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How chips, PCs, services companies are faring
[December 03, 2012]

How chips, PCs, services companies are faring

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Companies providing computers, components, services and related software have begun releasing their earnings reports for the latest quarter. The reports come as consumers shift their spending toward tablets and a weak global economy curbs corporate spending on computers. Here's a look at how selected companies are faring.

_ Oct. 10: Research firms IDC and Gartner say worldwide shipments of PCs fell sharply in the third quarter, as some consumers spent their electronics dollars on smartphones and tablets and others held off for a new version of Windows. Gartner also estimates that Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. outsold Hewlett-Packard Co. for the first time to become the world's largest seller of PCs. IDC still had HP on top.

_ Oct. 16: Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker, says the usual bounce in sales due to the holiday season is likely to be cut in half this year, even though Microsoft is launching a new operating system that it says will get consumers excited about PCs again. In the quarter that just ended, Intel's revenue from PC chips fell 8 percent from a year ago, in line with reports from IDC and Gartner.

IBM Corp. says revenue slipped below Wall Street's expectations, much of it because of the economic deterioration in Europe and other parts of the world, which resulted in weakened international currencies and translated into fewer dollars on sales made abroad. IBM management also raised the specter of slowing demand for the company's technology-consulting services and business-software products as corporate customers become more cautious and debt-laden government agencies deal with budget cuts.

_ Oct. 18: Microsoft Corp. says net income fell 22 percent in the latest quarter as it deferred revenue from the sale of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system to PC makers _ and as PC sales in general took a dive. Excluding the deferrals, revenue for the Windows division fell 9 percent from a year ago, roughly in line with the decline in global PC shipments in the third quarter reported by research firms Gartner and IDC.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. says it will cut nearly 1,800 jobs, about 15 percent of its workforce, by the end of the year in order to reduce spending in the face of dwindling sales. CEO Rory Read says trends that are reshaping the PC industry are happening faster than the company expected. The job cuts were announced as AMD reported that its revenue tumbled 25 percent in its just-ended quarter.

SanDisk Corp. reports lower net income and revenue for the third quarter as the company sold fewer of its memory chips to gadget makers. But the results surpassed Wall Street's expectations, and SanDisk says it is gaining market share from competitors.

_ Oct. 22: Texas Instruments Inc. CEO Rich Templeton says the chipmaker executed well in the quarter "even though the economy and semiconductor market remained weak and likely will get weaker in the fourth quarter." Texas Instruments says it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 23 cents to 31 cents per share. That's below the 36 cents per share expected by analysts.

Hard drive maker Western Digital Corp. says first-quarter net income more than doubled from a year ago, helped by the March acquisition of a data storage subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. CEO John Coyne says a weak economy is "dampening near term demand" but said he remains confident in the company's prospects over the long term.

_ Oct. 23: Apple refreshes its lineup of Mac computers and introduces a 13-inch MacBook Pro model with a sharper, Retina display. It announces new iMacs for later this year, along with a faster, full-sized iPad tablet and a smaller one called the iPad Mini.

Xerox Corp. says net income fell 12 percent in the third quarter as growth in the company's services business only partly offset declines in the sale of equipment, supplies and related products.

_ Oct. 24: EMC Corp. says its net income and revenue grew at a slower pace in the third quarter as the uncertain economy led to more cautious spending by customers for its data storage equipment. The results fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

Business software maker SAP AG says third-quarter profit fell because of a large one-time gain booked then, but the company raises its sales outlook for the year and says its business in cloud computing was growing fast.

_ Oct. 25: Apple Inc. warns that profits will be down in the holiday quarter compared with a year ago because it's releasing so many new products. When a production line is new, it costs more to run and the components are more expensive.

_ Oct. 26: Strong sales of Galaxy phones propelled Samsung Electronics Co.'s quarterly profit to a record high, but there's concern its growth will slow in an increasingly crowded smartphone market.

Microsoft Corp. begins selling its Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet computer.

_ Oct. 31: Hard drive maker Seagate Technology PLC says net income jumped as its expenses decreased and its revenue rose after it bought Samsung's hard drive business.

_ Nov. 2: IDC says Google's Android software for mobile devices was running on 75 percent of smartphones shipped in the third quarter, as the search company extended its lead over Apple.

_ Nov. 5: IDC says Apple's share of the market for tablet computers fell to 50 percent in the third quarter as the iPad faced more competition from Android devices such as Samsung's Galaxy tablets and Google's Nexus 7. Apple still had a solid lead and shipped more iPads worldwide than a year earlier.

IHS iSuppli releases analysis showing that Microsoft and Apple are garnering the highest-profit margins for their tablets, followed by Google and then Amazon.

_ Nov. 7: Qualcomm Inc. says net income surged 20 percent, as the company's mobile phone shipments increased, driving revenue higher.

_ Nov. 8: Nvidia Corp. says earnings climbed 17 percent as the rapidly growing smartphone and tablet computer markets fueled demand for its graphic processing chips.

_ Nov. 15: Dell Inc. reports numbers that were slightly worse than analysts expected, even though investors were already bracing for a dismal quarter. In the latest quarter, revenue in Dell's mobility division fell by 9 percent from the same time last year, while desktop computer sales decreased by 8 percent.

_ Nov. 20: Hewlett-Packard Co. says revenue in its PC division fell 14 percent _ with revenue from commercial products down 13 percent and consumer products down 16 percent. Revenue in its printers division fell 5 percent.

Cloud computing company Inc. says its third-quarter loss widened due largely to a hefty income-tax charge, but its revenue grew 35 percent and adjusted earnings topped Wall Street's expectations.

_ Nov. 28: Microsoft says about 40 million licenses to Windows 8 were sold in its first month on the market, though that number includes licenses bought by PC manufacturers for machines built but not yet sold. Microsoft didn't provide further details beyond saying that Windows 8 is being embraced by a list of companies that include Johnson & Johnson, British Telecom and Bank of America Corp.

_ Nov. 29: NPD Group says sales of personal computers in the U.S. didn't get any boost from the launch of Windows 8. There's no sign that Windows 8 made things worse for PC makers. Rather, NPD says the weak sales are a continuation of a trend seen throughout this year.

(c) 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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