During his Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference keynote on Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the company has now sold 400 million Windows 7 licenses to date. Microsoft’s current operating system was first launched in October 2009, and it was welcomed with open arms as customers were eager to dump Vista following its troubled introduction. Despite an impressive 20 months for Windows 7, it is still far from being the world’s most used operating system. Windows XP’s share was near double Windows 7’s in June, though Microsoft did confirm on Monday that it would stop supporting the operating system 1,000 days from now. According to Net Applications, Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was used on 27.13% of the world’s personal computing devices as of June 2011. Windows XP still ranked No. 1 with 51.13% and Vista occupied the No. 3 spot with 9.52%.
Taiwan-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute expects roughly 360 million combined personal computers and media tablets to ship in 2011, Taiwan Economic News reports. MIC sees PC shipments growing 6.6% over 2010 to land at more than 320 million units this year, and it thinks shipments of media tablets like Apple’s iPad 2ill w exceed 48 million units in 2011, up 198% from 2010. MIC senior industry analyst Chris Wei notes that the improving global economy and replacement PC purchases in the enterprise market would be largely responsible for this year’s growth. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf recently estimated that Apple would ship 30 million iPad tablets in 2011, but the company will likely far exceed that figure if tablet shipments are indeed to surpass 48 million units as MIC predicts. More →
Apple plans to ship more than 8 million MacBook Air computers in the third quarter of 2011, DigiTimes claims in a new report on Friday. The number represents more than twice the total number of Mac computers Apple shipped during its fiscal second quarter. DigiTimes‘ report cites sources within Apple’s supply chain in stating that combined MacBook production was ramped up to 2.2-2.4 million units in June, and Apple is expected to yield 2.7-2.8 million units in July. The Cupertino-based company is expected to release refreshed MacBook Air models ahead of the release of its new Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, and the notebooks should feature Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt I/O ports. The anticipated spec boost is expected to cause a surge in MacBook Air sales, but a target of 8 million units in a single quarter doesn’t seem terribly realistic; Apple shipped a total of 3.76 million Mac units in its March quarter, including its MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Pro lines. Unless Apple also plans to announce a drastic price reduction when it unveils its new MacBook Air PCs in the coming weeks, we don’t see the company coming anywhere close to shipping 8 million units next quarter. More →
According to Consumer Reports, Apple’s various lines of laptop computers are the best notebooks in the world. Recent rankings published by the popular nonprofit consumer product tester place Apple computers at the top of every relevant laptop category. Apple’s low-end MacBook Air topped competitive offerings from Dell and HP in the 11-inch category, and its computers took the top five spots in the 13-inch class — the 13-inch MacBook Air was No. 1, followed by three different configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and then Apple’s standard 13-inch MacBook. In the 15-inch category, various configurations of the MacBook Pro took the top three spots, and Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro beat out HP’s Pavillion and the Dell XPS for top billing in the 17-inch category. The only category Apple did not dominate was the 14-inch class, but Apple does not currently offer a 14-inch notebook. More →
HP on Monday unveiled a new service that will push the scope of its business wider still. The PC giant has just launched “DataPass,” a new prepaid nationwide cellular data service that will let HP add MVNO to its list of endeavors. The service will give owners of compatible HP laptops with embedded 3G connectivity (and other devices?) the option to purchase a variety of time-sensitive prepaid data packages that range from $5 for 75MB of data good for only five hours, to $30 for 1GB of data to be used within 30 days of purchase. Other options include $10 for 150MB to be used within three days, and $20 for 450MB to be used within two weeks. DataPass uses Sprint spectrum that HP licensed specifically for the service, so expect coverage to be in line with Sprint’s nationwide network. More →
A survey conducted recently by Google-owned AdMob found that tablets are eating into the quality time U.S. consumers spend with their desktop and laptop PCs — and the majority of tablet owners might not use their devices the way many pundits believe. A survey of 1,430 tablet owners in the U.S. conducted March of this year suggests that the most popular use for tablets at this point could be gaming. An overwhelming 84% of respondents said they use their tablets for playing games of some type, while 78% said they searched for information on their tablets and 74% said they used email. Another indication tablets could be as disruptive as many analysts believe is the fact that 43% of those surveyed said they use their tablets more than than their desktop or laptop computers, and 33% said they spent more time with their tablet than they spend watching television. 77% of respondents said their use of traditional computers has decreased since buying a tablet, and 28% said the tablet is now their primary computer. More →
Acer appears to have taken company founder and former CEO Stan Shih’s recent advice quite seriously. Late last month following news that Acer had lowered its guidance for the first quarter of 2011, Shih said Acer needed to overhaul its business if it hoped to remain competitive. He also noted that Acer should focus on improving its profit margin rather than becoming a leader in the PC market by shipment volume, as had been the company’s goal. Just two days later, Acer announced that its CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, was resigning from the company. Now, Acer’s interim CEO J. T. Wang said on Thursday that the company will indeed shift its focus away from shipment volume and will instead spend more time and money on research and development in an effort to deliver value and innovation to consumers. As an example, Wang said that Windows 8 and its support for ARM-based platforms would provide opportunities for new netbook and notebook designs. Wang also noted that while tablet sales will have an impact on sales of traditional computers, the devices’ impact on the market will not be dramatic enough to “kill” notebook computers or netbooks. More →
Acer founder Stan Shih on Tuesday said the company needs to overhaul its operations in order to stay competitive with the changing market. Shih’s comments, which were made at a National Culture and Arts Foundation event in Taiwan, were a response to news that Acer had lowered its first-quarter guidance. Acer said that declining demand in the U.S. and Europe due to the rapid growth of the consumer tablet market would result in a 10% drop in sales for the first quarter. Shih believes that Acer should overhaul its operations and focus on increasing profit margins rather than becoming a leader in the global PC market. Acer noted on Tuesday that its net profit margin is expected to drop below 2% in the first quarter from 2.93% in the previous quarter. Shih, who retired from his role as head of Acer in 2004 after founding the company in 1976 and building it into the largest computer company in Taiwan, said significant overhauls are commonplace at Acer. The company founder said that in the past, Acer has undergone an overhaul every 10 years or so in an effort to adapt to changes in the global market. More →
Market research firm IMS Research on Tuesday said the growing market for tablets and eReaders will continue to have a significant impact on portable PC sales this year. The report shows that the 2010 holiday season capped off a massive fourth quarter for tablets and eReaders. eReader shipments in the quarter were up 90% over the third quarter and 116% year-over-year to 5.1 million units, with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK the biggest winners. Led by Apple’s iPad, tablet shipments were even more impressive in the fourth quarter. The tablet market grew 124% in the quarter, with 9.4 million units shipped. Apple led the market with a 78% share, followed by Samsung. This impressive performance only represented 8% of the portable PC market in 2010, however, but IMS foresees a tablet explosion this year. The firm predicts tablet shipments will grow 242% to 58 million units in 2011, which will account for 23% of the portable PC market. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Shares of Acer stock were down nearly 7% on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Tuesday on news that the PC manufacturer had unexpectedly and significantly lowered it’s first-quarter sales estimates. The PC maker had previously estimated its first-quarter PC sales would grow 3% from the previous quarter. Now, Acer has adjusted its forecast, saying it expects sales to drop 10% compared to the prior quarter. Asustek, an Acer competitor, is also struggling with similar sales declines in the first quarter. Acer cites weakened demand in the U.S. and Western Europe for the drop off in sales. The emerging tablet market lead by Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 devices is also seen as largely contributing to the decline in PC sales. Acer expects its net profit margin to drop below 2% in the first quarter from 2.93% in the previous quarter, though it predicts that second-quarter PC shipments will reverse the downward trend, growing by 10% over first-quarter sales. More →
We’re all settled in at the Samsung experience store in the Time Warner Center ready for the event to start. What’s Samsung going to announce today? TVs? Laptops? Smartphones? Refrigerators? We’ll see soon enough, ladies and gentleman. Hit the jump to read our live coverage.
A new rumor suggests HP may have considered selling its PC business, with Samsung lined up as the most likely buyer. The report comes from DigiTimes and is sourced from an article in the Chinese financial paper Commercial Times. DigiTimes claims that rumors to this effect have been circulating in Taiwan since last year, however, and suggests that a sale is no longer on the table. Citing sources from upstream component makers, the report claims “the deal was called off due to an unknown reason, and there has not been any follow up since then.” The original report also noted that Lenovo was a possible buyer and even suggests Foxconn might have shown interest in the business. HP has aggressive plans to include webOS on every PC it sells beginning next year. With such an incredible in-road to users, it would seem odd for HP to even briefly consider selling off its PC business.
UPDATE: HP issued the following statement on Thursday regarding the Commercial Times report: “Irresponsible reporting by Taiwan’s Commercial Times, suggesting that HP might sell its PC business, should be dismissed as market rumor and speculation. HP runs the world’s largest PC business and it is core to HP’s strategy for the connected world.”
It looks like Apple is working behind the scenes to update its online web-store. The Cupertino company is expected to unleash updates to its 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch MacBook Pro models. Speculated improvements include faster Intel Core i3 and i7 processors, an Intel Light Peak (Thunderbolt) high-speed I/O port, an “HD” Facetime webcam, and an SDXC card slot. We’ll know soon enough… sit tight. More →