Who is the biggest mobo maker of the year

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2014 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: asus, gigabyte, sales, motherboards

If you prefer to talk about the sheer number of sales then ASUS is on track to take top spot with roughly 22 million units sold over 2014, a jump of over just 1 million from last year and 2 more than Gigabyte's predicted sales of 20 million units.  ASUS will also hold on to the most profit this year, Gigabyte is expected to match last year's profit of about 97 million USD which falls short of ASUS' expected 130 million USD but that is not the whole story.  Last year ASUS closed out with over 160 million USD profit which shows a significant decline in their profitability during the same period that Gigabyte's profitability remained the same.  DigiTimes reports this as being due to increased spending by ASUS on marketing and price cuts on their motherboards.  Is it possible that ASUS' once insurmountable lead in the motherboard market could be a thing of the past?

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"Asustek Computer's motherboard shipments returned to six million units in the third quarter thanks to its aggressive price-cutting strategy, which helped the vendor slightly widen the gap with its major competitors Gigabyte Technology, according to sources from the motherboard industry. However, despite the fact that Asustek is estimated to ship more motherboards than Gigabyte in 2014, its profit growth may perform weaker than Gigabyte's."

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Source: DigiTimes

Traditional PC shipments continue their steep decline

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: sales, pc sales, market share

The PC market has eroded over the past few years to the point where sales are only slightly above what they were in 2008, roughly 300 million sales.  Even more worrisome for vendors is the predicted 10.1% decline predicted for the overall sales in 2013.  DigiTimes cites a lack of reasons to upgrade being a root cause and to an extent that makes sense, a first generation i5 laptop will still compete with a current generation laptop with an equivalent Haswell model.  Another reason is the changing market, with tablets and phones providing good enough connectivity for many who previously would have had to purchase a 'traditional' computer.  Commercial sales are not declining as quickly yet but that could change with the spread of the BYOD disease.

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"Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 10.1% in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of 9.7%, and by far the most severe yearly contraction on record, according to IDC. Interest in PCs has remained limited, leading to little indication of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems. Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional 3.8% in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term."

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Source: DigiTimes

People prefer the small chips to the big ones

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2013 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: amd, Intel, arm, sales

Chips are hot this year, an increase in sales volume of 27% in Q1, 24% in Q2 and similar growth is expected over the coming year.  Unfortunately for AMD and Intel most of these chips are in mobile devices, a market which neither company has leveraged successfully as of yet; PC chip sales have declined steadily over the previous quarters.  The only good news is for AMD who managed to take a slightly larger share of this shrinking market.  Both companies are going to have to become much more focussed on the ultra low voltage mobile market if they want to remain profitable, which means less development on high end desktop processors.  Grab more market stats over at The Inquirer.

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"PROCESSOR CHIP SALES will increase by almost quarter this year thanks to the growing demand for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, analyst outfit IHS has predicted."

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Source: The Register

Can 3,000,000 Surface buyers be wrong?

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2013 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: winRT, win8, surface, microsoft, sales, Surface Pro

Believe it or not, according to The Inquirer's sources Microsoft managed to sell three million Surface and Surface Pro tablets, accounting for 7.5% of sales in the first quarter of 2013.  In comparison Apple accounts for a hair under 50% of branded tablet sales, with Android tablets making up the rest of the market.  For a company not generally associated with hardware, apart from the Zune, Microsoft has made a definite impact on tablet sales with their new OS and hybrid machines.  They do not define the split between Surface and Surface Pro, nor mention how many buyers did not realize the limitations of WinRT, regardless this is good news for Microsoft if not for some of their traditional partners such as ASUS and Acer.

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"TABLET UPSTART Microsoft managed to capture 7.5 percent of the global 'branded' tablet market in the first three months of the year."

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Source: The Inquirer

It's not PC sales that are declining, it is workstation sales

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2013 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: sales, workstation

The Tech Report put up an editorial which discusses the recent reports on the shrinkage of PC sales and point out that it is not necessarily Personal Computer sales which are slowing but only the workstation sales.  You may feel that a PC is a desktop and only a desktop but the market has changed to the point where a watch can qualify as a personal computer and your smartphone definitely does.  The term post-PC may be applicable but at the same time limiting your definition of a PC to a desktop and possibly laptops is not as accurate as it once was.  The term workstation is accurate for those of us who actually do work which requires the power of a multicore system with dedicated daughterboards, but the vast majority of users do not need the power of a full system.  Enthusiasts and professionals will always need the power of a full workstation but perhaps it is time to realize we may be in the minority, which is why sales of traditional workstations have declined.  Ask makers of ARM devices if their sales are declining; the main stream market is shifting to devices that many of us would not consider a "real PC".

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"PC shipments suffered their greatest decline ever last quarter, in spite of Windows 8 and all those tablet-notebook hybrids. Some say there's no hope, but I disagree. Because the PC is booming—just not the PC we know."

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A second tale of doom and gloom for the PC market

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2013 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: fud, sales

Last week we saw a report describing the downturn in PC sales and it has been repeated today in a report from Gartner.  With a global decline of sales this quarter totalling over 10% compared to the first quarter of 2012 the trend of falling PC sales continues for the fourth quarter in a row.  It seems that tablets and smartphones are making headway into the market and many people who would have purchased an inexpensive TV for surfing and other light-duty tasks are satisfied with a smaller mobile device.  In the US the decline was a hair under 10% and only Apple and Lenovo showed any growth.  Get the full global breakdown at DigiTimes.

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"Worldwide PC shipments totaled 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a 11.2% decline from the first quarter of 2012, according to Gartner. Global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. All regions showed a decrease in shipments, with the EMEA region experiencing the steepest decline."

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Source: DigiTimes

The discrete graphics card is in no danger

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 23, 2012 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: jon peddie, sales, gpu

Jon Peddie's newest report on the state of the graphics card market has arrived and while the news is not good it is nowhere near as bad as it could have been.  The graphics card market had a very large hurdle to deal with over these last few quarters which is why the total market declining 0.8% from last quarter and a 3.38% decline from Q1 2011 is not terrible news.  The impact came from the flooding in Thailand, which has been causing lowered sales for most of the PC market this year.   With hard drives being in such short supply the number of systems that could be built by vendors dropped dramatically, those systems which were built were noticeably more expensive than before the flood as the price of hard drives doubled in some cases.  With less systems being built and sold there was less demand for GPUs from the vendors, thankfully the industry has recovered from the shortage and we are seeing prices and supplies returning to their normal levels.

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When you break it down by company, only AMD saw growth from last quarter, though at a 0.3% increase it was not so much growth as simply holding their ground.  NVIDIA has stopped reporting on their IGP sales which, believe it or not, still sell in Asia and so saw a drop of 4.5% from last quarter.  Some of that decline will be due to the change in reporting but the lack of Kepler stock has certainly hurt their sales as well.  Intel saw a decline of 1.3% from the previous quarter again likely due to the influence of the hard drive shortage reducing the number of systems which were sold. 

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When you look at only discrete cards, the sales increased 2.7 % from the last quarter but were down 11% from this time last year, thanks to the GPU now present on both AMD and Intel processors.  With Llano and Trinity as well as SandyBridge and Ivy Bridge we saw the arrival of onboard graphics which provided enough horsepower that many casual users no longer need a discrete GPU.  Previous generations of IGPs and onboard graphics cores struggled to play HD video without stuttering and they were essentially useless if they were called upon to power even casual games.  The new generations of processors can not only handle HD video but are quite capable of light gaming duties.  They also made possible tablets and extremely small laptops, aka Sleekbooks and Ultrabooks, which provided good enough performance for many users and these small form factors have little space for discrete GPUs.  As both AMD and Intel's processors have a graphics core they count towards the total graphics card market share which is good news for them but not for NVIDIA who count on add in card sales exclusively.  On the plus side, when you examine add in card sales for laptops alone, NVIDIA actually saw a gain of 5%.

 Check out more of the results at Jon Peddie Research.

Hard to make a profit when no one can find Kepler cards for sale, NVIDIA

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2012 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: sales, Q2, nvidia, kepler

NVIDIA made $925m this quarter down from the $1,002m they made 12 months ago and profit is even dimmer with profits falling from $137m to a hair over $60m.  This marks the third year NVIDIA's Q1 revenue has been less than in the previous year and that is going to deeply trouble investors.  Even if GTX680s and 690s had flooded the market and were sitting on store shelves hoping that someone would come along and buy them that would not have helped sales in the first quarter, though if Kepler had been released early and in great quantities NVIDIA might have turned this distressing trend around. 

Q2 could be peachy, three models of GTX670 are still available at NewEgg after the initial sales and if the GTX680's production can be ramped up without much in the way of associated costs we could see some nice financials in the summer.  After all they do have the best cards on the market right now. Hit up The Inquirer for more.

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"Nvidia is on a high after a successful Kepler GPU launch but its financials paint a very different picture. The firm's first quarter of its 2013 fiscal year yielded revenue of $924.9m, just under four per cent lower than the same period a year previously, however its net income took a beating as profits fell by 55 per cent to $60.4m."

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Source: The Inquirer

Western Digital retains number 2 status

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2012 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: western digital, sales

With the horrible flooding in Thailand that destroyed Western Digital's ability to produce hard drives many were concerned about their profits for the beginning of this year.  While they did not surpass Seagate for the number one spot, they have recovered after a poor first quarter.   As you can see in the graph their total sales dropped far more than their net profit, in part thanks to a few weeks of profits from their newly purchased Hitachi GST component.  Read all the big numbers at The Register.

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"Western Digital, the world's number two hard drive vendor, is bouncing back after Thai floods wiped out disk assembly lines - but not quite enough to grab Seagate's crown."

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Source: The Register

PC Gaming Alliance Announces Record PC Game Sales in 2011

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2012 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: sales, record, pcga, PC, gaming

In two surprising bits of news, the PC gaming alliance is not only still alive and kicking, but their recent report indicates that the PC games industry saw record sales numbers in 2011. The consortium reported that worldwide PC game sales hit $18.6 billion last year, a year over year increased of 15%. The initial numbers definitely seem to suggest that PC gaming is nowhere near dead.

The PCGA states that the rise in sales is due to increases in the Chinese PC games market and the rise in popularity of Free-to-Play games like TF2, Star Trek: Online, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft (which has a free component), and many others. The integration of some of the most popular Free to Play games into Valve's Steam store certainly didn't hurt either!

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Further, the release of several big hit titles including Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, and Portal 2, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (my pick for PC Per Game of the Year) all contributed to the record sales numbers on the PC. According to the article, Asian publisher Tencent launched League of Legends and is now bringing in 11 million players (though it's likely that not all of those players are active and/or spend money on the service) and will be surpassing Activision as the company making the most money off of PC games.  Zynga, the company behind many of the annoying time sinks popular Facebook games, continued to rake in a boatload of money with 2011 revenue of $1.1 billion.

Not only did the PC gaming alliance report these positive numbers for 2011, but they predict that the PC games industry will continue to grow.  As digital distribution systems catch on and broadband connections continue to improve and spread into new areas (though Verizon and AT&T aren't helping matters by stopping further roll outs of FIOS and Uverse), the PCGA predicts that the industry will grow to $25.5 billion, which would be a 37% rise in four years.  If the growth rate continues in Asian markets and publishers continue to back down from DRM in favor of producing more titles that people want to buy, their predicted growth is certainly achievable.  More information on the PCGA report can be found here along with the full press release here(PDF).

Source: IGN