Despite some shadows cast by Lenovo and Cisco earnings, IT stocks have had a strong week overall, with Nasdaq tech stocks reaching their highest point since the third quarter of 2000, during the dot-com bust.
On Wednesday, Lenovo reported that for the fourth quarter, net profit jumped 30 percent year over year to US$265 million, while net sales rose 15 percent to $10.8 billion. Tablets were star performers, as sales of the devices increased 326 percent year-over-year to 3.4 million units.
Considering the global weakness in the overall hardware market, the company had good news for PCs as well. The company said it shipped 17.3 million mobile devices in the quarter, up from 15.3 million PCs a year earlier.
The company has been also been growing by acquisition, recently announcing planned purchases of Google’s Motorola Mobility and IBM’s low-end server unit. The bad news is that the company said it expects its profit will drop in the short-term with the proposed acquisitions.
This interview with Satya Nadella, his first since taking over as chief executive of Microsoft, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. What leadership lessons have you learned from your predecessor, Steve Ballmer?
A. The most important one I learned from Steve happened two or three annual reviews ago. I sat down with him, and I remember asking him: “What do you think? How am I doing?” Then he said: “Look, you will know it, I will know it, and it will be in the air. So you don’t have to ask me, ‘How am I doing?’ At your level, it’s going to be fairly implicit.”
I went on to ask him, “How do I compare to the people who had my role before me?” And Steve said: “Who cares? The context is so different. The only thing that matters to me is what you do with the cards you’ve been dealt now. I want you to stay focused on that, versus trying to do this comparative benchmark.” The lesson was that you have to stay grounded, and to be brutally honest with yourself on where you stand.
IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company comprising Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, CIO Executive Council, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld—releases the results from the 2014 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research. The study reveals the IT roles involved at each stage of the technology purchase process, the resources relied on to stay informed on new technologies as well as vendor engagement during the purchase process.
Some of the largest Internet companies — including Apple, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft — are rushing to either acquire or strike licensing deals with smaller, location-based mobile platforms. The trend underscores the importance of location data for ad-targeting purposes and illustrates how large platforms are trying to avoid being left behind as the Web becomes increasingly mobile.
Local advertising spend on digital, for instance, is expected to grow to $35.3 billion in 2015 from $30.7 billion in 2014, a 14.9 percent increase, according to a November 2013 BIA/Kelsey study. Those figure don’t even account for the $105 billion local ad dollars that will keep going to traditional media annually from 2014 to 2017.
Here are the acquisition and data licensing deals you need to know about:
Yahoo and Yelp
Marissa Mayer’s quest to make Yahoo mobile first most recently entailed striking a deal with local business review site Yelp. The partnership, arranged last week, will mean Yelp’s local business listings and accompanying customer reviews will start appearing in Yahoo’s search results.
IT spending by utilities in the four major Middle East and African countries (Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) increased 9.2% year on year in 2013 to total just under $1 billion, according to the latest round of data released by IDC Energy Insights. The figure is set to reach $1.05 billion in 2014.
The Middle East’s young and continuously growing population, along with a strong increase in national income, is driving rapid growth in demand for electricity across the region. In Africa, meanwhile, investments in restructuring the power sector, building essential infrastructure, deploying renewable energy (mainly solar), and making clean water accessible to all dominate the agenda and are combining to ratchet up the demand for energy across the region.
Currently accounting for around 45% of external IT spending in the utilities sector, IT services will be in particularly high demand over the coming years, with investments soaring by an annual average rate of more than 14% between 2012 and 2017. The need for more efficient operational modules (e.g., enterprise asset management, billing, data analytics) and heightened security will also propel software spending, with investment in this area set to grow at an average of 9.6% over the same period.
For Americans, cell phones are omnipresent. Many check their Facebook page multiple times a day. Access to WiFi is not a problem for most. Technology use in the U.S. has risen over the past two decades as products and service became more sophisticated and affordable.
A new Pew Research Center report provides a fascinating snapshot of how, within a remarkably short time, some developing nations are catching up – especially when it comes to mobile devices and social media. In other cases, the data are a reminder that some countries still have a technology profile that is 20th Century. Here are some of the key comparisons.
Cell phone and smartphone usage
Recent surveys at Pew Research show that 91% of American adults have cell phones and that smartphones have overtaken simpler “feature phones” in popularity. The adoption pattern of cell phones in emerging countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Chile do not look very different from America. China and Russia have even nudged ahead of the U.S. But other countries lag. In Pakistan, slightly more than half have a cell phone and in Mexico, it’s just above six-in-ten. Still, the rapid rise in cell phone ownership is quite breathtaking and might be due to the fact that many nations, unlike the U.S., have skipped landline technology and moved straight to mobile.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 12, 2014 – To mark its 50th anniversary as the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets, International Data Corporation (IDC) today announced the launch of a commemorative micro-site featuring highlights from IDC’s history and focusing on new technology market trends and opportunities.
Founded in Newton, Massachusetts by Patrick J. McGovern, IDC’s first publication was the EDP Industry and Market Report, which announced the pending launch of the IBM System/360 in its inaugural issue. In just a few short years, IDC’s forecast and analysis reports attracted a following among professionals in the nascent computing industry. As the industry grew and evolved, IDC’s research expanded to meet market needs. In 2013, IDC published more than 4,700 reports, ranging from technology market revenue forecasts and vendor evaluations to deep analyses of industry events and what IT buyers need.
Since its inception, IDC has been an early mover and leader in expanding into international markets, following the expansion of the IT industry as computing power was deployed in businesses around the world. After establishing its headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, IDC opened its first international office in London in 1968, followed four years later by an office in Tokyo, its first in the Asia/Pacific region. Today, IDC has offices in 54 countries and provides research coverage for more than 110 countries worldwide. With nearly half of its 1,100-plus analysts based in emerging markets, IDC offers an unparalleled understanding of how information technology is impacting local economies as well as the global economy.
The Taiwanese company that makes the display used in Google’s Glass head-mounted display says it’s working with multiple big-name electronics companies on head-mounted gadget products.
Himax executives wouldn’t divulge the identities of the companies they are working with, but said they are big and sales should increase this year.
“We continue to work with multiple customers, quite a few of which are top-notch names in IT or the Internet space,” said Jordan Wu, president and CEO of Himax, in a conference call with analysts. “Let me put it this way, they are all number one of something, and we have customers from all leading countries in the consumer electronics space.”
“These days, people take extraordinary measures to protect the confidentiality of their new product launches,” he said. “It is even more so for head-mounted products, because it is a totally new product category for everybody.”
The displays use a technology called liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) that, as the name suggests, combines a liquid crystal layer on a silicon backplane. They have been most commonly found in projectors until now but are expected to become the dominant technology in head-mounted displays like Google Glass.
The past 30 days are littered with the corporate wreckage of years of declining PC sales—or at least, the kind of PCs that run Windows. On February 4, Nikkei reported that Sony is selling its money-losing Vaio PC division to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners for $490 million. Gartner and IDC announced that sales of PCs were down 10% in 2013—leading HP, which has refused to trade profits for market share, to cede its title (paywall) of the world’s biggest manufacturer of PCs by volume. Dell is laying off between 15,000 employees (according to sources outside the company) and 2,000 employees (according to sources within it). We’ll probably never know the actual number, since the company is now private
Lenovo may be the #1 manufacturer of PCs in the world, but HP and Dell are still #2 and #3, and have 16.2% and 11.6% of the market. So can we imagine a world in which they’re not selling PCs at all?
HP is leaving the PC business before the PC business leaves it
The old adage about how the stone age didn’t end for a lack of stones applies here. HP CEO Meg Whitman has said that she believes there will be a substantial market for tablets specialized for business, and the company is pushing Android, not Windows, on new devices aimed at this market. HP also makes what is arguably the best Google Chromebook aimed at everyday consumers. Since 2011, rumors have surfaced and resurfaced that HP might spin off its PC division entirely. Whichever strategy the company pursues, it doesn’t look like its future is selling boxes that run Microsoft Windows.