Chinese firm Founder and Taiwanese company Acer have signed a memorandum of mutual understanding in order to secure a strong foothold in a market where demand for PCs is mounting.

After announcing a range of new products in Beijing yesterday, Acer said the partnership would be equal.

It said in a statement: “Both parties intend to jointly involve Acer in the planning, development and design of Founder-brand products for more competitive offerings, such as notebooks, netbooks, mobile Internet devices and e-readers."

It said that due to the collaboration, its PC market share in the first quarter in China will rise from only 3% to 9.4% and will help narrow its gap with Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) 10.3%. However, it is unclear on how the partnership will work and whether the 2 companies will remain as single entities or merge as Acer would not give any comment about business logistics.

However it said with Founder's comprehensive distribution channels and strength in the PC market together with those in tier-four to six cities, rural areas and in segments of corporate and governmental clients, and with Acer's capability in defining and designing mobile products, the team would be able to "build up strong synergy on product offerings, supply chain and channel coverage".

It also said the partners would work together on intellectual property rights, supply chain and after-service as well as researching into the handheld PCBs and non-PC products businesses.

Lenovo is also doing very well in the Chinese market. Yesterday the Chinese company released its annual figures, where it stated that it has turned in a profit for its fiscal fourth quarter and increased its sales at the expense of other PC manufacturers.

For its fourth quarter, it made a profit of $13 million, compared to a loss of $264 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales for the fourth quarter were sharply up by 56% year on year to amount to $4.3 billion compared to $2.77 billion in the equivalent quarter last year.

However it seems not everyone is eager to copy Acer's footsteps with Asustek claiming it has no plans for a merger. Instead it is concentrating in expanding its market share through its existing motherboard and graphics card channel.

A latest report from Strategy Analysts has revealed that Sony's PlayStation 3 is increasing its global market share at the expense of Microsoft's Xbox 360.

For the first quarter of 2010, the PS3's global share shot up to 31% - a combination of the price cut,'Slim' console and AAA software such as God of War III and Uncharted 2 had been cited as catalysts for the increase. Strategy Analysts' report forecasts that Sony's platform will reach 14 million global sales, compared to 17.5 million Wiis and 10.5 million Xbox 360s.

"Our analysis shows that while Wii sales fell relative to Q109, its share in fact remained constant relative to Q409. The main movement in Q1 2010 was the growing share for Sony’s PS3, at the expense of Microsoft’s Xbox 360," said David Mercer, Principal Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

"The PS3 continues to benefit from the price cut last September. This should help the PS3 maintain growth momentum throughout 2010," Mercer added, while noting that "the introduction of the Natal technology should also help re-energize Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform in the second half of the year."

The research firm claims that the global games market is facing "major uncertainties" for the rest of this year noting the "extent and pace of the Wii’s decline," and not knowing what kind of impact the upcoming release of the motion controls will have on consumers for both Sony and Microsoft. Strategy Analytics also believes that global video game console sales will fall by 9% by the end of this year.

HP has become the bestselling brand when it comes to servers, knocking IBM from the top spot.

Over the last year, the company gained 2.7 percent of market share, leaving it with 31.5 percent overall and $3.4 billion of revenue from its server products, according to the latest report from Gartner.

Conversely IBM managed to lose 2.1 per cent market share and dropped down to second place with 28.4 percent and just over $3 billion of revenue.

The overall server market performed well, with worldwide shipments rising by 23 percent in just the first quarter of 2010 coupled with a six per cent improvement on revenues, but it is still not quite back to the dizzy heights once experienced by the manufacturers.

"We've seen a return to growth on a worldwide level, but the market has not yet returned to the historical quarterly highs that were posted in 2008,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.

The European regions had a somewhat smaller than average growth in shipments of 19.7 percent but managed to secure a 6.6 per cent growth in revenues.

Adrian O’Connell, principal research analyst at Gartner, warned that the market didn’t have as far to climb as other areas in the first place though.

“Although the EMEA server market is returning to growth in shipment and revenue terms, we need to recognise that this is growth from a low base, as the first quarter of 2009 saw a decline of 27.1 percent in shipments and a decline of 34.2 percent in revenue year over year,” he said in a statement.

“Nevertheless, current market levels remain below those seen at the start of 2008, indicating that there is opportunity for stronger penetration in the EMEA server market.”

World's number two truck maker Volvo's Volvo Trucks unit has won market share as industry order bookings revive from a plunge suffered due to the global downturn, a top executive told a newspaper on Monday.

"We have a cooperation in the business where we inform each other about order intake and our order figures show that we are winning market share," Volvo Trucks Chief Executive Staffan Jufors told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.

Volvo, which sells trucks in separate units under its own name as well as brands such as Renault, Mack and UD Trucks, has seen demand recover in recent months from the steepest downturn in decades as the global financial crisis struck in late 2008.

"We have increased production substantially since the autumn and are now prepared for a further increase in production by 30 percent. We expect to take shares in the market," Jufors was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The Volvo group slashed thousands of jobs to scale back costs in the face of the downturn, helping the Gothenburg-based manufacturer swing to a profit in the first quarter after a dismal 2009.

"Our profitability is better than before the economic crisis and the break-even level is considerably lower," Jufors said.

Perhaps Redmond should hurry up with IE 9. According to the most recent data from Forrester Research, business market share for Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE6 through IE8) has slipped nearly five percent, while Firefox and Chrome are on the rise.

To keep things in perspective, that's a slip from 77.2 percent in April 2009 to 72.5 percent in March 2010,IE still has triple the market share of its nearest rival, Firefox, which enjoyed a three-percent bump, from 17 to 20 percent. As for Chrome, Google's PR folks can happily trumpet that Chrome has tripled its share: from 2.3 percent to 6.9 percent.

The former fourth competitor, Apple's Safari, is looking more and more like Mosaic 2: Doomed to get squeezed out by bigger, badder competitors. Its share has fallen from miniscule (1.25 percent) to statistically insignificant (less than one half of one percent).

The big question, then, is what's fueling the move away from IE and toward competitors. Forrester offers some suggestions -- Firefox's bevy of add-ons, Chrome's speed and features for so-called "tech-savvy, empowered workers," and the security issues that have plagued IE. And it's worth noting that browser market share isn't a zero-sum game, since plenty of people use more than one browser. Still, IE's share is shrinking, and users usually don't jump ship unless they are unhappy.

And failing an incredibly irresistible IE 9, it's hard to imagine IE's share recovering. As InfoWorld's Neil McAllister says, "People who start using IE do it because it's there; it's the lazy option. People who do not to use IE are probably not going to go back to IE, because they have already made a choice not to. So unless the total number of people using Windows is growing measurably, IE's market share cannot go up. It can only go down."

According to a Billboard report, Apple has continued to gain market share among music distributors in the US. Apple's market share rose to 26.7 percent in 2009, up from 21.4 percent in the previous year.

Walmart still holds the second spot, although the company's market share has continued to decline to 12.5 percent. Other retailers, such as Best Buy, showed similar lackluster numbers, as many moved to scale back floor space dedicated to CD sales.

Amazon's performance improved slightly in 2009, with market share rising from 4.9 percent to 7.1 percent. The company's digital distribution, when seen as a separate entity, nearly doubled its take to reach 1.3 percent, although still falling short of iTunes. The company has still proven incapable to put a dent in Apple's sales, despite previous analyst expectations.

Apple's move to allow variable pricing on iTunes tracks has been credited as a key factor behind the 2009 increase, although it remains unclear if the company will maintain strong momentum despite an overall decline in digital sales.

Gartner's Q1 2010 Smartphone Sales Chart
Gartner released a new report that detailed worldwide smartphone sales to end users by operating system during the first quarter of 2010.

The research firm found that Android's marketshare rose from 1.6% during the first quarter of 2009 to 9.6% during the first quarter of 2010. That pushed Google's operating system past Microsoft's Windows Mobile, which had a 10.1% market share during the first quarter of 2009 and fell to just a 6.8 percent share during Q1 2010. Apple's iPhone OS X had a 15.4% share during the first quarter, up from a 10.5% share in Q1 2009.

Nokia and RIM have the greatest OS share globally. Nokia's Symbian OS has a current share of 44.3%, down from 48.8% during Q1 2009, and RIM's OS share is 19.4%, also down from the 20.6% share it held in the first quarter of 2009.

Apple's 8.75 million iPhones shipped in the first 3 months of 2010 managed to edge Motorola, which sold 8.5 million handsets during the same period, according to new data from iSuppli. During the quarter, Apple was the No. 6 overall cell phone maker in the world, while Motorola came in at 8. iSuppli called Apple's growth in the global market a "changing of the guard" in the cell phone industry.

Apple was propelled by 130.7 percent year-over-year growth, up notably from the 3.79 million iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2009. The Cupertino, Calif., company still remains behind Research in Motion, which has 3.6 percent of the market with 10.47 million BlackBerrys sold in the first quarter of 2010.

The numbers serve to demonstrate what a small portion smartphones are of the overall cell phone market. The top global brand during the quarter was Nokia, which sold a total of 107.8 million cell phones and smartphones during the quarter. Competitors Apple and RIM, however, do not sell traditional cell phones.

The latest numbers also demonstrate how far Motorola has fallen: In the first quarter of 2007, the company was the second-largest cell phone shipper in the world, behind only Nokia. Recently, Motorola has shifted its focus to higher margin smartphones, like the Droid.

The report noted that the smartphone market is expected to continue to grow, which could result in both RIM and Apple ousting some of the biggest players in the global cell phone market. Within their sights is No. 4 Sony Ericsson, which has 3.6 percent of the market, but fell 27.6 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

Samsung Electronic’s share of the U.S. mobile phone market exceeded 30% for the first time ever in the first quarter.

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics on Sunday, Samsung sold 12.3 million handsets in the U.S. in the first 3 months of the year, taking up 30.1% of the market.

The company grabbed a 26.5% share of the Canadian market in the quarter by selling 600,000 units.

With a combined market share of 29.9% in the U.S. and Canada, Samsung has maintained the top position in the North American market for seven quarters in a row.

LG Electronics sold 7.9 million mobile phones in North America to come in second place with an 18.3% share.

Research In Motion, maker of the Blackberry smartphone, was in third with 11.8%. By selling 5.1 million handsets, RIM edged out Motorola for the first time. Motorola came in fourth with sales of 4.7 million units and a 10.9% market share. Apple, with a market share of 7.1%, was fifth with sales of 3.1 million iPhones.

Swiss food behemoth Nestle(NSRGY) is seeking to intensify its imprint in the $6.6 billion U.K. confectionery market even though its competitors are becoming bigger and stronger, a report says: the new Kraft(KFT) and Cadbury entity is one example, of course.

Nestle aims to increase its share in the U.K. confectionery market by up to 0.2% points a year from the current 16%, the report says.

Meanwhile, Kraft has seen its U.K. share shoot up to about 30% from just 2% to 3% after buying Cadbury earlier this year, and Mars saw its market share rise to 24% after buying Wrigley two years ago.

"The two moves have concentrated the players, but not concentrated the brands. Consumers still have a similar number of brands to choose from," Nestle's head of U.K. and Ireland confectionery David Rennie told Reuters at Nestle's York plant in northern England.

A challenge for Nestle is coming in the form of climbing commodity prices, like that of cocoa, which is a key ingredient for the maker of KitKat, Crunch and Smarties. Still, despite all the growing competition and raw material pressures, the company says it won't be cutting any jobs for the sake of gaining competitive edge, Reuters says.

Nestle stock is down 2% to $46.58, while Kraft is 1.5% lower at $29.85.

Marketers in the U.S. considerably increased their spending on online display ads in the first quarter, as social networking leader Facebook served up the most impressions of this type of ad, according to comScore.

Display ad impressions rose 15% in the first quarter, year-on-year, to 1.1 trillion and spending on this ad format totaled US$2.7 billion, or $2.48 per thousand impressions (CPM).

Facebook grabbed a 16.2% share of impressions, edging former leader Yahoo, which nabbed 12.1% of the total. This represents quite a change from 2009's first quarter, when Yahoo had a 13% share and Facebook ranked third with 7.5%.

Yahoo has traditionally been the market leader in display advertising, an ad format that includes rich media ads, static banners and that generates a major portion of the company's revenue.

Yahoo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding comScore's findings, although it's safe to assume that Yahoo executives can't be thrilled to see Facebook serving up so many more display ads, which are vital to Yahoo's financial well-being.

Microsoft finished third in this year's first quarter, with 5.5%, up from 4.6% in last year's first quarter. Fox Interactive Media, which includes MySpace, saw its share stumble from 11.6% in 2009's first quarter to 4.9%. AOL finished fifth and its share also fell, from 6.3% to 2.9%. Neither MySpace nor AOL immediately responded to requests for comment.

Ranking sixth with 2.4% was Google, which has been trying furiously for years to beef up its display ad business and diversify its revenue stream, which depends overwhelmingly on pay-per-click text search ads.

Reporting a 63% profits raise in its third quarter results Wednesday, Cisco Systems said it has been gaining market share and predicted the favorable conditions would continue in its next quarter.

Revenue in the third quarter jumped to $10.37 billion from $8.2 billion in the third quarter last year while income rose to $2.2 billion against $1.35 billion last year. The results generally beat predictions of investment banking analysts who follow the networking giant.

"We witnessed a return to strong balanced growth across geographies, products and customer segments that we haven't seen since before the global economic challenges began," said Cisco's chairman and CEO John Chambers in a statement. "We emerge from this downturn gaining market share, a larger share of the total wallet spend of our customers, dramatically improved customer relations as a trusted technology and business partner, and having next-generation products in almost every product category."

The company cited its acquisition of video communications provider Tandberg as a high point in the quarter. Cisco paid $3.3 billion for Tandberg after a lengthy and sometimes bruising struggle with the Norwegian firm's stockholders. Tandberg's video conferencing systems beefed up Cisco's already sturdy presence in video conferencing and Telepresence.

Cisco also singled out its accelerating partnership with VMware in which the two firms are cooperating to deliver Cisco's Unified Computing System and VMware vSphere. VMware is majority-owned by storage pacesetter EMC, which is moving aggressively with Cisco to stake out positions in data centers and cloud computing.

In the earnings report, released after the close of stock markets Wednesday, Chambers added: "From almost every measurement perspective - revenues, earnings per share, new products, successful acquisitions, internal startups -- our results in Q3 were the proof points that our strategy is working and was probably the strongest quarter in our history."

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) increased its share of the Internet search market in April compared with the previous month, mostly at the expense of sector giant Google Inc. (GOOG).

According to monthly data from comScore Inc. (SCOR), Google remained the market leader by a wide margin, powering 64.4% of U.S. searches. But its share fell 0.7 percentage point from March, while that of Yahoo rose 0.8 point to 17.7%. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) increased its share of searches by 0.1 point to 11.8%.

Yahoo has been posting share gains as it begins to reap rewards from a search pact with Microsoft.

During the first quarter, Yahoo launched its 10-year revenue-sharing partnership. Under the pact, Microsoft's Bing will power searches on Yahoo's Web properties. And the Bing engine started chipping away at Google's broad lead after a splashy launch last summer.

Ask Network, owned by IAC/Interactive Corp. (IACI) captured 3.7%, followed by AOL Inc. (AOL) at 2.4%--both were down 0.1 point.

Analysis firm comScore has released the latest mobile subscriber market share numbers, for the month ended March 31st, 2010.

At the end of the period, there were 234 million Americans with mobile phones, with the most popular manufacturer, by fractions, being Samsung at 21.92 percent.

In second place was Motorola with 21.9 percent, and LG just as close behind with 21.8 percent.

Rounding out the top 5 was RIM at 8.3 percent and Nokia at the same percentage. Apple, with only one phone available, came in sixth at 5 percent.

As for top carriers, Verizon led the way at 31.1 percent, AT&T came in second at 25.2 percent, and Sprint and T-Mobile tied for third at 12 percent. Tracfone rounded out the top 5 with 5.1 percent, seeing the biggest growth of all the carriers.

Apple Inc. gained share from Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry in the global smartphone market last quarter as customers snapped up faster and cheaper versions of the iPhone.

Apple claimed 16.1% of shipments in the quarter, up from 10.9% a year ago, researcher IDC said in a statement today. RIM, the second-largest global smartphone maker, slipped to 19.4% from 20.9%.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs doubled iPhone revenue in the past year by expanding into China and rolling out a faster version of the touch-screen device. Smartphone shipments grew at double the pace of the overall handset market as more customers looked for phones with Web access and more advanced features, IDC said.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, dropped $10.39 to $235.86 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading at 4 p.m. New York time. The stock has gained 12% this year. RIM fell $1.94 to $64.92 and has lost 3.9% this year.

Smartphone sales rose 57% to 54.7 million units last quarter, and accounted for almost one in five phones sold, IDC said. That compares with a 22 percent increase in the overall market.

Worldwide smartphone shipments will rise 30% this year to 226.8 million, representing 18% of all mobile phones, said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC. By 2014, that number will almost double to 438.4 million phones, he said.

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest smartphone maker, kept its market share unchanged at 39.3% last quarter. HTC Corp., maker of some of Google Inc.’s Android devices, boosted its share to 4.8 percent from 4.3%. Motorola Inc., another Android manufacturer, rose to 4.2% from 3.4% , IDC said.

It is not 'all is well' for Internet Explorer now. The market leader once upon a time is now in critical stage. As per product life cycle it may be in its maturity stage but undoubtedly it's losing its command over the browsers market.

Janco Associates, a management consulting firm in US has conducted a survey on market shares of Browsers and Operating Systems in which it has been found out that the IE from Microsoft is having a very poor response and its market share has dropped to an historic low below 60%.

This was the lowest ever show since Internet Explorer 4 passed Netscape in the year 1999.

Apart from that, according to bean counters at Net Applications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is currently having 59.95% of market share. Around 30 months ago it was the lone leader in the market with a mammoth 80% share of the market.

As per the market experts now it is facing tough competition from Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Apple's Safari etc.

Janco Assocoiates, a management consulting firm, has released data regarding Browser and Operating System Market Share. While the tale regarding the browsers looks familiar, when it comes to the Operating Systems, there is a major revelation.

Windows 7, in just seven months since its release, holds 14.8 percent of the OS market. This takes the number of people using Windows 7 more than the number of people using Vista, the older OS from Microsoft.

Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis quips, "There are now more users of Windows 7 than Vista. That is a major factor in their improved record earnings. The last OS that was accepted as quickly in the market was XP. Vista's market share has peaked and is in the process of being decommissioned in most enterprises." Janulaitis added, "The last six months have been a mixed bag for Microsoft. While they have good news on the OS front, their browser market share has fallen to the level that it was in 1998."

As for the browser market, Microsoft continues to lose its hold. Internet Explorer lost 3.7 percent of its market share. Firefox is constant with its share at a steady 17.8 percent. As for Google (Chrome and Google Desktop), accounts for a decent 5.4 percent of the share. The top 5 browser market share rankings are: Microsoft's IE 67.73 percent; Firefox 17.88 percent; Google (Desktop & Chrome) 5.40 percent; Mozilla 1.36 percent; and Safari 0.98 percent.

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