Though the shutdown and spending cuts by the U.S. government are taking a toll on IT sales this year, market surveys and financial results from the likes of Apple and Facebook this week show some positive signs for tech.
The global enterprise software market expanded by 5.5 percent year over year during the first half of 2013 to US$179 billion, a result that suggests a tentative rebound from economic turmoil in Europe, according to analyst firm IDC.
After a rollercoaster ride, tech stocks rebounded toward the end of the week following reports of a possible compromise on the political impasse over the U.S. budget.
The PC market remained weak in the third quarter, but the expiration of Microsoft's support for Windows XP in April next year may have prompted users to look at upgrades, which eased the slump.
Smartphone vendors have rekindled their infatuation with enterprises as the consumer segment fizzles; this week's exhibit is the launch of LG Electronics' Gate, which separates users' professional and private lives through virtualization.
Increasing sales of cheaper systems helped fuel growth in the high-performance computing (HPC) sector during the second quarter, while interest in high-end supercomputers cooled.
The PC market will weaken even further this year and Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 OS will be unable to reverse the drop in shipments, IDC said on Thursday.
Researcher IDC today slightly lowered its tablet shipment forecast for 2013 and beyond, blaming competition from larger-sized smartphones and futuristic wearable computing devices.
China will soon roll out a plan to stimulate sales of IT products, which could help revive PC shipments in the nation, and further stimulate purchases of smartphones.
The BlackBerry 10 OS was supposed to save BlackBerry, but the company's phones have now has slipped into fourth place, according to IDC and others.
Sales of tablets, including Apple's iPad, slowed during the second quarter, according to a Monday report by IDC. But the real news may be the rise of "no-name" tablets, which are now the largest segment of the tablet market.
Weakness in the global economy, component shortages, sluggish demand for Windows 8 and the popularity of tablets all contributed to another double-digit percentage decline for the global PC market in the second quarter.
Huawei calls the Windows Phone platform weak despite using it as the foundation for some of the smartphones it makes.
While Windows 8 is getting blamed for dismal PC sales, upgrading laptops and desktop systems isn't a priority for business users, according to new research.
The shift toward smaller tablets will accelerate in the second half of the year when a slew of tablet makers, including Apple, introduce new models with screens 8-in. or smaller, said Richard Shim, an analyst with DisplaySearch.
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