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How the three biggest PC OEMs are facing an uncertain future


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Lenovo, HP, and Dell are increasing their collective dominance of the PC market, with Apple as the only threat. So how are the three big OEMs coping with sweeping changes in the computing landscape?

 

Excerpt:

 

"Lenovo, HP, and Dell have been occupying the top three spots on the PC market-share leader boards for years, and their collective hold over that market seems to be getting stronger.

 

According to IDC, the three top PC makers accounted for 44.3 percent of the total PC market in the final quarter of 2012. That collective percentage has been going up, quarter by quarter. At the end of 2013 it was 47.6 percent. Heading into the final quarter of 2014 (Q4 numbers aren't yet available), the top three accounted for 52.1 percent of all PCs sold worldwide.

 

The only other PC maker that has a chance of breaking into that exclusive club - a good one, in fact - is Apple, which made it into the top five last year and could well challenge Acer for the number-four spot when Q4 sales are reported at the end of this month.

 

Despite dire death-of-the-PC predictions a few years ago, PC sales totals have stayed relatively high. If IDC's final numbers match their prediction, PC OEMs, including Apple, will have sold well over 300 million PCs in 2014."

 

The rest of the article with specifics by Tech writer Ed Bott is here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-the-three-biggest-pc-oems-are-facing-an-uncertain-future/?tag=nl.e540&s_cid=e540&ttag=e540&ftag=TRE5369823

 

In the rest of the article he shows pics and specs of some neat machines from all three.

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Wow. But what other manufacture are out there that makes all types of PCs? Those three companies have bought out most other builders over the years. Compaq bought out DEC and was then bought by HP as an example sure Acer is holding on but they are not really a player in business world and that is what makes the market and generates the profit. Go to any business and look at the brand of computers in the offices and over 75% will be the big three or Apple with a few no-name custom builds.

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Sony bailed but you still have Toshiba, Micron, Fujitsu, Acer, ASUS, Sager, Microsoft ( an up and coming hardware brand, ;) ) to name as few, there are many more, but none of them make their own computers except the once ODMs like Acer and ASUS Micron and a few others. All the rest are made in mostly Taiwan and mainland China by the ODMs consumers her never hear of. Names like Wistron, Quanta, Compal, BenQ, MiTac, FoxConn, Cleveo and a few more.

 

Don't forget that Acer bought both Gateway and Packard Bell to take over their markets.

 

Just Google Taiwan computer orders 2015 and read the ones making Apple and HP and Dells on the same factory lines (Hint: Quanta, Compal, Foxconn and a few others) and with the same attention to quality, or lack thereof. It is the big secret that is not secret in any tech circles. The names most know just order their specs from the ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers.)

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Yes there are some players still out there but they are fringe/niche markets and there have been a lot of buyouts over the last 15 years. I used to work for DEC when it was bought out by Compaq and managed to stay on until they were bought out by HP so that is why I mentioned that one. I used to repair DEC's mainframes and mini computers and saw the switch to workstations and PC with distributed computing so I moved to internal networks, project manager and building PCs for internal use that is why I did not survive the HP buyout they all ready had there own people so I hit the street after 19 years.

 

I have been retired a few years now but when I retired the big 3 plus Apple owned business desktops, you would see less total of the rest than any one of those 4 not counting laptops. I think the specs are higher for business PC than home/game PC, that is what it looked like to me at least when I opened them up, the PS, fans and the components on the board looked better.

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There are some real surprises out there for folks buying business class systems, the internal bits are usually decent quality and likely to come with decent driver support for several years but you can find surprises like on the Small Form Factor Dell boxes. Dells are notorious for having cooling issues if they aren't in an air conditioned room, get them to 80 degrees and the fans really ramp up. They also show as having a slot or two available for expansion but on four different models I've had there are cooling issues for any card that generates more heat than a simple Ethernet or USB one. You need to add an internal fan to move air over the card or it will slowly cook to death.

 

HP and Lenovo are a lot better on the heat and expansion issues but their SFF boxes are a bit larger than the SFF Dells. HP does make an Ultra SFF that is iffy if used in a warm spot and has no expansion ability but it is also smaller than the SFF Dells. Lenovo's SFF boxes are getting good reports as they are showing up on the refurbished market and being put back to use.

 

Most of the current crop of refurbished machines are dual core Intel systems but there are a few i3 and i5 boxes appearing that are really attractive. I'm watching for a deal on an i3 that I can turn into a firewall / router box running pfSense, going to use that to replace an older HP and save a few watts of power.

 

White-box (unbranded) systems are attractive as are some of the house brands but you have to shop carefully. Support is key and giving up what you get from Dell and HP (not sure on Lenovo as I haven't used it) where you can get a driver of BIOS flasher for a 10 plus year old system makes trailing the market like I do iffy unless you get brand name guts and direct support for them.

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