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Bob’s Byte

Feeling Boxed In Because Business is Bad?

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Feeling Boxed In Because Business is Bad?

If the Number One PC maker jumping out of the PC business didn't scare you, then maybe it was the Gartner report. The one that noted PC sales were down nearly 19% in Europe and not coming back. Or maybe you read all those news  articles about the large retailers who are showing up in the RED for their 2011 earnings calls?

Let's stop kidding ourselves: PC sales are down and we don't know when or if they are coming back. If people buy less PCs, they will buy less PC components, accessories, peripherals and etc.

So what can we do? If you are a retailer, reseller, or distributor, here are some thoughts:

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Tablets a fad? What Stan Shih Really Means

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Tablets a fad? What Stan Shih Really Means

"The fads for ultrabooks and tablets PCs are both short-term phenomena," said Stan Shih.

Having met and interviewed Stan Shih several times in the the past, it's easy to see why some of the journalists may misinterpret his recent quote...a quote that can be dangerous if taken out of context.

Stan Shih is not the "Acer boss" as some of these press accounts suggest. He certainly is the co-Founder of Acer (with his wife and 5 others) and still Chairman Emeritus. The Acer boss would be J.T.Wang, Chairman & CEO. If you'll remember, president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci resigned March 31, 2011 following a disagreement with the board of directors over the direction of the company.

Lanci’s resignation came after a meeting with the directors, in which the two sides could not agree on several aspects of Acer’s future, from growth to customer relations to brand management, the company said in a statement. The resignation was immediate, and J.T. Wang took over as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is found. (I am not sure they are looking hard and my guess is they will promote from within after Wang is satisfied with upcoming talent.)

When contacted at that time by the press, Stan Shih fully agreed with Wang and the directors. Lanci, one of the very few Europeans ever to run a Taiwan company at the executive level, was-- in effect-- condemned for being out-of-touch with the market and missing both the tablet and mobile bandwagons.

So for Shih now to condemn tablets and ultrabooks as a "fad" would be a shocking reversal. It's not.

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Portable Connectivity: SD Memory Card’s Faster Role

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Portable Connectivity: SD Memory Card’s Faster Role

In this last decade, the undisputed leader in consumer electronics has been Apple...people stood in lines just to buy Apple’s i-products, their much-coveted inventory has been sold out often, and their subcontractors regularly ran out of components trying to meet demand. Nothing has been hotter in CE than sizzling Apple, right?

So here’s a question for you. Do you think you would you have done better 10 years ago by accepting 5 euro for each iPad sold (25 million as of June 2011), each iPhone sold (100 million as of March 2011) and each iPod sold (300 million at Jan. 2011)—or by accepting 1 euro for each SD memory card shipped?

Yes, that’s right...the SD memory card...that humble, under-estimated memory card that goes inside mobile phones, media players, computers, televisions, personal navigation devices, digital cameras and many other consumer electronics gadgets.

You probably guessed right if you read the title of this article: the SD memory card is one of the consumer electronics industry’s most successful innovations with an estimated 2.5 billion SD memory cards shipped in its 10-year history.

During those 10 years as Apple polished its fame, SD memory card went quietly about its business. Life is not fair and nor is business... the SD memory card will probably never receive the public acclaim that Apple elicits. Yet inside the CE business, this unsung product hero has outsold Apple’s biggest hits by 5:1.

During the past 10 years, the SD Association has seen an estimated 8000-plus consumer electronics models manufactured by more than 400 brands worldwide rely on SD standards. More than 1000 members give the SD memory card an ecosystem that boosts the removable media market leader to nearly 80% market share today.

And it all started with a first SD memory cards that offered an impressive (at that time) 8MB of storage capacity in the size of a postage stamp.

If that one sales record of 2.5 billion sold was all to be said, SD would still go down in CE history as one of our greatest products...but-- like Apple—the SD Association has had to adopt continuous innovation to succeed.

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AMD & The Ride of the Headless Horseman

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AMD & The Ride of the Headless Horseman

AMD posts Q2 profits that beat Wall Street’s expectations and sent its shares soaring more than 16%

That was despite a drop in revenue.

So what's the lesson here?

AMD has been without a CEO since January, when Dirk Meyer was forced out on January 10th. Maybe AMD is pioneering a new management model, much in the same way Belgium is leading the new political model by showing countries really can do just as well without a government (and those highly-paid heads).

Meyer had been making an annual salary of $950,000, plus a "target" annual bonus of $1.9 million (says Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants LLC). Now that drops to the bottom line. And the effective AMD managers keep Fusion going without interference from the top. Imagine how much less politics when no egos to stroke, no political agenda at play.

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The Day Today: IPv6 Day

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The Day Today: IPv6 Day

Meet IPv6 and the Broken Web.

Like most stories, the story of how IP will break down in 2012 is more complicated than the simple explanation put forward.

When we deplete available IPv4 addresses this year, to continue growth, the internet must switch to the new standard, IPv6. This seems to rival climate change in the public's ability to absorb and react to this fact.

But IPv4 depletion denial is only the simple affliction. Now the industry recognizes a second syndrome that will strike down several Continue reading...

What Intel Thinks about Netbooks, Tablets & What's-Its-Name

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Wow...we are in bad shape when even Intel can't find a proper name for a new category of device. These are the folks that supposedly pay six-figures for monikers for chips that once had names like T781ZXCS103.

That's right: we're supposed to officially call the latest trend "Hybrid Device."  And the new hybrid is just one part of the market that Intel calls "Mobility" along with the other better-known suspects, Netbooks and Tablets.

Notebooks are not mentioned here because this is Intel's new Netbook & Tablet division that's trying to wrestle to the ground the high-flying tablet market that caught the industry by surprise. Well, not exactly "surprise.."  There must be a different word for when the industry gets all excited about a concept (in 1999) and it seems to hit with a dud instead of a bang, but then years later (2010) it pops up as a great idea. How about "recidiviprise" or at least "reocurprise?"

Forget notebooks for the minute...many of the consumers have anyways. Let's look at the Mobility world through Intel eyes...

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The Munich Hall Theory of CeBIT Goes Down

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The Munich Hall Theory of CeBIT Goes Down

These are hallowed halls, these walls of the Munich Beer Hall. CeBIT's most famous place of distraction, the "Hangover Hall" behind Hall 3.

It's one experience that most CeBIT newbies carry home...along with the hangover and an appreciation of Bavarian culture (acquired, of course, via northern Hannover).

During the heyday of CeBIT, the robust woman who owns the Munich hall, her hands sporting diamonds on every finger, once explained to me she made 2 million euros per night during the show.

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Software Needs a Roof

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Software Needs a Roof

"All Your Software Needs Under One Roof," promised the Fry's ad. But whose roof? Generally retailers hate selling software.  It's more than what you'd call "a problem category:"  it's a "forget-it, let's-not-talk-about it" category.

If retailers are rather notorious about lacking interest in software, then they also never advertise software. So I clicked on the Fry's ad in SiliconValley.com hoping to learn what Fry's has discovered that the rest of us don't yet know...

That click led me to Continue reading...

The Short, Happy Life of Chrome OS

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The Short, Happy Life of Chrome OS

Born 2010. Died 2012.

Life is so fragile, even for those born to rich parents.

The creator of Gmail (and founder of FriendFeed) says Chrome OS will perish or be merged with Android next year. The fact he now works for Facebook makes this look like sour apples (a New York way of saying he is motivated to make negative comments).

But Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, actually says Chrome and Android will merge over time. We're thinking Chrome OS will live through 2011, but not much longer... Continue reading...

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