Tag Archives: Lenovo

Windows 10 adoption accelerates in early Q4 2015

The adoption rate of PCs pre-installed with Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system has increased significantly at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The first two and a half weeks of October 2015, Month 3 after the launch of the new OS, saw a total of 187,000 new Windows 10-based PCs go through Western European distributors, a number that translated into a 34.5% share of the Windows Home and a 14.7% share of the Windows Business segment (including the Windows 7/Windows 10 downgrade version).

Vendors driving the transition to Windows 10 Home in the channel during early October were HP, Acer, Lenovo, ASUS and Toshiba. The majority of new Windows 10 Home PCs sold were notebooks (92%), with detachable or convertible systems accounting for 13% of these. Meanwhile, HP, Fujitsu and Lenovo were driving the transition to Windows 10 Pro. New systems included desktops, notebooks and workstations, with the majority based on the Windows 7/Windows 10 Pro downgrade version of the new operating system.

Despite this significant rise at the start of Q4 2015, the adoption rate continues to be lower than that of most previous versions of Windows, particularly in the Home segment. In 2007, Vista was pre-installed on 67% of new Windows Home PC devices sold by distributors in the first few weeks of Month 3 after launch, while Windows 7 made it to a 76% consumer share in the same period following its 2009 launch and Windows 8 to 83% in 2012. Adoption of the business version of all of Windows 10’s predecessors was slower than that of the Home version but, even so, Windows 7 was preloaded on 63% of Windows business PCs in the first few weeks of Month 3 after its launch. There are a number of reasons for this: Windows 10 was the first operating system to be made available as a free upgrade to many consumer users; the availability of new products was delayed by a late release of t he build; and the transition process has been considerably hampered by high amounts of old PC stock.

by MCP

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Filed under PCs, Windows

Windows 10 makes the Smart Home simple, it’s time for retailers to do the same

If I asked you to guess what TIME magazine has called ‘Microsoft’s big secret Windows 10 feature’, your mind might not leap to the smart home. Nevertheless, Windows 10’s support for smart device protocol AllJoyn could well be the tech giant’s hidden weapon; and one with the potential to revolutionise how retailers and consumers view the smart home.

AllJoyn is a framework that allows all of your smart devices to connect to all others on the network, irrespective of the manufacturer. This means that from the moment Windows 10 launched, the number of devices that AllJoyn has the potential to connect jumped multiple times to the tens of millions. Microsoft has set itself a lofty goal of having one billion users by 2018, by which point smart home technology could be much more prevalent.

The appeal of AllJoyn is that it promises both vendors and consumers the ease of plug and play. Whether you’re running Windows 10 on a smartphone, tablet, or PC, you can now control all of your smart home devices from one device. This is vital for European consumers, who according to our research prioritise ease of access, smartphone control, and automatic installation above other considerations when purchasing a smart home product.

With Microsoft’s endorsement, AllJoyn now has a vast potential user base that smart home developers can tap into. The framework is making a major push to establish itself as the leading Internet of Things (IoT) standard due to additional commitments from Sony, LG, HTC, Lenovo and Asus to create compatible end-user mobile and tablet devices.

However, Microsoft’s involvement is only the latest step on the journey to transforming consumer perception of the smart home. Consumers are still not connecting the dots between smart products and the smart home, something that retailers must work to resolve. While many people we surveyed confirmed that they knew of individual products such as smart TVs, smart thermostats, and smart smoke detectors, our research showed that 62% still hadn’t heard of the term ‘smart home’.

While Windows 10 has facilitated connecting and controlling a network of smart home devices with ease, it’s now time for retailers to educate the consumer. In-store displays should be encouraging consumers to think about the smart home as a whole; placing all smart devices and appliances together and educating consumers on how everything communicates with each other.

Knowledgeable staff who can demonstrate how devices can connect will also foster excitement, and consequently drive sales. In Germany, this is already underway, with around 40% of people having heard about the smart home while in a retail store.

Finally, stores should consider whether they want to be more than just a retailer, and help play the customer support role when customers need assistance with their smart home devices. Media providers and utility companies already provide this service, and it’s now up to retailers to decide whether to adapt their model to add value through after-sales support.

So while Windows 10’s support for AllJoyn makes the reality of a smart home closer than ever before, it’s now up to retailers to educate customers of its benefits, and persuade them to view the smart home as larger concept than being able to turn off the lights with your phone.

by AS

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Filed under Home automation, Retail in CONTEXT, Smart Technology, Windows

Why this year will be an interesting ride for IT distribution

by Alex Mesguich, VP of Enterprise Research

Last year saw a number of major strategic changes in vendors such as Lenovo, Dell and HP, the impact of which is yet to be felt by the IT channel. Let’s take a closer look at some of the changes and what opportunities and challenges these might bring for the channel.

In the past, resellers had only one way of doing business with Dell, and that was direct. But that’s all changing as the privately-held computing giant continues successfully to build and adapt its channel model. Today, over 40% of Dell’s European sales come through the indirect channel, with distribution taking an ever-increasing proportion. Dell will continue to work on educating its channel partner community about its range of products and solutions via dedicated training programmes.

Lenovo’s purchase of IBM’s x86 server business is a positive move for the channel, as it gives Lenovo partners more opportunities to upsell to enterprise customers on the back of the ThinkPad. As long as Lenovo emulates its PC strategy, the channel should reap the benefits. The key for Lenovo is to make sure that the merging of IBM channel programs and tools will not paralyse the execution of their plans for growth.

HP announced plans to separate into two new publicly traded companies in October of last year: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, selling infrastructure software and services, and HP Inc for printers and PCs. The next 12 months will be an extremely important time for the firm as it has to reassure its customers and channel partners that the split has made it a more energised company, and that it understands its customers’ pain points and its partners’ too.

Some of these changes in the vendor landscape will present challenges for the channel this year. While much of this is still unknown, some things are clear:

  1. Dell needs to continue to make it easy for the channel to do business, and increases channel profits by offering standardised bundles.
  2. Lenovo could re-energise the channel server business by doing for servers what they did for ThinkPad.
  3. HP, still with over 20% of European Channel sales, could be a disaster in the waiting if the company split turns out to have been misguided.



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Filed under IT Distribution, Market Analysis

Apple results break world record for sales. So how did they do it? And what does it mean for the market?

On 27 January 2015, Apple made the most significant announcement in their history post-Steve Jobs: they are the most profitable company, EVER!

So how did they do it? And what does it mean for the market?

We have always assumed that when Apple launched a product, it created the market. But, in most cases, the markets already existed.

From the first computer to the iPod and the iPhone, there were a number of start-up companies, and some larger ones, already operating in these segments.  Apple’s typical business model is to set out to redefine the segment, regardless. Consequently, through clever marketing and positioning, consumers think that segment has always belonged to Apple. Take the iPod, for example.  At the start, household brands such as Sony owned the market for portable music players. For mobile phones, it was Nokia. The portable organiser market was more fragmented with no real leader. Seeing their opportunity, Apple introduced the iPad, securing dominance that would then strengthen their position over the other two markets.

The last 18 months have not been easy for Apple. Samsung have taken the lead in the smartphone segment and various Intellectual Property battles have taken the shine off their offering. But with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, they’ve set about redefining the large-screen smartphone market and have succeeded in an instant, as highlighted by the staggering results in the first quarter following the product launch.

So what might be in store over the next three years, particularly in the current hot area of wearables and Connected Home?

Before addressing this market, Apple needed a sales boost in their sweet-spot smartphone segment thanks to the iPhone 6; to regain share and show the world that they can and will own the market again when it comes to user experience and apps. This is particularly relevant as tablet and smartphone sales are posting a reduction whereas apps sales are seeing a significant growth and are an increasing source of profit. The iPhone 6 is laying the path for the Apple Watch, which is due for launch in April and will be a significant product for the company. Why? Because it allows Apple to remain close to their users, either in the pocket or now the wrist, and track key user behaviours, but more essentially provide the platform that will allow consumers to make payments and interact with technology, particularly home appliances and cars. They have already launched Apple Pay, a payments method which is now rolling out as more merchants embrace the new technology. On the B2B side, Apple is partnering with IBM, the latter very eager to focus on software around big data, social and mobile whilst at the same time shedding their server hardware business to Lenovo.

But what about the consumer interaction with “Things”?

The Internet Of Things is clearly an arena in which Apple will be a big player in the future amongst other such as Cisco, who are keen to justify their dominance in Networking. They are working on their Connected Home developer kit, HomeKit, which should launch in April, perhaps even at the same time as the Apple Watch. There are already plenty of players in those two segments, both start-ups and very big brands such as Google (via Nest/Revolve) and Samsung (SmartThings), but we should expect Apple to redefine the segments too. If this does not happen from launch, Apple will quickly correct it, making all their profit work towards success.

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Filed under Mobile technology, Uncategorized

New products, new formats, old world

This year CONTEXT is hosting a breakfast at the CES show in Las Vegas. Our objective is to give a voice at CES where senior players can examine the issues which retailers are facing in Europe as we go into 2015. We have ICT retailers from Dixons, Boulanger, Auchan, Mondadori as well as the CEO’s of Darty, Euronics, Lick and Bimeks, and senior representatives from vendors and distributors such as Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, AMD, Netgear, Webroot, the GTDC and Esprinet.

The old continent is divided – there are continued risks to euro integrity, the latest being the threat of Greece reneging on its agreements; UK growth vs Eurozone stagnation; the threat of deflation in France which has been recorded for the first time since modern records began; and the cutting off of Russia – not many Russians will be expected this year at CES. What does 2015 hold for ICT retailers and for the European economy as a whole? There are two encouraging macro-economic trends – the collapse in the oil price puts more money in consumers’ pockets and the QE being engaged by the ECB for the first time will stimulate growth. But overall economic prospects in Europe show a fragile recovery.

Against this environment traditional ICT retailers face well documented threats – the growth of etailers such as Amazon and Ebay, the development of ecosystems in which they play a small role, such as Apple and Google, and the new threat posed by vendors themselves as they engage directly with end customers in a world of connected products.

Régis Schultz, Darty CEO will address the CES breakfast and maintain that unless retailers step up and deliver high value service to their customers, they will no longer serve any useful purpose. Retailers must reclaim customer relationships which are their lifeblood and which are at risk.

The Darty solution has been to advance unique service solutions. Schultz will talk about the innovative Darty button – it is a physical button which links to your wifi and smartphone, and is only available if you have a service contract. You press it and are put in direct contact with Darty service engineers 24/7. “Unless a product has a service opportunity we are not interested in it, for example we only sell Nest thermostats in a bundle with the installation performed by our engineers.” A 100% attach rate is a decision which Darty has taken even if they may lose some deals to consumers who want to instal themselves.

Hans Carpels, the President of Euronics, the 2nd largest retailer in Europe with a consolidated turnover of 17.6 billion euros, will deliver a message about his view of the European technology market in 2015. He is uniquely placed being at the head of a retailer with a presence in 30 countries spread across North, South, East and West Europe.

The old world of Europe is coming up with innovative ways to sell new products in new formats, and which will be explored at the breakfast. If you are interested in attending the Retail CEO breakfast, please contact Adam Simon, Managing Director of Retail at CONTEXT on asimon@contextworld.com

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Filed under Retail in CONTEXT

The Purchase Experience – who cares? Retailers, it’s a Question of Survival

A 30 second video extract set the scene for the inaugural strategic forum hosted by CONTEXT at Melco Club last week. A man was calmly fishing on an ice floe, when suddenly, Jaws-like, a whale burst through the ice and the man disappeared. Chris Petersen, veteran consultant on Technology Retail and our keynote speaker, asked the audience who the whale was, and most people said Amazon. But Chris turned the issue on its head, and pointed the finger at the Retailers themselves and said the whale is the internal mindset inside your own companies, because you are not prepared to change. So now we were engaged with our guts or as the French say in our “tripes” – it is a question of survival.

Our topic was “The Purchase Experience – Who Cares?” – a deliberately provocative theme – of course we all care, but when the consumer gets less than a wonderful experience buying technology is it the Retailer’s fault or the Vendor’s? Senior leaders in the Spanish and South European consumer markets came together to explore collaborative ways of making the Purchase experience better. At the Forum there were positive signs of connections being made, meetings taking place (even one on the following day) for Retailers and Manufacturers to trial out new ways. As Inés Bermejo, HP Consumer Director, Spain and Portugal, said, “we have to trial new ways of doing things”.

Chris showed us examples of the Purchase Experience which work – the Starbucks secret menu, the Tesco virtual stores in S Korea, Build-a-Bear with their phenomenal CRM, the John Lewis omni-channel journey – getting the different channels to collaborate and not compete. There are still so many retailers where online and offline have competing objectives and organisations. And the maths is simple according to recent studies quoted by Chris – consumers who shop omni-channel, the new normal, spend 350% of what single channel consumers spend. Why not have some of that? Also size is important in today’s omni-channel world – there is a race to be small again with Walmart opening up new stores of 1,200 square metres compared to the old leviathans of 20,000 square metres. We know this in Europe where the hypermarket format has been dying a slow death in the last 10 years. But it is also a change in understanding of the store’s purpose. “The store is now a distribution point” said Chris Petersen. Of course, it always has been, but the point is making the whole omni-channel experience easy for consumers, and that is why Amazon and other e-tailers are looking to open stores or use other people’s store network.

When the Advisory Board panel spoke, they captured the sense of urgency – “we have to bring the human touch to selling technology” said Ramon Abad, head of Business Development for AMD in Spain. “We need to be better at explaining what technology does” said Ines Bermejo from HP. “We must integrate online and offline” said Eugenia Albares, head of buying at Fnac Spain. “Computers are such an important purchase for people, we have to make it an experience for them…” added Javier Galiana, head of Consumer Marketing for Intel Southern Europe, “…or else it is just about price.” Maite Ramos, General Manager Iberia Consumer Business for Lenovo said that the tech industry has to do their best to attract people with the resources they have. For example, they are using bright colours like red and are also investing in store within store. Lastly, Gonzalo Ruiz, head of Windows & Office Consumer Channel Strategy, spoke passionately about how Microsoft work with retail partners to design pilots based round research on consumer behaviour, which leads to better results.

Chris Petersen ended his keynote by giving participants a fascinating insight into one specific measure – GMROII – which is commonplace in the US, less so in Europe, to calculate the impact of different retail programmes. It stands for Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment and allows retailers to measure for every dollar they spend, the return which they get including the impact of both gross margin and inventory turns. With the decline in gross margin in Best Buy from 35% in the glory days to 23% currently, and with a rate which is declining by 1% per year, Best Buy has had to look very hard at its inventory, and the white hope for 2014 is that store inventory is now online which according to the CFO in the Q1 investor call in May 2014, will unlock $2bn of the $3bn inventory which they hold. According to this measure, a score of 2-3 is good, and 1-2, which is where most technology retailers are, is ok at the higher end. But where Best Buy sits at 1.25 it is dangerously close to 1, which is where retailers close up shop.

Chris left us with a recipe for technology retail in these difficult times.

  1. Pilot new initiatives putting the consumer, omni-channel and the purchase experience at the heart
  2. Measure the outcomes using GMROII
  3. Pursue the best – “results count – everything else is conversation!”


Filed under Retail in CONTEXT