Google revoked the certificates for users of its Chrome browser last Saturday after a four-day investigation. Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software followed suit on Monday.
In a security advisory, Microsoft said it had released an update to most versions of Windows — including Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 — that revoked the pertinent certificates. Unlike other browser makers, Microsoft records trusted digital certificates in Windows, not in its Internet Explorer (IE) browser.
However, the third of Windows PC owners still running the 12-year-old Windows XP have been left out in the cold. “No update is available at this time for customers running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003,” Microsoft said in its advisory.
Google’s discovery also prompted Mozilla to annul the rogue certificates. The revocations will be included with Firefox 26, according to a blog post by Mozilla.
Opera Software blacklisted the certificates in older versions of its Opera browser. The Norwegian company’s newest, Opera 12, did not require an update because that version did not automatically trust ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information), the French Network and Information Security Agency whose intermediate CA issued the original unauthorized certificate.
According to ANSSI, the certificates were signed by DGTrésor, France’s Department of the Treasury. ANSSI described the gaffe as “human error … during a process aimed at strengthening the overall IT security of the French Ministry of Finance.”
According to Google and Mozilla, ANSSI found that a secondary certificate was installed on a network monitoring device, and able to sniff local traffic to and from third-party sites. Microsoft warned that, “An attacker could use these certificates to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks” against a large number of Google-owned domains, includinggoogle.com and youtube.com.
The browser makers’ fast response was in contrast to similar incidents in the past, when certificate invalidation took longer. An intermediate certificate issued by Turkish CA Turktrust in mid-2011 and installed on a firewall appliance in December 2012 was not revoked by Microsoft and others until early January 2013.
GoToMeeting Essentials allows for one presenter and five attendees in a session and costs $19 per month, or $182 per year, for unlimited usage, Citrix plans to announce on Tuesday. Meetings can’t be recorded.
By contrast, the standard GoToMeeting product costs $49 per month, or $468 per year, for unlimited usage. Meetings can be recorded and can have 1 presenter and up to 25 participants.
Essentials is intended to attract customers that don’t need all the features and capacity of the standard version of the product, and that find its price too high.
On the other end of the spectrum, Citrix is adding an option for customers that need to accommodate more people in a meeting. The new GoToMeeting 100 allows for sessions of up to 100 participants with 1 presenter for $69 per month.
Beyond the core GoToMeeting, Citrix also has a version of the product customized for online events and another one designed for e-learning.
The version for events, GoToWebinar, accommodates meetings of up to 100, up to 500 and up to 1,000 people. It starts at $99 per month, or $948 per year, for the 100-participant option with one presenter.
Meanwhile, GoToTraining is for sessions of up to 25 participants or up to 200 participants, and starts at $149 per month, or $1,428 per year.
Prices go up on all GoToMeeting products if customers buy more than one presenter license. If customers need 40 or more presenter licenses, they need to open a GoToMeeting corporate account.
Citrix is also announcing that a GoToMeeting app for the Windows Phone OS will be launched on Dec. 15. It will allow people to launch and join a meeting from Windows Phone smartphones.
Meanwhile, the company is beta-testing a new element in GoToMeeting, called GoToMeet.me, which hosts a personalized meeting page. They can use this page to start up a session with colleagues in an ad-hoc manner without formal scheduling or invitations. Customers interested in it can try it out at GoToMeet.me
The company has also made it possible for GoToMeeting customers to try out pre-release features by selecting them from a new menu option called Labs.
Citrix also improved GoToMeeting’s Outlook plug-in and plans to introduce an integration with Google Calendar via a Chrome browser extension that will be released in about a month.
The growth of online video, both in fixed and mobile networks has made content delivery networks such as EdgeCast and the services they offer more interesting. Verizon’s Digital Media Services unit will integrate EdgeCast’s capabilities to further improve “ability to meet the exponential growth in online digital media content, as well as broaden its portfolio of site acceleration services for enterprises,” the operator said earlier this week.
With the acquisition, Verizon will get its hands on EdgeCast’s content delivery network, a global network of servers that can be used to handle traffic spikes, stream content to thousands of viewers concurrently, or secure websites from attacks, according to EdgeCast.
This isn’t the first time this year Verizon has opened its wallet to improve its video distribution capabilities. Last month, Verizon announced the acquisition of technology from upLynk that streamlines the process of uploading and encoding video for live, linear and video-on-demand content.
EdgeCast’s list of customers includes Pinterest, Kellogg’s, Mercedes, Yahoo and WordPress.
The financial details of the deal were not revealed, but Verizon’s and EdgeCast’s board of directors have approved the acquisition and Verizon hopes to finalize it early next year, it said. Once the deal is complete, Verizon will compete with the likes of Akamai Technologies.
Today, online video is the biggest contributor to mobile traffic volumes, constituting 25% of total smartphone traffic and 40% of total tablet traffic, according to a recent report from telecom vendor Ericsson.
The rising number of smartphone subscriptions is the main driver for mobile-data traffic growth in the coming years. Users consuming more data per subscription — mainly driven by video — is adding to this. A compound annual growth rate of around 45% for data traffic is expected between 2013 and 2019 or by a factor of 10 during the whole period, Ericsson said.
Samsung has announced a range of mSATA solid state disk (SSD) drives, the 840 EVO series, which comes in a number of sizes including the world’s first 1TB mSATA SSD drive.
The 1TB model offers 98,000 random read and 90,000 random write input output operations per second (IOPS), as well as sequential read and write speeds of 540MBps and 520MBps, respectively. Most mSATA SSD drives are around 25 percent of the size of a standard laptop hard drive, and only around 40 percent of the weight, making them ideal for tablets, laptops and ultrabooks.
At just 3.85mm thick, the 840 EVO also promises to keep the line of devices suitably svelte. The range includes 120GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1TB models, all of which come with Samsung Magician, a software assist that is said to increase read speed to over 1GBps, making them twice as fast as a full sized SSD. The Samsung 840 EVO 1TB mSATA SSD drive has 16 layers of 128GB NAND chips in four packets.
“With the new mSATA SSD line-up offering up to 1TB of memory and an optimized software tool, we expect that consumers can enjoy high storage volume and performance on ultra-slim notebooks besides desktop PCs,” said Unsoo Kim, Samsung SVP of memory brand product marketing.
“We will continue to bring leading-edge SSD products and software solutions with improved quality and reliability, while working on offering higher consumer satisfaction and strengthening competitiveness of our branded memory business.”
The mSATA drives are supported with a full migration kit and a global launch is set for this month.
Dublin-based StatCounter pegged November’s mobile browser usage share — a tally of website pages viewed, and thus a measurement of online activity — at 20%, with personal computers accounting for the remaining 80%.
In the last 12 months, mobile’s global usage share grew by 7 percentage points, representing a 53% annual increase.
Mobile’s browsing growth is in part a side effect of a global slump in personal computer sales as customers instead purchase smartphones and tablets, and as a result, shift their time spent online from PCs to mobile. For the year,personal computer shipments will be more than 10% lower than the year before, when shipments contracted by a then-historic 4% compared to 2011.
Usage share gains for mobile have come at the expense of what StatCounter defines as “desktop,” a category that includes both desktop and notebook PCs, primary powered by Microsoft’s Windows, and Macs running Apple’s OS X. Desktop browser usage dropped 2 percentage points to 80% in the last three months, and fell 7 points in the last 12.
In September 2009, when Computerworld began tracking mobile browser usage — seven months before Apple started selling its first iPad — desktop controlled 98.9% of the usage total, according to StatCounter.
Net Applications, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based rival to StatCounter, also tracks desktop and mobile browsing, but uses a different methodology that essentially counts individual users, not online activity.
By Net Applications’ measurement, 13.2% of all unique visitors to its clients’ websites did so using a smartphone or tablet. Computerworld labels Net Applications’ numbers user share to differentiate them from StatCounter’s.
Personal computers accounted for 86.2% of the global browser user share for November by Net Applications’ tally.
Not surprisingly, browser makers have jumped on the mobile bandwagon. Nearly 60% of Apple’s November user share, as defined by Net Applications, was generated by the iOS version of Safari, for example, while 20% of Google’s user share came from its stock Android browser and the newer Chrome on that mobile operating system.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s mobile version of Internet Explorer (IE) accounted for less than half of one percent of IE’s total user share.
Nokia has been warned by EU regulators not to “behave like a patent troll” following Microsoft’s acquisition of the company’s devices business.
Joaquín Almunia, European Commission VP in charge of competition said on Monday that while he had approved the $7.2bn sale of Nokia’s devices business to Microsoft, there is a danger that Nokia will take advantage of its vast patent portfolio.
Speaking at an event in Paris on Monday, Almunia said, “Since Nokia will retain its patent portfolio, some have claimed that the sale of the unit would give the company the incentive to extract higher returns from this portfolio.
“These claims fall outside the scope of our review. When we assess a merger, we look into the possible anti-competitive impact of the company resulting from it. We cannot consider what the seller will do. If Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case – but I sincerely hope we will not have to.
“In other words, the claims we dismissed were that Nokia would be tempted to behave like a patent troll or – to use a more polite phrase – a patent assertion entity.
“You can rest assured that we are watching this space very carefully. DG competition will hold patent trolls to the same standards as any other patent holder,” he added.
Almunia’s concerns follow Nokia’s patent victory over HTC in UK court last week.
Last Tuesday a UK judge ruled that Nokia could assert a ban on the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max smartphones, ruling that HTC infringed Nokia’s EP0998024 patent, described as a “modular structure for a transmitter and a mobile station”.
IDC expects that anywhere from 25% to 30% of all the servers shipped next year will be delivered to cloud services providers.
In three years, 2017, nearly 45% of all the servers leaving manufacturers will be bought by cloud providers.
“What that means is a lot of people are buying SaaS,” said Frank Gens, referring to software-as-a-service. “A lot of capacity if shifting out of the enterprise into cloud service providers.”
The increased use of SaaS is a major reason for the market shift, but so is virtualization to increase server capacity. Data center consolidations are eliminating servers as well, along with the purchase of denser servers capable of handling larger loads.
For sure, IT managers are going to be managing physical servers for years to come. But, the number will be declining, based on market direction and the experience of IT managers.
Two years ago, when Mark Endry became the CIO and SVP of U.S. operations for Arcadis, a global consulting, design and engineering company, the firm was running its IT in-house.
“We really put a stop to that,” said Endry. Arcadis is moving to SaaS, either to add new services or substitute existing ones. An in-house system is no longer the default, he added.
“Our standard RFP for services says it must be SaaS,’ said Endry.
Arcadis has added Workday, a SaaS-based HR management system, replaced an in-house training management system with a SaaS system, and an in-house ADP HR system was replaced with a service. The company is also planning a move to Office 365, and will stop running its in-house Exchange and SharePoint servers.
As a result, in the last two years, Endry has kept the server count steady at 1,006 spread through three data centers. He estimates that without the efforts at virtualization, SaaS and other consolidations, they would have more 200 more physical servers.
Endry would like to consolidate the three data centers into one, and continue shifting to SaaS to avoid future maintenance costs, and also the need to customize and maintain software. SaaS can’t yet be used for everything, particularly ERP, but “my goal would be to really minimize the footprint of servers,” he said.
Similarly, Gerry McCartney, CIO of Purdue University is working to cut server use and switch more to SaaS.
The university’s West Lafayette, Ind., campus had some 65 data centers two years ago, many small. Data centers at Purdue are defined as any room with additional power and specialized heavy duty cooling equipment. They have closed at least 28 of them in the last 18 months.
The Purdue consolidation is the result of several broad directions: increased virtualization, use of higher density systems, and increase use of SaaS.
McCartney wants to limit the university’s server management role. “The only things that we are going to retain on campus is research and strategic support,” he said. That means that most, if not all, of the administrative functions may be moved off campus.
This shift to cloud-based providers is roiling the server market, and is expected to help send server revenue down 3.5% this year, according to IDC.
Gens says that one trend among users who buy servers is increasing interest in converged or integrated systems that combine server, storage, networking and software. They account now about for about 10% of the market, and are expected to make up 20% by 2020.
Meanwhile, the big cloud providers are heading in the opposite direction, and are increasingly looking for componentized systems they can assemble, Velcro-like, in their data centers. This has given rise to contract, or original design manufacturers (ODM), mostly overseas, who make these systems for cloud systems.
The court’s decision may prove key to deciding under what circumstances companies can be sued for using certain software in their products.
The court said in a one-line order that it would hear a case brought by Alice Corporation Pty Ltd, which holds a patent for a computer system that facilitates financial transactions. The patent is challenged by CLS Bank International.
The court took no action on another case raising the same issue involving a patent dispute between WildTangent Inc and Ultramercial Inc.
The deep interest that the software industry and patent experts have in what is a threshold issue in patent litigation was underscored by the number of companies and industry groups that asked the court to decide the issue.
Companies including Google Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc had already signaled their interest in the issue by asking the court to hear the WildTangent case. Many also filed briefs in lower courts.
With the rise of computer-based products in recent years, courts have struggled to apply patent law. Some legal experts, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group, say that courts are too keen to uphold patents on ideas that are too vague to deserve protection.
Such vague patents can be used against big tech companies, which say they are forced to spend money defending lawsuits instead of investing in research and development. Technology companies are particularly concerned about litigation brought by so-called “patent trolls,” defined as companies that hold patents only for the purpose of suing other companies seeking to develop new products.
The company’s policies for shutting off sales to retailers and shipping licenses to OEMS (original equipment manufacturers) are posted on its site, which was recently updated to show that Windows 7′s “retail end of sales” date was Oct. 30.
The next deadline, marked as “End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled,” will be Oct. 30, 2014, less than a year away.
Microsoft’s practice, first defined in 2010, is to stop selling an older operating system in retail one year after the launch of its successor, and halt delivery of the previous Windows edition to OEMs two years after a new version launches. The company shipped Windows 8, Windows 7′s replacement, in October 2012.
As recently as late September, the last timeComputerworld cited the online resource, Microsoft had not filled in the deadlines for Windows 7. At the time, Computerworld said that the end-of-October dates were the most likely.
A check of Microsoft’s own online store showed that the company has pulled Windows 7 from those virtual shelves.
In practical terms, the end-of-retail-sales date has been an artificial and largely meaningless deadline, as online retailers have continued to sell packaged copies, sometimes for years, by restocking through distributors which squirreled away older editions.
Today, for example, Amazon.com had a plentiful supply of various versions of Windows 7 available to ship, as did technology specialist Newegg.com. The former also listed copies of Windows Vista and even Windows XP for sale through partners.
Microsoft also makes a special exception for retail sales, telling customers that between the first and second end-of-sale deadlines they can purchase Windows 7 from computer makers. “When the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled,” the company’s website stated.
The firmer deadline is the second, the one for offering licenses to OEMs. According to Microsoft, it “will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs preinstalled with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version” (emphasis added).
After that date, Microsoft shuts off the spigot, more or less, although OEMs, especially smaller “white box” builders, can and often do stockpile licenses prior to the cut-off.
But officially, the major PC vendors — like Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo — will discontinue most Windows 7 PC sales in October 2014, making Windows 8 and its follow-ups, including Windows 8.1, the default.
Even then, however, there are ways to circumvent the shut-down. Windows 8 Pro, the more expensive of the two public editions, includes “downgrade” rights that allow PC owners to legally install an older OS. OEMs and system builders can also use downgrade rights to sell a Windows 8- or Windows 8.1-licensed system, but factory-downgrade it to Windows 7 Professional before it ships.
Enterprises with volume license agreements are not at risk of losing access to Windows 7, as they are granted downgrade rights as part of those agreements. In other words, while Microsoft may try to stymie Windows 7 sales, the 2009 operating system will long remain a standard.
As of the end of November, approximately 46.6% of all personal computers ran Windows 7, according to Web measurement vendor Net Applications, a number that represented 51.3% of all the systems running Windows.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced Bluetooth 4.1, the first version of Bluetooth to lay the foundations for IPV6 capability.
The first hints of what the Bluetooth SIG had planned for this new version were revealed to The INQUIRER in October during our exclusive interview with Steve Hegenderfer at Appsworld. There, he revealed his aspirations for the Bluetooth protocol to become integral to the Internet of Things.
At the front end of Bluetooth 4.1, the biggest change for users is that the retry duration for lost devices has been increased to a full three minutes, so if you wander off with your wireless headphones still on, there’s more of a chance of being able to seamlessly carry on listening upon your return.
Behind the scenes, devices fitted with Bluetooth 4.1 will be able to act as both hub and end point. The advantage of this is that multiple devices can share information between them without going via the host device, so your smartwatch can talk to your heart monitor and send the combined data in a single transmission to your smartphone.
This sort of “pooling” of devices represents an “extranet of things”, and the technology can therefore be applied to a wider area in forming the “Internet of Things” too.
The other major additions are better isolation techniques to ensure that Bluetooth, which broadcasts on an unregulated band, doesn’t interfere either with itself or with signals from other protocols broadcasting at similar frequencies, including WiFi.
The Bluetooth protocol has retained complete backwards compatibility, so a new Bluetooth 4.1 enabled device will work seamlessly with a Bluetooth 1.0 dongle bought in a pound shop.
In addition, Bluetooth 4.0 devices can be Bluetooth 4.1 enabled through patches, so we should see some Bluetooth 4.1 enabled hardware arrive early in 2014.
IBM is in the throes of developing software that will allow organizations to use multiple cloud storage services interchangeably, reducing dependence on any single cloud vendor and ensuring that data remains available even during service outages.
Although the software, called InterCloud Storage (ICStore), is still in development, IBM is inviting its customers to test it. Over time, the company will fold the software into its enterprise storage portfolio, where it can back up data to the cloud. The current test iteration requires an IBM Storewize storage system to operate.
ICStore was developed in response to customer inquiries, said Thomas Weigold, who leads the IBM storage systems research team in IBM’s Zurich, Switzerland, research facility, where the software was created. Customers are interested in cloud storage services but are worried about trusting data with third party providers, both in terms of security and the reliability of the service, he said.
The software provides a single interface that administrators can use to spread data across multiple cloud vendors. Administrators can specify which cloud providers to use through a point-and-click interface. Both file and block storage is supported, though not object storage. The software contains mechanisms for encrypting data so that it remains secure as it crosses the network and resides on the external storage services.
A number of software vendors offer similar cloud storage broker capabilities, all in various stages of completion, notably Red Hat’s DeltaCloud and Hewlett Packard’s Public Cloud.
ICStore is more “flexible,” than other approaches, said Alessandro Sorniotti, an IBM security and cloud system researcher who also worked on the project. “We give customers the ability to select what goes where, depending on the sensitivity and relevance of data,” he said. Customers can store one copy of their data on one provider and a backup copy on another provider.
ICStore supports a number of cloud storage providers, including IBM’s SoftLayer, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), Rackspace, Microsoft Windows Azure and private instances of the OpenStack Swift storage service. More storage providers will be added as the software goes into production mode.
“Say, you are using SoftLayer and Amazon, and if Amazon suffers an outage, then the backup cloud provider kicks in and allows you to retrieve data,” from SoftLayer, Sorniotti said.
ICStore will also allow multiple copies of the software to work together within an enterprise, using a set of IBM patent-pending algorithms developed for data sharing. This ensures that the organization will not run into any upper limits on how much data can be stored.
IBM has about 1,400 patents that relate to cloud computing, according to the company.
Hewlett-Packard reclaimed its server crown from IBM last quarter as the overall market contracted and Taiwanese vendors made big gains selling directly to Internet giants like Google and Facebook, according to an IDC report.
HP expanded its share of the market only modestly from a year earlier but IBM’s portion declined 4.5 points despite solid mainframe sales, to leave HP in the top spot. HP finished the third quarter with 28.1% of worldwide server revenue to IBM’s 23.4%, IDC said.
But the strongest growth was for the “ODM direct” segment which IDC broke out for the first time this quarter. It stands for original design manufacturers, which are Taiwanese firms like Quanta Computer, Wistron Group, Inventec and Compal, which sell partial and fully-built servers to the big cloud providers.
It’s a growing segment and one that threatens the incumbents. ODM’s accounted for 6.5% of server revenue last quarter, up 45.2% from a year earlier, IDC said. If the ODM category were a single vendor, it would be the third largest ahead of Dell.
Almost 80% of the ODM’s server revenue came from the U.S., primarily from sales to Google, Amazon, Facebook and Rackspace.
Overall, the server market declined 3.7% from a year earlier to $12.1 billion. It was the third consecutive quarter of declining revenue but IDC predicts improvement with a refresh cycle early next year. In terms of units shipped, volumes were about flat year over year, meaning average selling prices dropped.
Volume systems — mostly x86 servers — picked up slightly from last year, with 3.5% revenue growth. But sales of midrange and high-end systems dropped 17.8% and 22.5%, respectively, IDC said.
IBM fared worst of the top 5 vendors, with revenue down 19.4% due to “soft demand for System x and Power Systems,” IDC said. Dell retained third place with 16.2% of revenue, about flat from last year, while Cisco Systems and Oracle tied for fourth.
Cisco saw the most growth of the top vendors, with a nearly 43% revenue jump, IDC said.
The two companies didn’t offer many details, only saying that users will be able to see Twitter messages on the homescreens of selected Android-based smartphones sometime next year. The collaboration will initially cover Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Greece and Croatia, the operator said in a statement.
For Twitter the partnership is about increasing its user base, while Deutsche Telekom wants to add value to its devices and remain relevant as subscribers choose to communicate using means other than text messages and phone calls, according to Paolo Pescatore, director at market research company CCS Insight.
As of mid-November there were 230 million Twitter users globally, and 76 percent accessed the service on a mobile device, according to Twitter.
Twitter isn’t the first social networking vendor to work directly with operators and handset makers. Facebook has been the most aggressive, but has struggled to make an impact with smartphones featuring physical Facebook buttons; the most prominent phone integration with Facebook, the HTC First, was not a success.
Pescatore doubts that Twitter will succeed where Facebook struggled. Most users will likely just continue to use existing apps, he said.
Last month, Twitter updated its mobile apps for both Android and Apple’s iOS devices to give users better search tools.
The company also expanded options for marketers, allowing them to choose what smartphone models and OS versions they want to target with advertising.
Deutsche Telekom didn’t comment on plans for working with Twitter on operating systems other than Android.
The phablet cannibalization trend is so significant that IDC lowered its long-term tablet forecast. The research firm slightly lowered its previous 2013 forecast from 227.4 million tablet shipments worldwide to 221.3 million.
IDC lowered its 2017 tablet forecast even further, pegging shipments at 386.3 million, down from the previous 407 million units.
In some markets, especially the Asia Pacific region, consumers have already decided to buy a large smartphone rather than a small tablet, IDC analysts said. Tablet purchases in South Korea have declined while larger smartphone purchases have increased. IDC researchers there are forecasting that 2013 tablet shipments will drop below 2012′s figures.
“Korea is a unique case, but it could very well be the precursor to that happening in more countries and regions,” said Tom Mainelli, an IDC analyst.
“People in some countries have limited money to spend, so they tend to go for a large phone because they can call and browse on it and read email, as opposed to getting a small phone and a tablet,” added IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani. The phablet becomes the “jack of all trades.”
The cannibalization of tablets is less of a concern in the U.S. and Canada where expendable income is more available. In North America, analysts are more worried about market saturation, with tablets bought up in huge numbers going back to 2010. The market is set to turn from high growth to “mostly a replacement market,” Mainelli said.
IDC also found that tablets in emerging countries aren’t as popular as phablets because there is less Wi-Fi at home and less traditional home PC usage. “We think many of those cheap whitebox tablets being used in emerging markets are essentially replacing DVD players, with the content side-loaded onto them from various sources,” Mainelli said. “Also, larger smartphones took off there first.”
In addition to large smartphones’ cutting into tablet sales, Mainelli said IDC believes that wearable devices and other new computing categories will temper tablet growth in coming years. He didn’t estimate by how much, however.
As large phone use rises, Mainelli said it’s possible that the tablet market will shift back to larger tablets in a reversal of the recent trend toward sub-8-in. tablets. “I tend to think that is what will happen in the U.S.,” he said. One example is the new iPad Air, with a 9.7-in. display.
IDC predicts about 220 million tablets with screens that are under 8 inches will ship globally in 2017, with another 145 million tablets shipping that are between 8 inches and 11 inches, and about 20 million with screen sizes of more than 11 inches.
Analyst firm Canalys said in November that phablets larger than 5 inches accounted for 22% of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter.
The phablets, made mainly by Samsung and running the Android operating system, include the 6.3-in. Galaxy Mega and the 5.7-in Galaxy Note 3. Apple’s new iPhone 4S and 4C are still 4-in. devices, but the company launched a smaller tablet, the iPad mini, with a 7.9-in. screen in November 2012.
Canalys recently predicted that tablet shipments will reach 285 million units in 2014, about 15 million higher than IDC’s forecast for 2014 of 270.5 million.
Also in 2014, Canalys said tablets will almost outship all PCs combined, a category including desktops and laptops.
The dismal numbers will not be welcomed at Microsoft, which sells the bulk of its Windows licenses to computer makers as they assemble new PCs.
According to IDC’s revised estimate, 2013 PC shipments will total 314 million, a 10.1% decline from last year’s 349 million.
The new forecast was the third reduction in 2013 expectations by IDC, which started the year thinking that the decline would be just 1.3%. With each revision, the research firm’s projections became gloomier, first in May when it predicted a 7.8% contraction, then again in August when its analysts said the decline would intensify to 9.7%.
If IDC’s latest prognostication is accurate, Asian factories will ship about the same number of PCs to distributors, retailers or OEMs as they did in 2009, two years before ”peak PC,” when PC shipments reached nearly 364 million before starting a 24-month-and-counting slump.
The downturn will continue through 2014, IDC maintained Monday, when PC shipments will fall another 3.8% to around 302 million — like the 10.1% drop this year, a larger decline than the August estimate — before recovering ever so slightly over the next several years. But for the foreseeable future — at least through 2017 — shipments will hover just north of 300 million, or about the number delivered in 2008.
“Beyond 2017, at this time we don’t have reason to think the market would take off in double-digit year-over-year growth,” said Jay Chou, one of the IDC analysts who works on the PC tracking team, in an email reply to questions.
The last time PC shipments climbed by double digits was in 2010, when year-over-year growth was a robust 13.7%.
Other than computer component suppliers and PC makers, Microsoft will be the company hit the hardest: Sales of its Windows operating system are almost entirely reliant on new PC sales. Last quarter, for example, Microsoft said that OEM-based Windows revenue declined 7% overall, nearly the same as the drop in PC shipments for the quarter measured by IDC.