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Well, this is beginning to get interesting. Apple are positioning themselves nicely right now, trying to secure HDD stock and supply. The story unfolds as an explanation of how business works, which helps explain Apple's position. Explaining it as a purchasing system, which creates huge advantages for the biggest, cashed-up companies, such as Apple.
Each buyer has a certain amount of money (and power) and can place big orders that the supplier could not ignore. So if the buy says "Forget everyone else you are dealing with, I want to order 1.2 million units in 2011 and I'd like them dropped off with me at the rate of 100,000 a month, but I won't be buying them until I sell them...Oh, yes, and I won't pay for them until 3 months after I sell them", then the supplier has no choice buy to drop their pants and bend over. (KitGuru's words, but they were so good I had to use them).
Dell have been doing this for years and countless other companies, too. Both sides are aware of the practice, and are compliant with it. But, throw in a massive reduction on supply and the rules are changed, completely. The supplier now has the power and with demand so high everywhere else, it [the supplier] has the power to 'give a story' to its regular customers, while they shop around for massive profits.
Sony have just posted their financial results for Q2 of the current fiscal year, where they've noted significant losses in profit for its Consumer Products & Services, which is where the PlayStation products live and breathe. Sony explained that the loss was due to a number of factors, including the deterioration in the cost of sales ratio as a result of the price reduction on the PlayStation 3 earlier this year.
Other factors that led to losses, were the decline in sales of the video game business, LCD televisions and foreign exchange rates. But, during the quarter, Sony sold a total of 3.7 million PlayStation 3 units compared to 3.5 million in the same quarter of the last fiscal year. The PSP also saw a spike in sales, up to 1.7 million units compared to 1.5 million year-on-year. PlayStation 2 sales dropped from 1.5 million to 1.2 million.
The flooding in Thailand is set to cause an even more drastic shortage of hard drives according to researchers at iSuppli. Roughly 660,000 Thailand residents are out of work after the country shut down 14,000 factories, including those that Western Digital and Seagate use. Shipments of hard drives are set to decline 27.7-percent from 173 million units in Q3, down to 125 million in Q4.
Both WD and Seagate have adjusted their shipment estimates, as well as raising prices to meet revenue forecasts. Average hard drive prices will increase by 10-percent according to iSuppli (not here in Australia where we're seeing a near 100-percent increase), but certain models have increased by as much as 20 to 40-percent. WD has been more directly impacted by the flooding, with analysts reporting that they will lose market share to Seagate, who has roughly double the shipment forecast for the current quarter.
Of course, there are stock reservers by most vendors to avoid disruption in desktop and notebook shipments for months, but ASUS aren't so fortunate. ASUS expects to ship 4.1 million notebooks, 600,000 Eee Pads and 1.2 million Eee PCs in Q4 2011, down from 4.3 million, 800,000 and 1.3 million in Q3. Part of that forecasted decline can be blamed on the production halt in Thailand.
AMD have just announced a new restructuring plan that is set to cut 10-percent of their workforce over the next few months. The new plan [of sacking employees] and implementation of operational efficiency initiatives designed to strengthen AMD's competitive positioning. By cutting their work force by 10-percent, AMD can save approximately $10 million in operating expenses during Q4 2011.
That sum will expand out to $118 million for 2012, the workforce layoffs will be global and not centred on just one or two sections of AMD's global footprint. It's expected to be completed by Q1 of 2012, with other restructuring plans to continue into 2012. AMD are also saying they plan to save another $90 million off its expenses in 2012, by undertaking various operating efficiencies, but they did not elaborate on that.
AMD's total operating expenses are estimated at $610 million for Q4 2011, with the savings factored in. AMD also wants to improve productivity, reduce the time it takes to release products to the market and better align themselves with key industry trends.
Apple is set to change everything up with their new iOS app and retail plans have finally been confirmed thanks to a source of BGR's. On Thursday, Apple's new retail store app for iOS will launch, bringing with it two major new features. Firstly, it will enable online ordering with retail store pickup, which has already begun rolling out in Apple Stores in New York City and California, with more stores going live on Thursday.
As for what will now happen, just check out the insane list below:
If a customer orders an in-stock product, pick up will be available approximately 12 minutes after completing the order. Why 12 minutes? Well, the order goes through the system to the designated Apple Store in about 3 minutes. Apple's back-of-house employees have 2 minutes to set all of the products aside on a shelf from the minute it was ordered. There is then a 7-minute grace period for employees to get everything else in order. Around 12 minutes after purchasing, customers will be able to walk into the Apple Store, skip lines, skip registers, get their products, sign for them and leave. We're told Apple is really excited about this, and it's something customers have been seeking for a while.
Jon Peddie Research (JPR) have released their third quarte report for the graphics market. The news brings announcement that there was a 16.7-percent sequential increase in shipments, raising them to 138.5 million. That is above the 10-year average of 13.9-percent, but in line with seasonal expectations as vendors stock up for the holiday season.
Intel saw a 28.5-percent growth in shipments on-quarter and 36.5-percent on-year, which is made up nearly entirely of embedded graphics chips inside their latest-generation desktop and mobile processors. Intel have maintained a huge lead on their competition, gobbling up 60.4-percent of the GPU market share, up 10.1-percent from Q2 2011 and up 9.5-percent when compared to Q3, 2010.
AMD have seen a steady 9.9-percent increase in shipments, this is thanks to their Fusion APU, but they lost market share. Market share for AMD is down to 23-percent, down 5.9-percent on-quarter, and flat year-over-year. Shipments of AMD's desktop and notebook Fusion chips have increased 58.4-percent from last quarter. Now for some big numbers, almost 92 million PCs shipped worldwide this quarter alone, up 8.8-percent sequentially. There were roughly 1.6 GPUs per computer in 2011, up from 1.16 GPUs per system ten years ago.
The shocking flooding in Thailand has not only affected families and citizens of Thailand, but some giant IT companies have factories there such as Western Digital. We've all heard, seen or read about the recent hard disk drive pricing hikes the world over, with prices ballooning to sometimes over 50-percent (or more) and stock levels should be getting quite thin over the following weeks toward the holiday season.
Thanks to Bright Side of News, we have some pictures that show the epic flooding that has hit Thailand. The waters near the WD factory were between 1 and 1.4m deep (4-5 feet) and were an average of about 1m (4 feet) through most of the factory and its surroundings. As you can see in the above shot, the water isn't just in some parts, it's everywhere.
First, HP were killing off their PC unit, then they said they were keeping it, now the group's chief technology officer announced that he is leaving in a statement on his personal blog. December 31st will be his last day and his statement is below in its entirety.
Earlier today, I announced that I will be retiring from HP.
This is not the traditional retirement. I'm not planning on spending my days playing golf or sitting around the house driving my wife crazy. I have far too much passion, energy and ideas to sit on the sidelines.
Facebook sometimes gets the cold shoulder when it comes to privacy and their mobile apps, but todays news is a little different. Facebook are set to build a massive server farm 62 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Luleå, northern Sweden. The facility will include three 300,000 square feet server halls and it will be the first time that Facebook has built a data center outside of the US.
This is becoming a trend for American companies, with Microsoft looking to build a server farm in Siberia, but the deal never gelled together. Google on the other hand is currently building a similar data center in Hamima in southern Finland. Facebook chose Luleå because of its cold climate, with server farms requiring massive amounts of cold air to keep the operating temperatures down. The average temperate in the area is around 2C (35.6F) and the temperature has not been above 30C (86F) for more than 24 hours since 1961.
After a bit of shaky ground and a not-so-great Bulldozer launch, AMD have posted their revenue results for the third quarter of 2011 of $1.69 billion. From that, AMD had a net income of $97 million, or $0.13 per share, and an operating income of $138 million. AMD reported non-GAAP net income of $110 million, or $0.15 per share, and non-GAAP operating income of $146 million.
AMD president and CEO, Rory Read says:
Strong adoption of AMD APUs drove a 35 percent sequential revenue increase in our mobile business. Despite supply constraints, we saw double digit revenue and unit shipment growth in emerging markets like China and India as well as overall notebook share gains in retail at mainstream price points. Through disciplined execution and continued innovation we will look to accelerate our growth and refine our focus on lower power, emerging markets, and the cloud.