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.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter spoke at the Game Monetization USA Summit in San Francisco, and once again made some bold predictions about the future of the game industry. He pulled no punches as he evaluated the current state of affairs in the business, and he had some hard advice for a number of companies.
Pachter noted that more people are playing games on more devices than ever before, but he doesn’t think the console market will be growing. “I don’t think you’re ever going to see 500 million consoles out there,” Pachter said. For lifetime sales, Pachter expects the Wii U will ultimately sell 30 million “or fewer” units, the PS4 will sell 100 to 120 million units, and the Xbox One will sell 90 to 110 million units.
“The reason Sony beats Microsoft is solely the price,” Pachter noted. “Microsoft loses the next generation unless they cut price. If Microsoft drops its price to $399, I expect the sales to be equal to the PS4.”
The lifetime sales Pachter predicts compare to current sales of the PS3 and the Xbox 360 at about 80 million units apiece, but it’s far below some estimates of hundreds of millions of next-gen consoles. “I don’t know where they get those numbers,” Pachter said. He feels that at several hundred dollars, with games costing $60 or more, consoles are just too pricey to ever sell hundreds of millions of units.
The Wii U’s performance so far Pachter characterized as “underwhelming,” but noted it’s possible “but unlikely” that exciting new titles will reinvigorate growth. He believes that Nintendo is missing a huge opportunity to bring new gamers into their brands: Nintendo should put old GameBoy Advance content on phones and tablets for free, and charge $3 to $5 for more recent titles from the DS. Pachter feels this would generate enormous revenue for Nintendo and bring millions of new fans into their brands, and give them a strong way to sell newer titles on the 3DS and Wii U that use those brands.
“I don’t know why Iwata is still employed,” Pachter said, given that he refuses to take advantage of this opportunity while the handheld market continues to shrink and the Wii U has failed so far to catch on in a big way.
Pachter is more positive on the PlayStation 4 – “Sony thrives, Nintendo doesn’t” – saying it’s impressive as a game playing device. “The graphics are phenomenal, and the huge RAM makes future innovation likely,” Pachter pointed out. He noted that the multimedia features remain unclear, but the CPU power of the PS4 allows the potential for huge improvement in the future. As for the Xbox One, Pachter noted it’s impressive as a multimedia device, and the added features of Kinect and Skype give it additional value. “We’re sticking with our prediction of a built-in TV tuner” for the Xbox One, Pachter said, which would simplify the ability of the Xbox One to control your television viewing.
“The next generation of consoles is probably the last,” Pachter said. “We expect frequent model updates instead of new consoles.” Moreover, there’s going to be renewed interest in the PC, he predicted. “I think the PC is going to make a comeback, the PC will be the hub of all this stuff,” he stated. He feels Smart TVs are a dumb idea, noting that you don’t have a smart monitor connected to your computer. He envisions there will be a number of screens around the home, perhaps controlled by a tablet, being driven by a supercomputer in your pocket that we call a smartphone.
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 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.
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.
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.
Sony has promised to have “substantial” resupplies of the PlayStation 4 before the end of the year, but has given no indication as to what qualifies as substantial. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has stepped in to fill that information void, telling investors in a note this morning that he believes Sony is making PS4s at the rate of a million systems per month.
Pachter followed up on Sony’s announcement today that it had sold 2.1 million systems worldwide, saying that number fits well with previous estimates that Sony began manufacturing PS4s for retail on September 1, and that it faces a gap of up to three weeks from a system’s creation to the time it arrives on shelves.
“We expect Sony to continue to ship 1 million consoles per month, so as of the end of January, we believe Sony will have manufactured a cumulative 5 million consoles and will have shipped 4.25 – 4.5 million,” Pachter said. “We expect the 55 percent allocation to North America to continue through January, and then revert to a more normalized 40 percent of units once Sony launches in Japan and other countries. We think that Microsoft is on a similar production schedule, with similar allocations to North America.”
Pachter added that specialty retailer GameStop has been receiving roughly half of the systems shipped to North America, and that it will continue to take up that share of the allocations through December. In the New Year, Pachter expects the company’s share to be dialed back to a “more customary” 30 percent.
If the shipment projections are accurate, the PS4 would be more than holding up its part of publishers’ predictions that Sony and Microsoft would combine to ship 10 million units of their new systems by the end of March.
Spotify has responded to criticism of the royalty amounts it pays to music artists.
Music industry figures including Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke have long called for fellow artists to boycott the Swedish music streaming service, which Yorke described as “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”.
In launching the new Spotify For Artists website, Spotify has been proud to boast that it has paid out more than $1bn, over half of which it has paid in the past year. However, digging deeper the truth emerges that this equates to between $0.006 and $0.008 per play.
That’s fine if you’re Lady Gaga or Beyonce, but for musicians at the grassroots level this represents a massive hole in their finances. Or to put it in perspective, it would require a five piece band to be played 5,477 times just to be able to buy themselves a round of drinks. For a new, untested and undiscovered artist, that simply isn’t enough to get by.
A play on Great Britain’s BBC alternative radio station 6 Music nets an artist approximately five cents. Not a king’s ransom, but a huge amount compared to Spotify’s rates. In contrast, Bandcamp, the service designed to allow artists to self release their music, lets artists set their own prices for music, or even leaves it up to consumers to pay what they believe the work is worth.
This is the way that the internet is supposed to empower artists. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be a star, or at least make a living from their music, if they are good enough.
But accepting the payment of these tiny amounts of money is actually far worse for the industry than so-called ‘piracy’, because copyright infringement will always be considered wrong, while streaming for fractions of pennies normalises the practice of underpaying for creative talent and creates the kinds of gatekeepers that have made the giant music industry companies such a cartel. A cartel that is starting to implode.
The program, dubbed “Student Advantage,” was unveiled in mid-October, when Microsoft promised that it would debut Dec. 1.
Educational institutions, whether K-12 school districts or those in higher education, that license Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office 365 ProPlus — the former is traditionally-licensed software while the latter is a subscription — can now also hand Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions to students, free of charge.
Schools and universities must have licensed Office for staff and faculty institution-wide, according to Microsoft, to be eligible for the student give-away. When students graduate, their Office 365 subscription expires.
Office 365 ProPlus includes rights to download and install copies of the newest Office desktop applications on up to five Windows PCs or Macs owned by the student, as well as rights to run the iPhone or Android editions of Office Mobile.
Students, faculty and staff at universities that do not equip employees with Office can instead pay a flat $80 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University. That subscription program allows Office 2013 to be installed on up to two PCs or Macs, and Office Mobile on as many as two mobile devices.
HP plans to axe more than 1,100 jobs at three of its UK sites in 2014, the Unite union announced on Wednesday.
The 1,124 job cuts will take place across three of HP’s UK workplaces, in Bracknell, Sheffield and Warrington. A total of 618 jobs could be lost at the Bracknell hub, 483 will go at Warrington, and 23 at Sheffield.
However, Unite said that many of these job cuts will affect HP employees who work from home, although we’re not sure that makes the situtation better.
Unite national officer Ian Tonks said, “For the last five years HP has been addicted to a culture of job cuts in the UK to such an extent that its highly skilled workforce has little faith in the way the company is being managed and will be going forward.
“Unite will be doing everything possible to mitigate these job losses which are a hammer blow to the UK’s IT sector and very distressing for employees in the run-up to Christmas.”
The reason for the job cuts is still not entirely clear. HP cited “reorganisation” and “falling demand”, despite being one of the only PC makers in the third quarter to show sales growth, while rivals Acer and Asus posted massive declines in PC shipments.
Tonks continued to condemn the job cuts, adding, “At the recent re-negotiation of the European works council (EWC), senior European managers were unable to answer any questions about the future EWC, as they could not get hold of their American bosses because of last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. It’s no wonder there is so little faith in the European management.”
HP has yet to announce when the job cuts will commence, but reports claim they will begin in early 2014.
A HP spokesperson said in a statement, “HP commenced consultation for Q1 FY14 on November 28th, 2013 in the UK regarding potential workforce changes for 2014.
“The proposed UK workforce management plan is part of HP’s global multi-year productivity initiative that was announced on May 23, 2012, and updated at its Securities Analysts Meeting on October 9, 2013, to address current market and business pressures in support of HP’s turnaround in EMEA.
“HP remains committed to supporting the employability of its employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re-skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment as appropriate.”
Companies from Panasonic Corp to Toshiba Corp are pulling engineers and money away from their TV operations and into developing ‘smart appliances’ after losing out in the living room to cheaper Asian rivals.
A fridge that texts pictures to show what’s for dinner, a voice-controlled washing machine -appliances like these are being designed to talk to each other via the cloud to cut energy bills.
For now, they’re expensive, deterring buyers: a Japan-only Toshiba smart fridge with camera runs to about $2,800 versus less than $800 for a basic model. Yet as more products come on the market and competition cuts prices, global smart appliance sales will rocket to $35 billion by 2020 from just over $600 million last year, according to technology intelligence firm Pike Research.
As the industry prepares to descend on Las Vegas next month for CES, the world’s biggest tech trade fair, that’s mouth-watering for all electronics makers. But none more than Japan’s.
They’ve been squeezed into billions of dollars of losses in recent years, caught between high manufacturing costs, aggressive competition from the likes of Samsung Electronics Co and the strong yen, making exports of consumer staples like TVs more expensive.
To prosper in the new niche, Japanese companies must not only convince consumers to shell out for a whole new set of appliances, which need to be all from the same brand to guarantee compatibility. Further down the line, they’ll also have to hold their own against the same cheaper Asian rivals that stole their thunder in leisure electronics.
“Everyone says having the same brand of goods would be more energy-efficient, but in the end it comes down to the price and function of each product,” said Satomi Wakamatsu, a 41-year old housewife from Hiroshima. She owns a Hitachi Ltd fridge and washing machine, and an air conditioner made by Daikin Industries Ltd.
Wakamatsu considered buying smart appliances. But she balked when she added up the cost of all-new appliances, in addition to the home energy management system (HEMS) needed to connect them to each other to monitor and cut energy usage – a further $2,000-$3,000.
Sales of Japanese companies’ HEMS were helped over the last year by hefty government subsidies designed to stimulate energy efficiency – but they ended in October. Panasonic sold 20,000 HEMS units between April and September, double its full-year target, but said it’s unsure if that pace can be sustained without the subsidy.
Toshiba, meanwhile, wants 20 percent of its appliance sales to be from ‘smart’ goods by the end of fiscal 2014.