Tag: pc

Microsoft’s cunning anti-Apple plan is working

microsoft-surface-3-02Software King of the World Microsoft claims that its cunning plan to remove Apple’s from the high-end computer market, is working.

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that Microsoft’s business of licensing Windows out to PC manufacturers was up five percent last quarter,  accounting for both business and consumer PCs.

The outfit’s business of licensing Windows for the “non-pro” (as in, consumer) market had its own five percent growth last quarter, beating the overall shrinkage of the PC industry, “as our partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category”.

These “premium devices” are computers in the $900-plus price range which in the consumer market are those with more money than sense – Apple’s turf.

Microsoft’s PC partners spent the last several years focusing on low- to medium-priced computers and let Apple have that ground. After all it was not really worth the effort.

Microsoft changed all that with the Surface Book laptop in 2015, the company explicitly declared that those days were over, pitching it as a more powerful and versatile alternative to Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro.

There was also a market for laptop/tablet hybrids like the Surface Pro 4. Meanwhile there had been a slow rise of virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift – which requires a powerful gaming PC for the best results.

And what was the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult doing while Microsoft was staging its come-back? Well nothing really. In fact, it did not upgrade its hardware for four years.

When it did it stripped a lot of the functionality out of the MacPro making it useless for professionals.

Now Volehas  introduced the Surface Studio PC, a unique blend of tablet and desktop computer, competing with the Apple iMac. It is not cheap at $2,999, it’s reported to be selling better than even Microsoft’s most optimistic projections.

Windows 10 to lock when you move away

8746-dSoftware king of the world Microsoft has a wizard wheeze to hack off users.

Vole has thought that it would be much more secure if every time a user steps away from their machine, Windows 10 senses this and goes into lock down automatically.

The feature is labelled as Dynamic Lock and has started appearing in recent test builds of Windows 10. Vole has dubbed the software “Windows Goodbye” internally which might be a prediction more than a label.

Vole uses special Windows Hello cameras to let Windows 10 users log into a PC with just their face and big corporates want employees to use the winkey+L combination to lock machines when they’re idle.

The new feature will make it an automatic process and it is not clear how Microsoft detect inactivity, but it’s possible the company could use Windows Hello-compatible machines or detect idle activity and lock the machine accordingly.

Windows can already be configured to do this after a set time period, but Vole is streamlining this feature into a simple setting for anyone to enable. Microsoft is planning to deliver Dynamic Lock as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to arrive in April.

It might work in a corporate world although logging on and off each time you go to the loo is going get annoying quick. Supervisors often must get up for a moment to help their employees, logging on and off each time they do that is going to force them to lob their PC through the window.  But home users are up and about all the time.

To be fair all this will be redundant when the computer starts to recognise who you are and switches back on automatically. That tech is already there with Windows Hello.

Apple’s PC business bites the fruit of doom

poison-appleThe fruity cargo cult Apple has managed to ward off the downturn in the PC market for a while now – thanks mostly to its fanboys refusing to buy anything without an Apple logo.  However, all that has suddenly changed.

Apple shipped eight percent fewer Mac computers during the second quarter of 2016, compared with a year earlier, according to new estimates from two research firms.

What should be worrying Jobs’ Mob is that some of its bigger rivals managed to find growth in the PC business. So the concept that Apple will always have a market for its products is proving groundless.

Analysts estimate Apple shipped 4.4 million to 4.6 million Macs in the quarter ending June 30. True, they had a higher margin than other PCs in the market, but if a couple of fanboys refuse to buy a Mac then the figures take a bigger kicking.

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best, saying that that the whole of the PC market is suffering and it was wonderful that Apple saw off the inevitable for so long. However.

But HP, Dell and ASUS all increased their shipments during the last quarter, and benefited from a healthy US market. This is a bit weird given that is the same market which Apple is supposed to be doing well in.

Some of the problem is that Apple has basically ignored the Mac and not bothered to upgrade its MacBook Pro. Instead the company has been promoting its Surface Book clone so that it probably only has itself to blame.


PC sales continue to fall

elepantsCanalys analysts have been playing with their slide rules and worked out that PC sales have fallen 13 percent more than the previous year.

Total global PC shipments, including desktops, laptops, convertibles and tablets comprised 101 million units in the first quarter of 2016. This is the lowest total Canalys has recorded since the second quarter of 2011. Two in Ones did ok with a 13 percent growth but otherwise sales were weak.

Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst at Canalys said that shipments of two-in-ones and detachable tablets are expected to continue to do well in the US and will grow in high income markets.”

But that gear is too expensive to make much of an impact for a while.

“Although other vendors are coming to market with cheaper alternatives, they are unlikely to have a big impact on volumes in the short term.”

Tablet sales fell 15 percent compared to the previous year, Notebook shipments in EMEA plummeted 18 percent.

Canalys considers tablets as PCs.  Apple is the top vendor but not far ahead of Lenovo. Apple saw a fall of 17 percent  amounting to just over 14 million devices. Apple and Lenovo are effectively neck-and-neck which is a sign that any advantage Apple gained by popularising tablets has been lost to people who make the same thing better and cheaper.

All these figures tie to the recent Gartner figures for the first quarter of 2016, which showed a 9.6 percent drop compared to Q1 of 2015, with total shipments falling below 65 million units for the first time since 2007. That figure did not include tablets.

We all knew the market was rubbish but it does not seem like it is pulling out anytime soon.

Apple boss attacks the poor

ipadPhil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing has created a storm online after he attacked users who could not afford to buy PCs every five years as “sad”.

The comment was made at the Cupertino rally where Schiller said that more 600 million people are using PCs that are over five years old. “This is really sad.”

Of course this got a laugh from the audience of extremely rich folk who attended the rally. After all poor people are so funny when they can’t pay for overpriced hardware like rich folk.  But the comment went down like a bucket of cold sick among users of the live feed.  Who posted their anger on Twitter.

The Tame Apple Press rushed to defend Schiller saying that he was subtly digging at competitors while trying to show that the new iPad Pro is the ultimate PC replacement.

But the comment showed how out of touch Apple is with real people and underscored the privilege and lack of self-awareness of those who can afford to buy the hot new gadgets whenever they come on the market.

Five years is a long time for Apple users who are expected to upgrade every year even if they don’t need to. Apple’s MacBooks start at $1,299. The new iPad Pro starts at $599. You can buy older laptops with decent specs from resellers and on sites like eBay for less than $200.

It is not sad that people still use five year computers. It is incredibly sad that Apple think those users should be the butt of some joke.

Intel’s Data Centre business flounders

flounder-6001Chipmaker Intel cut revenue growth forecast for its highly profitable business of making chips for data centres claiming that businesses are reducing spending due to weak macroeconomic growth.

Intel has been counting on the data centre business to help offset declining demand for its chips used in PCs and it bought  Altera for $16.7 billion to help out.

Intel now expects data centre business to grow in “low double digits” in 2015, compared with its earlier forecast of about 15 percent growth.

Data centres are Chipzilla’s second biggest area and grew 19.2 percent in the first quarter, 9.7 percent in the second and 12 percent in the latest quarter.

Chief Executive Brian Krzanich insisted that the company was not “rethinking the long-term growth” of the business.

The weak data centre forecast took the shine off from the company’s better than expected profit and revenue in the third quarter.

The company also trimmed its 2015 capital expenditure for the third time to $7.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Intel had previously forecast capital expenditure of $7.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

The company said it expected fourth-quarter revenue of $14.8 billion, plus or minus $500 million. The midpoint of the range is a marginal increase from a year earlier. It’s into its pluses and minuses, that INTC

Intel said revenue from its PC business fell 7.5 percent to $8.51 billion in the third quarter ended September 26.

Intel’s net income fell to $3.11 billion from $3.32 billion last year.

Net revenue declined to $14.47 billion from $14.55 billion, but beat analysts’ estimate of $14.22 billion.

PC shipments fall further

elepantsIt looks like any hopes that Windows 10’s launch might improve PC sales have proven wrong and sales of PCs have dropped further.

Beancounters at market research firm Gartner have added up the numbers and divided by their shoe size and worked out that worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 7.7 percent to 73.7 million units in the third quarter as a stronger dollar made them costlier.

Across town another group of beancounters at IDC said shipments fell 10.8 percent to 71 million units.

Gartner also said the Windows 10 launch in the quarter had minimal impact on shipments as users chose to upgrade to Windows 10 on existing PCs.

Gartner said analysts “see some signs for future stabilization and growth” in the PC market. The firm said in July that it did not expect the global PC market to recover until 2016.

Jay Chou, research manager at IDC Worldwide PC Tracker said that the PC market continues to contract as expected, but he remained optimistic about future shipments.

While it is nice to see that someone is optimistic in these dark, cynical times, it is not as if the PC market could get much worse and it is hard to see what, short of a lightning bolt from Zeus is going to wake it up.

Intel regrets Broadwell fiasco

regretsIntel regrets not allowing its Broadwell technology onto the market and thinks that it might have helped cause the slowdown in the desktop market.

Intel’s head of its Client Computing Group, Kirk Skaugen, has said that by not launching Broadwell-based chips for desktops, the chip maker’s might have harmed its bottom line.

“We didn’t build a fifth-generation Core product for desktop towers. We made an experiment and we said ‘maybe we’re putting technology into the market too fast, let’s not build a chip for the mainstream tower business.”

Chipzilla thought that skipping the Broadwell for PCs helped the firm to save on costs in terms of research and development. It seemed to make sense at the time, but with hindsight it was fairly daft.

After the end of the Windows XP refresh, users had little or no incentive to upgrade their systems, so they didn’t.

Skaugen thought the move contributed to the slowdown in the desktop business this year. The unit volumes for the desktop processor dropped 16 per cent year over year for the first quarter of 2015 and 22 per cent in the second quarter.

Intel will go back to refreshing its desktop chip on a yearly basis. Intel will release a “Skylake Refresh” chips for the PCs later in 2016 and its next-generation Kaby Lake chip for tower desktops in 2016.

Asustek notebook shipments plummet

elepantsAsustek shipped just  4.3 million notebooks in the second quarter, down from 4.8 million units in the first quarter and 4.6 million units in the second quarter of 2014.

Still notebooks did better than Asustek’s desktop shipments which were were only 500,000 units, 100,000 units lower than a quarter ago.

The company wants to maintain its notebook shipments at above 20 million units a year and has been launching new notebooks such as ultra-thin high-spec ZenBooks, high price-performance ratio T100 series devices and its latest gaming models, looking to shore up demand.

Asustek expects its notebook shipments to rise back to 4.8 million units in the third quarter, while desktop shipments will also increase to 600,000 units.

By the end of 2017, Asustek’s revenues from mobile devices will eclipse PCs and its mobile device business’ profitability will also catch up with that of the PC, helping to reduce the company’s dependence on PC products.

Asustek’s ZenBook and gaming notebook series together contribute 20 per cent of the company’s overall revenues and the percentage is expected to continue to expand to help the two product lines become main profit contributors in the second half.

Tablet sales have fallen fast. Asustek shipped one million tablets in the second quarter, with the company’s tablet shipments in the first half totalling 2.5 million units. Last year it flogged 4.1 million units in the first half of last year.

This has not stopped Asustek being optimistic about tablets. It said that its third-quarter tablet shipments to rise to 1.8 million units with the launch of its ZenPad series. Asustek maintains its annual shipment goal of seven million tablets in 2015 and the business will achieve a break-even performance in the year.

Asustek is also pushing into the enterprise tablet market. The ZenPad series will mostly adopt Intel’s platforms. Meanwhile, the LTE-supported models will use Qualcomm chips.

Silicon Valley witch hits the spirits in your PC

samantha-stephens-bewitched-heart-necklaceA wiccan in Silicon Valley is doing a spellbinding trade offering to exorcise computers from evil spirits.

Reverend Joey Talley, because US pagans love to name themselves after Christian priests, earns $200 a hour removing infernalware from computers and smartphones.

According to SF Weekly, while you would think that most tech people would dismiss this as bollocks, they are actually experimental by nature, gravitating toward promises of an improved life through trial-and-error.

Apparently Talley is busy with work from big names like Salesforce, Facebook, and Apple.

“Most people want me to protect their computers from viruses and hacks. So I’ll make charms for them. I like to use flora. And when there are problems in office hardware I use a black stone that serves to block energy.”

In extreme cases, she casts protection spells of her own over the entire company. We guess that is in the case of companies who are so soaked in evil that it has evil deranged minions chanting outside their shop every time it launches a new product.

As for results. Tally cites a case of when a start-up’s office alarm would blare at all hours of the day, and no one knew why. After multiple electricians completely failed to solve the problem, the company called in Talley who diagnosed a “spirit” which she exercised.