Biz Break: Lenovo’s sales top declining PC market

Top Of The Order:

The Winner Is…: Around the world, it’s Lenovo. At least in the first quarter of the year. Or, if you care mostly about the U.S., then put the crown on Dell.

Late Monday, tech research firm Gartner released its PC sales figures for the first quarter of the year, and Lenovo maintained its position as the No. 1 PC company in the world, with 12.5 million units shipped. But according to Gartner, Lenovo needed a big lift from North America to keep its title as shipments in the region rose 14.6 percent from a year ago, while its overall shipments fell 7.2 percent from the first quarter of 2015.

Lenovo was trailed by HP, Dell, Asus and Apple. Of those top five PC makers, only Asus and Apple had better shipments than a year ago, and those were up by just 1.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

And worldwide, PC shipments fell 9.6 percent to 64.8 million units. Gartner said it was the sixth-straight quarter of declining PC shipments, and the first time that fewer than 65 million PCs shipped in one quarter since 2007. Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said a buildup in inventories for the holiday quarter had an impact on worldwide sales.

In the U.S., Dell took the top spot with 3.5 million shipments, a 3.1 percent rise from a year ago. HP came in second place, as it saw shipments fall more than 17 percent to 3.1 million units. Lenovo, Apple and Asus rounded out the top five, and total U.S. PC shipments came in at 13.1 million units, or 6.6 percent less than a year ago.

Middle Innings: 

And Speaking Of Dell…: Legendary Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper thinks the Age Of The IPO is over. Keep things private, seems to be Draper’s philosophy with a new fund he announced Monday.

But as far as Dell is concerned, right now is the time to go public, Mr. Draper. At least with regards to the privately held Dell’s SecureWorks cyber security business. On Monday, SecureWorks said it would file to go public at between $15.50 and $17.50 a share, and raise as much as $157.5 million in a public offering that could value the company at $1.42 billion.

And not only is SecureWorks about to go public, it will also have the distinction of being the first tech IPO of 2016. Somebody’s got to be the first to dive into the pool, right?

At Least They Still Have The Royals: Last fall, Kansas City won the World Series for the first time in 30 years. It wasn’t the first Series win for the Royals, but with three decades between championships, it certainly felt like the first time for many K.C. fans.

Kansas City also has the distinction of having a couple of other recent “firsts” under its belt. One of those being the first market where Google rolled out its free (after a $300 installation charge) Google Fiber Internet service. And the most recent being that it is the first city where Google has dropped its free Google Fiber Internet service.

OK, now technically, free Google Fiber service does still exist in the city known for its barbecue as much as its recent baseball success. But Google is dropping the free Fiber option for new subscribers, and is replacing that with Fiber 100, a faster Internet option that will set users back $50 a month with no extra set-up or installation charges.

So, why is Google dropping its free option in Kansas City? It could be as simple as the long view on revenue generation.

Say someone signs up for the new Fiber 100 option and pays $50 a month. After six months, Google has already gotten out of a customer the $300 they would have paid to install the then-free Google Fiber service. After that, Google has no consistent revenue stream coming from those customers. And as anyone who has ever signed up for cable TV knows, it’s often easier just to stick with what you have rather than switch to a new service provider. Thus, Google is probably banking on new customers being willing to pay $50 a month for Fiber 100 and staying with it for longer than six months. Anything more than that is gravy for Google.

Oh, there is still a free Google Fiber option in Kansas City, but it is only part of an Obama administration program to build out free or low-cost Internet service to underprivileged areas.

And if you still want Google Fiber for free, it’s still available in Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah…For now, anyway.

Some Days You’re The Bug: And for Marketo, of San Mateo, that day was Monday.

Marketo, which makes cloud-based marketing software, watched its shares fall 5 percent to close Monday at $21. Now, normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal. Some days, a company’s stock price just goes up for no real discernible reason. It’s the market. It happens.

But Marketo’s losses came one trading day after its shares surged more than 10 percent. Marketo got that lift, in large part, because JMP  Securities cited an unnamed source as saying the company recently gave presentations to Microsoft and SAP, leading to some speculation that Marketo might be looking to hitch its wagon to a larger software company that wants to improve its position in the cloud market.

Or, all the activity may have just been due to the company’s plans to have Will Smith be a keynote speaker at Marketo’s upcoming Marketing Nation Summit, in Las Vegas next month.

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Monday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Harmonic, Extreme Networks, Trimble Navigation, NetApp and Ultratech.

In The Red: Declines came from ServiceSource, Palo Alto Networks, RingCentral, Infoblox and Zynga.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies shed 0.7  percent to end the day at 1,604.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 0.4 percent to close at 4,833.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped by 0.1 percent to 17,556.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended the day down by 0.3 percent at 2,041.

Quote Of The Day: ““It just feels like a right-place, right-time type of thing.” — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, after the Warriors record-tying 72nd win of the season on Sunday. The Warriors have a chance to set the season-wins record on Wednesday. Kerr played for the only other NBA team reach 72 wins in a season, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

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Photo: Apple iMac computers. (Courtesy Apple)


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