 2011

Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market increased by 8.4% in full-year 2011 to reach a record $10.3 billion, up from $9.5 billion in 2010, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView. The 2011 results exceeded IDC's forecast of 7.2% year-over-year revenue growth.

Unit shipments in 2011 declined 6.9% year over year as average selling prices grew, indicating a continued shift to large system sales. IBM and HP ended the year in a statistical tie for leadership with 32.6% and 32.1% of overall factory revenue market share, respectively. (Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide server market when there is less than one percent difference in the factory revenues of two or more vendors.)

PC Shipments to Have Strong Second Half of 2012, Single Digit Growth to Follow

Worldwide PC shipment growth for 2011 ended on a slightly positive note, growing to 1.8% on the year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. While the first half of 2012 is expected to see only modest shipment growth, the launch of Windows 8 and the excitement generated by ultrabooks and other ultra-thin notebooks should drive second half sales in a much stronger way.

For much of 2011, vendors struggled to maintain consumer interest in a market beset by a tenuous economic recovery and disrupted by emerging computing devices. The lack of interest was evidenced by a lackluster Christmas season. Mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe, in particular, had a rough year, with PC shipments in 2011 shrinking by 9% compared to 2010.

Worldwide PC Microprocessor Revenues in 2011 Rise 13.2% Compared to 2010

Worldwide PC microprocessor revenues in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011 (4Q11) rose to $10.9 billion, up 1.8% compared to 3Q11 and up 14.2% compared to 4Q10, according to the latest PC microprocessor market share study from International Data Corporation (IDC). For the year 2011 compared to 2010, PC microprocessor revenues rose 13.2% to more than $41 billion.

"The average selling price (ASP) that OEMs pay for PC microprocessors rose more than 9% in 2011, making 2011 the second consecutive year of notable ASP increases," said Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC.

Looking at processor unit shipments in 2011 compared to 2010, overall shipments grew 3.6%. By form factor, mobile PC processor unit shipments grew 3.9% in 2011, while x86 server processor unit shipments grew 9.0%, and desktop processor unit shipments grew 2.7%.

IDC: Worldwide Server Market Revenues Increase 5.8% in 2011

According to the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market decreased 7.2% year over year to $14.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 (4Q11). This was the first quarterly decline in factory revenue in two years. Worldwide server shipments increased 2.0% to 2.2 million units in 4Q11 when compared with the year-ago period.

For the full year 2011, worldwide server revenue increased 5.8% to $52.3 billion when compared to 2010, while worldwide unit shipments increased 4.2% to 8.3 million units.

On a year-over-year basis, all three classes of servers experienced decreased factory revenue totals in the fourth quarter. Volume systems experienced a 2.0% year-over-year factory revenue decline to $8.8 billion, while midrange revenue decreased 4.6% to $1.8 billion when compared to 4Q10. Additionally, high-end system revenue declined 18.4% to $3.7 billion in the quarter. This is the first time all three server classes have experienced year-over-year declines in revenue since the third quarter of 2009.

PC market slips 0.2% in Q4 2011, Lenovo gaining on HP

Hit by hard drive shortages and slow economic conditions, the PC market has ended 2011 on a rather low note, with preliminary data from research firm IDC showing that PC sales in Q4 were of 92.7 million units, down 0.2% on-year. Despite the Q4 drop, the PC market still managed a decent result for the whole year, recording a 1.6% increase in shipments compared to 2010.

Back to the Q4 data though, we see HP maintaining its top position with 15.1 million shipped units and a market share of 16.31%. It's worth noting that, while it's still top dog, HP actually experienced a 15.93% drop in shipments compared to the same period of 2010. On second place, inching closer to HP is Lenovo, with a 14.04% share (the company managed a 36% growth over Q4 of 2010) while on third we find Dell securing 12.91% of the market.

SOPA-like Legislation Mulled in Spain

The Spanish cabinet has approved a new legislation similar to America's Stop Online-Piracy Act (SOPA), designed to bring down websites facilitating copyright infringement in 10 days flat thanks to a streamlined due-process. Named after former Spanish culture minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, the legislation will be called the "Sinde Law", the legislation proposes a mechanism with which copyright holders have the ability to report websites hosting copyrighted content (direct downloads), or facilitating copyright infringement (bit-torrent tracker sites), to a commission dedicated to hearing such complaints. This body decides if it wants to act against the infringing website or the ISPs providing infrastructure to it. A case will then be passed to a judge to rule on whether the site should be shut down.

The bill is being drafted in a way that ensures the process from complaint to action/dismissal happens within a time-frame of 10 working days. The Spanish Government says that it is high time the country had such a legislation, because rampant copyright infringement is stifling innovation and creativity. A report by market-intelligence firm IDC says that 97.8% of music consumption in Spain was illegal. Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the objective of this legislation is "to safeguard intellectual property, boost [Spanish] culture industries and protect the rights of owners, creators and others in the face of the lucrative plundering of illegal downloading sites." The legislation is welcomed by the creative industries, and criticized by net activists.Source: BBC

HDD Shortage To Go On And On And On

The recent Thailand floods appear to be taking a bigger toll than expected, with the effects of the shortages to be felt all the way into 2013, according to market research firm IDC. This isn't helped by the fact that the largest manufacturer of HDDs, Western Digital, was hit the hardest. As the situation is so volatile, companies such as HP, Dell & Lenovo are keeping watch on the market daily and are even sometimes having to accept drives of a lower spec if they are to ship some systems at all. As expected, the retail purchaser of hard disk drives comes bottom of the allocation list. IDCs John Rydning said in a statement: "I think the most painful period will occur now through February of next year. We expect the situation will improve, but it won't feel as if things are back to normal until 2013". There's more detail and analysis over at Network World.

Windows 8 'Irrelevant' For PC Users

Well, it looks like the Windows 8 flagship feature, the Metro interface, isn't going down too well with PC users, according to leading market research firm International Data Corp. On top of that, there aren't really any killer improvements in the operating system that make shelling out for a new version compelling. The Metro interface, while suited to a smartphone or tablet, really doesn't do anything for a desktop PC, because it's operation is very restrictive compared to the standard desktop that's been around for over 15 years on Windows and is now a very refined and sophisticated user interface. Also, the fact that many organizations have only recently migrated to Windows 7 and are not looking to spend money in the current economic climate and go through the pains of another upgrade cycle again isn't helping. The poor economy looks like it will hamper sales of Windows 8 on its target devices, tablets, too. Finally, IDC said: "(T)here will be intense scrutiny on Microsoft’s ability to deliver a successful tablet experience aboard both x86-based tablets and on devices running ARM processors. This is a tall order for Microsoft, and while the x86 tablet strategy makes sense as a transitional solution for today’s PC users, it will be the ARM-based devices that need to shine and clear a high bar already set by Apple."

Sources: xbit labs, zdnet

Thailand Floods: HDD Prices To Remain Extortionately High As Supplies Get Tighter

The recent dreadful flooding in Thailand has forced the closure of several hard drive factories. The immediate concerns of course, are for the health and wellbeing of the people living and working in the area. The wider concern is the severe restriction in hard drive manufacturing capacity. Already, prices have doubled or tripled, depending on the exact model affected. The biggest HD manufacturer, Western Digital, has been hit the hardest, as IDC predicts that up to 75% of its production will be shut down. This means, that the big corporate HDD customers, those like HP and Dell, who build computer systems in large volumes, will get whatever inventory is available to fully satisfy their needs. Whatever is left is then sold on to the retail channel, for ordinary consumers to buy. IDC believes that hard disk production will reach pre-flood levels by around March, but that HDD levels by then will be very low. The prices should go through the roof then, in the meantime. As expected, this will also increase the prices of complete systems, as such a price hike is too much to absorb fully.Source: Network World
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