How chips, PCs, services companies are faring

AP News
Posted: Jun 22, 2012 12:51 PM
How chips, PCs, services companies are faring

A look at how selected companies providing computers, components, services and related software are faring:

April 11: Research groups Gartner and IDC estimate that PC shipments in the first quarter were ahead of their expectations, though growth was modest in light of competition from smartphones and tablet computers. Hewlett-Packard Co. appeared to have regained some of the business it had lost as it was weighing whether to dump its PC business. Lenovo Group Ltd. showed strong gains over last year. Dell Inc.'s market share fell as it focused on higher-end, higher-profit machines.

April 17: IBM Corp. reports flat revenue, falling short of analysts' expectations. Software and services revenue grew, but IBM's hardware and financing segments saw a decline.

Intel Corp. reports first-quarter results that were held back by a shortage of hard drives, which meant that PC makers had to curb production and needed fewer Intel chips. The scarcity was caused by flooding of hard-drive factories in Thailand last year. The company says hard-drive supplies improved during the quarter and the shortage is now over.

Seagate Technology PLC reports that its earnings in the latest quarter surged and revenue almost doubled. CEO Steve Luczo says the company benefited from a general recovery in the market for hard drives. But Seagate says it also shifted its product line to "industry-leading products" across all of its markets.

April 18: Strong demand boosted revenue at Qualcomm Inc. CEO Paul Jacobs says the company benefited from growing global demand for new 3G- and 4G-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. But he says the cost of making more 28 nanometer chips could cut into profit margins in upcoming months.

April 19: Microsoft Corp. reports a surprise rise in sales of its Windows operating system for personal computers. Analysts had assumed that many businesses and consumers thinking about buying a PC would hold off until Windows 8 hits the market in the fall. That didn't turn out to be the case as revenue in the Windows division increased 4 percent in the latest quarter.

EMC Corp., one of the world's largest makers of data-storage computers, says first-quarter earnings jumped 23 percent, boosted by increased demand for its cloud computing products.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. says its computing solutions unit had flat revenue, while the graphics segment saw a 7 percent decrease in revenue because of lower demand for desktop and mobile graphics.

SanDisk Corp., a maker of flash memory, says quarterly earnings sank by almost half amid weak demand and low selling prices — trends the company expects will continue in the current quarter. The company says it expects demand to rise, but not until the second half of 2012.

Altera Corp., a semiconductor maker, reports weak results it attributes to lighter-than-expected demand for its products, particularly from customers in the communications industry. In addition, the company said it had some issues trying to fill orders that arrived in the last month of the quarter. The company expects its business to rebound in the second quarter and says its backlog has significantly improved since the end of the quarter on stronger demand for its products.

April 23: Chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc. says the business cycle "bottomed" in the first quarter. Orders rose 13 percent. CEO Rich Templeton says 2012 will be "a good year for growth."

Xerox Corp. says revenue from its services business grew, while technology revenue, such as sales of document systems and supplies, declined. Services now make up more than half the company's revenue.

April 24: Apple Inc.'s Mac sales for the quarter came in slightly below expectations, at 4 million. But Apple once again reported blowout iPhone sales, along with iPad sales that were two and a half times what it sold a year earlier. The relative strength of iPhone sales means they accounted for 58 percent of Apple's revenue, more than ever. Three years ago, the figure was 27 percent.

April 25: Business software maker SAP AG says net income rose 10 percent in the first quarter. It cited strong sales momentum for its high-speed HANA data platform and cloud-computing acquisition SuccessFactors.

April 26: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which supplies chips under contract for other companies including Apple, predicts "solid growth" with stronger-than-anticipated demand for smartphones and tablet computers coming from the U.S. and China.

Western Digital Corp., a leading maker of hard drives, says production is heading back up. That led to a drop in its stock price, as a bigger supply could lead to lower prices. CEO John Coyne says Western Digital and its suppliers have now recovered fully from the floods that hit factories in Thailand last year. They had led to industrywide shortages of hard drives.

May 11: Nvidia Corp., which makes graphics chips and processors for PCs, tablets and other devices, reports quarterly results that beat expectations and gives strong revenue guidance for the current quarter.

May 17: Inc., a maker of Web-based business software, says it lost money in the first quarter, but adjusted profit and revenue beat expectations, and the company raised its forecast for full-year results.

May 22: Dell Inc. says total product revenue fell 5 percent to $11.42 billion in the latest quarter as revenue from mobility products, software, desktop PCs, and storage products all decreased. Sales to consumers took a particularly sharp decline of 12 percent, while sales to the public sector fell 4 percent and revenue from large businesses decreased by 3 percent. Sales to small and medium businesses grew 4 percent.

May 23: Hewlett-Packard Co. announces plans to cut 27,000 workers, or 8 percent of its work force, as the growing popularity of smartphones, the iPad and other mobile devices makes it tougher for the company to sell personal computers. Revenue in the PC division was flat as revenue from consumer products fell 4 percent, offset by a 3 percent increase in revenue from businesses.

Lenovo Group Ltd., the world's second largest PC maker, says quarterly profit rose 59 percent on record sales. The company reported strong growth in Europe and North America despite economic problems there. For the fiscal year ending in March, global PC shipments rose 35 percent, while market share rose to a new high of 12.9 percent.

June 11: Texas Instruments narrowed its profit and revenue forecasts for the second quarter. The company's new outlook remains in the range of analysts' estimates.

Monday: Oracle Corp reports a 7 percent gain in its sales of new software licenses, indicating there is still strong demand for technology that helps businesses automate their administrative tasks.

Wednesday: Micron Technology Inc. posts a larger loss than what analysts expected for the latest quarter. Raymond James analyst Hans Mosesmann blames relatively low prices for flash memory. Prices should improve later this year when Windows 8 comes out, stimulating demand for flash-rich tablets and notebook computers.