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PC shipments aren't looking too good for this quarter, with the IDC's latest report saying it won't get better anytime soon. The IDC pegs the blame on an economic slowdown in China will eventually lead us to a loss in PC sales in the first quarter of 2013.
This is a big problem, as China has accounted for "over 21% of global shipments for 2012," making it the world's largest market for PCs. IDC analyst Loren Loverde has projected that "we could see a drop [in PC shipments] touching double-digits in the first quarter and a mid-single-digit decline in the second quarter before we see any recovery in the second half of the year."
Loverde adds that it will be hard for the PC industry to push into growth in 2013, and that the PC industry will need to release "attractive new PC designs and more competitive pricing relative to tablets and other products."
We're seeing some shifts of power in big companies this year, where earlier today we saw EA's CEO step down, and now we're hearing that ARM's CEO, Warren East, will retire in July. East will be replaced by current ARM president, Simon Segars.
Segars has been with the company since 1991, where East has helped expand ARM's business from one product line when he took over in 2001, to the position of power they find themselves in today. Their technologies are used by over 300 chip customers, which in turn have seen ARM technology baked into 9 billion chips last year alone, according to ARM chairman John Buchanan. An interesting turn for ARM.
Kogan Mobile is in the headlines again, this time for booting a customer off their network for abusing their mobile phone plan. The telco offers an unlimited calls and text pre-paid plan that includes 6GB of data for $29, something they launched in December last year.
Brisbane customer, retail store manager Joel Campbell, was kicked off of the network, with Kogan claiming he was not using his service for "personal use", giving him 90 days to find a new provider. Within section 1.1 of Kogan Mobile's terms of service, they state that their network must be used for "personal use only" - the big problem is that in this seven-page ToS document, it does not state that heavy users would be kicked off of their service.
Campbell said "I have no reason to need a business phone," admitting he was a heavy user, saying that he accessed the Internet on his phone a lot during the day, but didn't think the cancellation of his service to Kogan was "warranted." He adds: "I'm paying for it. At the end of the day if I want more, I'll pay for more. It's not a loss to them."
As of March 30, EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, will be stepping down from the gaming publishers top position. EA is currently attempting to put out multiple fires over their SimCity fiasco, where just today we heard that the game sold over one million copies since its launch two weeks ago.
EA haven't exactly explained why Riccitiello is stepping down, but EA's press release has said that both the former CEO and newly-appointed Executive Chairman, Larry Probst, came to a mutual agreement that it was the right time for Riccitiello to step down. Riccitiello has been steering the EA ship since 2007, when he replaced Probst. EA will now hunt through both internal and external candidates to find themselves a new CEO.
Patent trolling seems to be the new get rich quick scheme for this decade. Every week we see news of a new lawsuit being filed, or hear word of a case being won or lost down in Tyler, Texas. This week we lead off with news of Cisco winning its battle against the notorious patent troll VirnetX.
VirnetX is a simple 14 man operation that seemingly has one goal: Hunt down possible patent infringements and sue the pants off of the other party. Earlier last year, the company filed suit against Cisco, saying that the networking giant was infringing on some of its VPN patents.
Most of the time VirnetX wins its cases, but today Cisco has dealt a crushing blow to the company when a judge ruled that Cisco was in the clear. Losing the case cost VirnetX a cool $27 million as well as seeing its stock plummet a whopping 40 percent just minutes after the verdict.
According to a Reuters report, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic could leave the plasma TV business, as part of downsizing their television operations over the next three years starting in the next fiscal year.
Panasonic have already begun selling assets to raise funds, even selling real estate to improve their financial position. Panasonic's TV business generated more than $10.5 billion in sales during the peak 2009/2010 period, but is estimated to earn less than half of that amount going into the 2015/2016 period according to the Nikkei newspaper, not citing any sources unfortunately. A Panasonic spokesperson has said:
We are considering a number of options regarding our TV business. But nothing has been decided yet.
M2 Telecommunications started off the week with a hefty acquisition of internet service providers Dodo and EFTel in a deal worth $248 million. M2 confirmed the deal, ending speculation from last week, announcing to the ASX that they would acquire Dodo and make an off-market takeover offer for EFTel.
M2 has valued Dodo at $203.9 million, and EFTel at $44.1 million with the offer price for EFTel being $0.3581 per share with cash or scrip considering alternatives. M2 will fund the purchase with a $400 million loan and the issuance of 19.2 million ordinary shares to Dodo and EFTel shareholders. M2 have said they expect the acquisitions to contribute over $400 million in revenue, and $50 million in earnings for the 2014 financial year, as well as providing a mid-June 2013 timeframe to complete the deal.
Dropbox announced they were acquiring Mailbox last week, but didn't disclose the amount they paid for the company. Sources familiar with the deal have said the amount paid for such an early-stage company was high, with its price ballooned up thanks to interest from some well-funded companies.
GigaOM and TechCrunch have both claimed that Mailbox was acquired for a price "well over" $50 million, with a bunch of stock that pushes the deal closer to $100 million. Dropbox are worth somewhere between $4 billion to $5 billion, which makes their acquisition of Mailbox for the reported $50 million not sound so large for the cloud storage company.
Nintendo Wii U sales are underwhelming, fails to outperform monthly Xbox 360 or PS3 sales from last 7 years
Bringing you doom and gloom seems to be my job today. Nintendo's Wii U appears to be selling in underwhelming amounts. According to a Macquarie Capital analyst, Nintendo only managed to move 66,000 Wii U consoles in February, though 70 percent of those were the more expensive Deluxe Set.
According to NPD Group, Wii U sales actually went up in February by roughly 40 percent. However, this doesn't account for that many extra units as January's sales numbers were also low. The Wii U's price is likely to blame as it costs as much as, or more than, competing consoles that have extensive game libraries.
It's important to note that the Wii U's February sales numbers are lower than the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360's numbers from any month within the last seven years. Nintendo needs to repeat the success it saw with the 3DS after they dropped the price by dropping the price of the Wii U to a more competitive level.
It's looking as though Microsoft's expedition into the tablet market might not be paying off as much as the company expected. According to people knowledgeable about Microsoft's sales, the company has reportedly only sold around 1.5 million Surface devices, meaning Surface RT and Surface Pro sales combined.
Bloomberg reports that only about 400,000 Surface Pro units and just over one million Surface RT tablets have been sold. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft's expectations which had the company moving two million Surface RT tablets in December alone. The company ordered around three million, so there is quite a bit of stock left.
Part of the problem is the high cost of the Surface device. Another issue is Windows RT. There has yet to be a compelling argument for the operating system. Intel continues to push x86 as a viable tablet chip and it's capable of so much more. Microsoft's Surface advertising certainly hasn't helped, either.
Microsoft still has a chance to turn it around, but I don't think they will be able to unless they cut the pricing by at least 20 percent.