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.
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.
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.
Intel apparently built an IPAD ten years before Steve Jobs though of the tablet and the name. It was in the days when sticking an I in front of anything meant it was Intel rather than Apple and the Intel Pad, or IPAD for short, could browse the Internet, play music and videos, and even act as a digital picture frame.
Intel scrapped the IPAD before consumers could get their hands on it as its move into Tablets was seen as one of the outfit’s biggest blunders. According to CNET in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Intel wanted to diversify its operations beyond the PC. The IPAD came from one of several small teams within its research arm tasked with exploring new business opportunities. The IPAD, which included a touch screen and stylus, would not run entirely on its own but connected to a computer to browse the Internet through an Intel wireless technology.
Intel thought that “mobility” meant moving around your home or business and the IPAD was to be a portable device you could take around your house. The reason that they never thought of connecting it to the phone network was because Intel wanted to tie it all back to its core PC chip business. After several years of development on the Intel Web Tablet, then-CEO Craig Barrett unveiled the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2001. The company planned to sell the tablet to consumers later that year.
Sadly though it miffed Intel’s PC partners, which didn’t want a product that could potentially compete with them and Intel caved in and cancelled the project.
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.
Apple started serving iOS 7 on Sept. 18, and shipped the operating system on its fall wave of new products, including the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C — which went on sale later that month — and the iPad Air and Retina-equipped iPad Mini that reached retail last month.
According to Apple’s iOS developer support site, 74% of the devices tapping the App Store for seven days prior to Dec. 1 ran iOS 7, more than three times the next-most-popular edition, last year’s iOS 6.
Apple’s number closely matched those of third-party firms that have also measured iOS version traffic.
On Tuesday, for instance, mobile advertising company Chitika, of Westborough, Mass., pegged iOS 7 iPhone trafficthrough its network at 74%. iPad owners have upgraded at a slower pace, with 64% of the tablets running iOS 7. Chitika’s tally was generated between Oct. 25 and Nov. 18.
Mixpanel, a San Francisco-based mobile app analytics vendor, has also tracked iOS 7 uptake. As of Friday, the new operating system accounted for79% of the Apple devices accessing Mixpanel clients’ apps or websites. That was up from 61% in late September, and a slight increase from the 76% of one month ago.
iOS 7 uptake has slowed dramatically since first few days and weeks of the upgrade’s availability –Chitika measured iOS 7′s penetration at 52% just a week after release — but it remains above levels set by its predecessor.
“[It is] very likely that iOS 7 will continue to substantially outpace iOS 6 adoption, which reached 83% close to six months following its release in September 2012,” Chitika said on its blog earlier this week.
A rapid uptake tempo is worth more than bragging rights by Apple partisans, as the faster an operating system is adopted, the more willing developers are to take advantage of its features and refresh their apps. That has special significance with iOS 7, since it was the first design overhaul since the OS’s 2007 debut and boasts a radically different look and feel.
iOS 7 can be installed as an upgrade on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5; the iPad 2, the third- and fourth-generation iPads with Retina screens, and 2012′s first-generation iPad Mini; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch that debuted, with different storage sizes, in October 2012 and May 2013.
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.
Spotify has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for an email that contained an uncensored “f” word.
The promotional email had the subject line, “Have you heard this song by Lily Allen? Give it a try. F-ck You”.
Contextually, the phrase refers to the song “Fuck You” on Lily Allen’s album “It’s Not Me, It’s You”, and the suggestion was genuine, generated automatically based on the listener’s previous selections.
Unfortunately, this particular Spotify customer chose to take it the wrong way and made a complaint to the ASA, which announced it would uphold the complaint on Wednesday.
Defending against the claim, Spotify said it “believed there was a clear difference between deliberate language use such as that and the context in which it was used in the ad” and that “…around 36 million recommendations were sent to users by e-mail every month and therefore over the years a significant proportion of its users would have had the same song recommended to them”.
However, the ASA had not received any other complaints, Spotify said. Upholding the complaint, the ASA ruled that it “considered the use of ‘Fuck’ was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients of such e-mails and therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code”.
Although no action is taken in isolated instances like this, the ASA chose to uphold the complaint “to ensure [Spotify's] future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence”.
But what songs had this customer been listening to that would trigger this recommendation? Perhaps he or she is a fan of Cee Lo Green or the Dead Kennedys?
The next generation desktop and mobile Atom is Cherry Trail in 14nm and the first parts are expected in late 2014. Intel has been working hard to accelerate the introduction of Atom parts based on the new architecture and in 2014 it will finally ship Broadwell notebook chips and Cherry Trail Atoms in the same year, both using the new 14nm node.
The Cherry View is a notebook SoC version of a chip based on new Airmont core, while Cherry Trail is the part meant for tablets. The phone version is based on Moorefield architecture and they are all expected to show up in late 2014, most likely very late Q3 2014.
The TDP should go down compared to Bay Trail platform as the new 14nm needs less voltage to hit the same speed and should produce less heat at the same time. With the 14nm shrink Intel’s new Atoms will be able to get more fanless design wins.
The significance of 14nm products for mobile phones and tablets will be in the fact that ARM alliance lead by Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek and a few other players will be struggling to get 20nm designs out of the door in 2014, and Intel can already get to a 14nm.
However, Intel still has to integrate LTE inside its mobile phone SoCs, which has traditionally been proven to be a tough task. At this time only Qualcomm has on-die LTE and its LTE enabled SoCs are under the bonnet of almost every significant ARM based high-end phone out there.
Only time will tell how successful Intel’s mobile push will be. Even with these 14nm parts, once they show up roughly a year from now, it might be really tough for Intel to get some high-volume design wins in the phone space, despite the transition to 14nm.
Lenovo, widely known as a PC company, started selling bare-bones servers in 2008. The company established its Enterprise Product Group a year ago and now wants to build server, software, networking, storage and software portfolios through acquisitions and partnerships, said Roy Guillen, vice president and general of the Enterprise Product Group at Lenovo.
“If you look at the way our PC business grew, we were not shy of making acquisitions. We added companies that brought scale, they bought presence, they brought intellectual property,” Guillen said. “We’ve been looking at the same thing in enterprise and we’ll continue to do so.”
Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC division in 2005 and earlier this year rumors surfaced that the Chinese company was negotiating to acquire IBM’s x86 server operations. Guillen declined to comment on whether negotiations took place.
Lenovo is the world’s top PC vendor, but is not yet a significant player in the server market. According to Gartner, Lenovo was the world’s ninth largest server vendor during the third quarter this year, shipping 57,929 units, growing from 55,467 units in last year’s third quarter. By comparison, the world’s top server vendor, Hewlett-Packard, shipped 669,103 units.
“Most of [Lenovo's] server business does come from China, but they did show some decent growth this quarter, albeit from smaller bases, in Canada, Eastern Europe and the U.S. That helped their overall numbers,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner.
Lenovo’s enterprise products today include single- and two-socket tower and rack servers. The company plans to introduce new two-way servers early next year, and offers a four-socket server in China that it could bring to the U.S. market.
“We’re going to have a really big improvement by the Grantley timeframe,” Guillen said, referring to the next-generation of Intel’s server processors based on Haswell microarchitecture. Those servers will come out in the third quarter of next year.
Lenovo’s enterprise strategy is predicated on the flexibility of server offerings and the company wants to offer a shopping list where customers can check mark what they need, Guillen said. That’s a different server strategy from top server makers IBM, HP and Dell, which are focusing on converged offerings that package servers, software, networking and storage.
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.