Last week saw
) lose some ground, with
) remaining notably resilient.
iPad Excitement Falls Flat
A recent report by Chitika Insights indicates that Apple's
iPad lost market share to its smaller rivals during the Christmas
season in the U.S. and Canada. Considering the fact that CEO Tim
Cook expected this to be an iPad Christmas, there was a great
deal of disappointment following the report.
Usually, in a consumer market, the market leader tends to
gradually lose some share to smaller rivals. This is not that
much of a concern and actual sales continue to grow as long as
the market itself is growing. But this is not what appears to be
happening, which is the real concern. Tablets are not real
alternatives for full-blown computing devices and therefore the
market for tablets is limited to a considerable extent.
This market is approaching its potential, particularly in the
developed markets of the U.S. and Canada. The Chitika report does
not indicate the rate at which the market itself grew, so actual
volume increase at each of the major players is not evident.
The other thing to keep in mind is the fact that Apple
products are premium quality, which also means they are priced at
a premium. Despite the price tag, Apple emerged with a 76.1%
market share post-holiday, which can't be considered a poor
showing by any standard. But future growth for the iPad is
greatly dependent on underpenetrated markets, so Apple's
international execution seems to be the thing to watch.
Facebook Hits Privacy Snag
Facebook shares slumped in the beginning of the week for no
apparent reason, but the losses were nothing compared to the
triple-digit gains over the last six months.
During the week however, the company saw privacy issues
resurfacing, with a couple of Facebook users (Matthew Campbell
and Michael Hurley) filing a lawsuit in a North California
district court. The plaintiffs allege that Facebook scans private
messages between users, extracting information that can then be
sold to advertisers, marketers and data aggregators.
They claim that these actions violate the provisions of the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other laws related to
privacy and unfair competition in California. Facebook has denied
Privacy concerns regarding Facebook are not new, but these
charges, if proved true, would indicate a lack of privacy and
therefore safety of Facebook users. Zuckerberg has previously
indicated a complete disregard for these sentiments by saying
things to the effect that people shouldn't be posting what they
don't want to publicize. But the inability to discuss issues
would render the platform useless except for the meaningless and
shallow conversations for which it has been criticized.
Overall usage trends for Facebook don't look bad at this
point: there is increasing usage of Facebook among older people
and increasing use of Instagram (which Facebook acquired) among
Intel Touches 52-week high
Sentiments toward chip giant Intel are being buoyed by recent
reports of stabilizing PC demand in developed markets. Maxim
Group said last week that Intel's fourth-quarter revenue may be
expected to come in at the high end of the guided range, driven
by improving PC builds and shipments, as well as stronger data
center demand. A Digitimes report also indicated positive trends
in the PC market. As a result, Intel shares pulled ahead of the
market and also touched a 52-week high.
Since recent discussions of Intel have centered on its success
or lack thereof in the mobile market, it's easy to overlook the
fact that mobile's importance comes from two factors - first,
mobile represents a very fast-growing market; and second (and
more important), mobile is eating into its core computing
But one can perceive a limit beyond which such cannibalization
is unlikely to continue because of the obvious advantages of
comprehensive computing systems. Intel remains very strongly
positioned in this segment and even stabilization or moderate
growth in this segment will look good for Intel because of the
progress it is making in mobile.
Additionally, Intel has significant capacity that will enable
it to ramp production very rapidly to take advantage of any
design wins. Being at the forefront of leading edge technology,
it is also in a position to generate stronger margins than
Last 6 Months
Other stories you may have missed
Chinese phone-makers have issues with Microsoft/Nokia
: Chinese phone makers Huawei and ZTE have asked the Ministry of
Commerce in China to see that wireless patent licensing fees are
not raised as a result of
) acquisition of Nokia. Chinese companies have been contained by
Apple and Samsung in the U.S., but they have a significantly
stronger position in the global market (four of the top seven
global players are Chinese according to IDC).
From SmartPhones to Auto
: EnvisionIP says that
) and Apple have recently acquired 310 and 35 auto-based patents,
respectively. Other technology companies looking for an entry
into the segment include Samsung (234 patents), LG (161), Sony
(155), Nokia (42) and BlackBerry (25). Google also has a pending
application for gesture-based control within the car. Automotive
entertainment, safety, control and navigation are some of the
areas with scope for electronic applications.
Google's Motorola Slashes Moto X prices
: Moto X (16GB) prices are now down to $399 without a contract,
significantly lower than the $550 it was previously selling for.
The phone currently sells only in North America, but the lower
price could be a first step toward offering it abroad, where
phones are generally sold without a contratct.
Other Networks Could be Gaining on Twitter
: A recent Pew Research survey mentioned that usage of Pinterest
) had spiked over the past year compared to
), which held relatively steady. Pew Research also mentioned some
race-based stats: A significantly higher percentage of blacks use
Twitter than whites and Hispanics. Engagement of Twitter was
however higher according to the survey.
Online Sales Grow in Q4
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