PC Sales Declining as the Apple iPad Gains Traction

Apple has sold about 20 million iPad and iPad 2 tablet computers since the tablet’s introduction in April, 2010. Now some analysts are predicting that in 2011, Apple could sell a projected 70 million units. In addition, it is also being predicted that in the next three years, Apple has the potential to sell another quarter million of its very popular tablet computer.

I recently wrote that Bill Gates stated that tablets and smart phones are nothing more than extensions of the PC. Many in the technology field have dubbed the Apple iPad phenomenon as the TC [tablet computer] revolution. Though other companies are attempting to enter into the tablet computer marketplace, Apple appears to be in the lead and continues to pull ahead of the pack.

Hewlett Packard, which is a major player in selling PCs reported a first quarter sales dip of 23% for personal computers. Dell has reported a 7.5% drop in PC sales. I would venture a guess that all PC companies have also seen a dip in sales of the personal computer.

There are three reasons why the Apple iPad will continue to rule while PC sales plunge:

Easy: The Apple iPad is easy to use. Screen actions are fluid without any lag. The little computer is light enough to carry everywhere without breaking your shoulder.

Efficient: It does everything most people need to do such as surfing the Internet, staying in contact with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and checking email.

Fun: It’s fun to use. Apple has more applications for its device than any other company. Games are extremely popular for all Apple device users with games being the most popular downloads.

Last week the folks at Gartner tried to downplay the success of the Apple iPad, citing that less than 5% of the world owned a tablet device. I believe that the number of tablet computers would be higher if Apple were able to meet the demand. Unfortunately, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan curtailed manufacturing of iPad parts for a period of time. Many people who are potential iPad purchasers are waiting in line, still trying to get their hands on the Apple iPad.

If the forecasts prove true, the first victim of the tablet revolution could be the home computer system. It should also be interesting to see how the new Chromebooks affect PC sales. 2011 could be the year many users break their reliance on Windows and choose an alternative operating system for the first time.

Comments welcome.

Should Amazon Be Required to Collect Sales Tax?

The battle between online mail order companies like Amazon, and states that wish to collect sales tax on every order, has been in contention for many years. The current law only requires the collection of a state sales tax if the company has a physical presence in a state, e.g., employees or physical company building[s]. In states where Amazon has a distribution center, the states contend these physical locations meet their definition of nexus. Amazon contends that the fulfillment centers used to ship goods to consumers are subsidiaries and do not constitute a physical presence.

In 2002 I took a college public speaking class to sharpen my skills, since I was in a position to teach computer related classes at our local junior college. One of the speeches I decided on was this exact same issue about taxation by states of Internet mail order companies. During the last ten years little has changed in what the states believe are a physical presence and what online retailers claim is an actual physical presence.

In my research for the speech I made, there were two issues I presented. First you have 50 states with a multitude of different counties, parishes, etc., that have different tax structures. Trying to collect taxes would be an accountant’s nightmare. The second problem is that many of the online retailers are mom and pop operations without the resources to collect state taxes. Imposing such a burden could effectively put smaller online businesses out of business.

In order to effectively have a tax system that would be equitable to all states, every state would have to agree to a single tax rate. This would require Congress to establish a federal mandate that every state would then need to agree with. Such a Congressional and state agreement is highly unlikely due to the political climate that exists between the ruling political parties.

In the meantime, Amazon is threatening states where its fulfillment centers are located with closing the distribution centers if the states insist on collecting taxes. This in turn would increase unemployment in those states where Amazon currently distributes online orders.

To me this seems like a lose-lose for both Amazon needing to relocate facilities and for the states in which job losses could occur.

Comments welcome.

Do You Use Daily Deal Sites? I Do And The Savings Are Worth It

Like many of you, going out for dinner or maybe shopping online at a discount, is an enjoyable experience. I subscribe to many of my favorite restaurant web sites and receive discount coupons that I do use. The fact is that more and more of us are subscribing to what are being referred to as ‘deal sites’, providing bargains to consumers and also bringing more customers into business establishments.

An associate professor at Rice University has studied deals of the days and Utpal Dholakia believes that  change is coming.

According to one recent article it states that:

What is going on in the social coupon industry reminds me of the dot-com days: Everybody is jumping on this bandwagon,” he said. “Facebook is getting into this. It’s just insane.

But not everyone is happy with the promotions they receive. Some consumers complain that many of the deals being offered to them are for services that they do not use nor want. Then there are companies such as Groupon that are doing a land slide business and are now valued at some $15 billion in just two years. But there is one problem that Groupon needs to address. The company mainly services large metropolitan areas and not smaller areas like where I reside. Though the major city next to where I live boasts a population of 150,000, Groupon does not offer any discounts for the area.

The offerings I subscribe to are for the major restaurant chains such as Applebees, Ruby Tuesday, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse just to name a few. I also subscribe to deals for Big Lots, Ashley Furniture, Best Buy and Amazon as well as others.

Whether you are trying to save on wine purchases, spa treatments, restaurant dinning or electronic purchases, checking out deal sites may be beneficial in saving you a few bucks.

I have also found that by doing a Google can turn up some local deals as well.

So what online deals and steals do you subscribe to? Let us know.

Comments welcome.

Source – siliconvalley.com

Black Friday Guide to Android Deals

Looking to give away an Android phone this holiday season to a special someone, or looking to simply find a great deal on one for yourself? Deals are all over the place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this weekend. Great phones are going for cheap cheap cheap, so make sure to check out this list and find a phone that suits you! If you’re wondering which phones to buy, check out our roundup of great Android phones on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

Best Buy Black Friday Android Deals (All require new 2yr activation unless noted)

Amazon.com Black Friday Android Deals

Radio Shack Black Friday Android Deals

Bonus: Android App Black Friday Sales
Several popular apps are also going on sale on Black Friday, giving you a discount on their already low prices.
SwiftKey Keyboard – One of the most popular keyboard alternatives, SwiftKey, has a killer prediction engine that makes your typing faster by predicting the next word you’re going to type. It learns the more you use it, and can make your typing much, much faster. SwiftKey is on sale on the Android Market on Black Friday for only $2, which is 50% off. Don’t miss this deal!
There are also an assortment of apps to help you with your other Black Friday shopping, if you decide to brave the crowds and go out tomorrow. Christmas Shopper Pro and Black Friday App are an easy way to track and find deals close to you and find the cheapest deals on everything.

5 Sales Pitches That Sucker Us Into Buying More Than We Want

As the holiday season approaches, we will be seeing more and more sale items. These sale pitches are designed to lure us into spending more of our hard-earned money that we originally planed on. But who can not resist a sale? Here are 5 of the basic sale pitches that are used over and over again that many of us fall for.

1. “Shop today and save 50% next week.”

Aimed at: Your best intentions.

Why you fall for it: The promise of bigger savings in the future appeals to people who think they can game the system, says Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. You figure on buying just one or two things now, then returning to pick up a few more. But volume-driven retailers are using the now-and-later tactic this year to steer consumers back to stores when they know they’ll have new stock or other promotions that help you buy more than you planned.

2. “Limit five per person.”

Aimed at: Your competitive spirit.

Why you fall for it: Limits trigger a feeling that the deal is so great that, if not for that limit-four-per-customer rule, shoppers would be filling their carts to the brim, leaving none for you, says L.J. Shrum, the president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and the marketing department chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Setting a limit increases the likelihood you’ll buy at least one, and it’s even more effective if you were already planning to buy one of the item.

I just fell for this. I bought the grand kids Wii games on Amazon which had a buy 2 get one free sale. What a deal! The only problem was that this was not their most popular games, but just the games that have a low sale volume. The sale was limited to one order per customer.

3. “Our Big Sale ends tomorrow/today/in a few hours.”

Aimed at: Your survival instincts.

Why you fall for it: Fear, pure and simple. This tactic appeals to a basic instinct to grab what’s available or be left without, says Noah Goldstein, an assistant professor of human resources and organizational behavior at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Think of the crowds stocking up on bottled water and canned goods before a major storm comes through. In those frenzied hours, it’s a matter of survival.

4. “Get 23% off.”

Aimed at: Your love of a bargain.

Why you fall for it: Real estate brokers have long known that uneven pricing (say, $524,755 versus $525,000) catches buyers’ attention, because those odd numbers suggest a bargain that has already been marked down — whether that’s actually the case or not.

5. “We have a great deal on the accessories for that, too.”

Aimed at: Your long-term investor.

Why you fall for it: Once the consumer has already made a decision to buy and to pay, it’s easier to convince them to add related — but maybe unnecessary — items to their purchase, Shrum says. That’s because in your mind, you already own the product, making you more vulnerable to pitches for things that promise to make the purchase more useful or less vulnerable. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon study found that consumers were more likely to buy warranties on purchases if they thought doing so would extend the life of their gadget or preserve its value. And shoppers who felt they were being offered an un-advertised deal were 42% more likely to buy.

What sale gimmicks do you fall for?

Comments welcome

Source – Smart Money

RIP – Microsoft Kills Kin – Social Network Phone Dies After Only Six Weeks

In what is being called ‘astounding’, Microsoft has already killed their Kin social networking phone. After years of development and spending millions of bucks, Microsoft dropped the phone after sales were dismal. In one article it stated that Microsoft had only sold 500 units after six weeks. So what caused the quick demise of the Microsoft project?

According to one article it stated that:

A major reason it bombed, besides the weird, non-specific faux hipster marketing? Price. Verizon priced Kin’s monthly service like a smartphone, even though it wasn’t one. Even cutting the device price drastically didn’t alleviate the high cost of the monthly plan.

The few people that did buy a Kin will still get support from Microsoft, but the future of promised software updates is up in the air. It seems safe to say, though, Kin isn’t going to evolve into the things we hoped it would. At best, we have to hope the things we did love—Kin Studio—will make it into Windows Phone in some guise.

Microsoft’s official statement on the matter:

We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.”

What is most telling about killing the Kin, is that few consumers will want to buy future Microsoft products, fearing that support could evaporate if the company decides to dump support. Though Microsoft asserts they will support the units that were sold, I seriously doubt this will happen. This is another example why Microsoft should stick to what they do best. That is improving their Windows and Office products and putting away the delusions of grandeur of ‘built it and they will come.’ LOL

Comments welcome.

Source – Gizmodo


How Will The Proposed Internet Sales Tax By Some States Affect Us? Or Will It?

Colorado passed a sales tax initiative which specifically was aimed at and specifically was targeting Amazon. Amazon has become one of the largest online retailers generating billions in sales and bringing the online retailer into view by states looking to increase their shrinking tax base. What the tax proposals are looking at from states like California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia currently have laws similar to what Colorado has already passed. The basic premise is that companies like Amazon, Overstock, Blue Nile and others have an unfair advantage over other retailers.

So here is how the game has been working. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled back in 1992 that online retailers can not be forced to collect out of state sales tax. The exception is when the company has a physical presence in the state where the order is placed. With that the state of Colorado passed their sales tax initiative with the premise that since Amazon has affiliates in the state, Amazon must pay sales tax. Amazon subsequently ended their affiliate program in Colorado.

This is what happened to one such affliate:

Jeremy Bray received an e-mail message this morning with an unwelcome surprise: Amazon.com told him it had canceled its affiliate program, which provides small payments for referring customers, for everyone in the state of Colorado.

Bray, a blogger who has lived in Pueblo, Colo., for more than 20 years, told CNET on Monday that he’s now trying to “bring as much attention to the issue as possible in hopes of getting Colorado to repeal” the new law.

But will this attempt to tax online sales have any affect on us? I seriously doubt it will. Most of us who buy online do so to avoid taxes on high cost items like HDTV’s and the like.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source

PC Makers – Sales Increase But Profits Do Not Even With Windows 7

Computer makers are still struggling even with Windows 7 as profits remain down. Some companies were hoping for increased profits once Microsoft introduced their newest operating system Called Windows 7. Unfortunately with the drop in computer pricing, the computer companies did not see any increase in profits.

What is surprising is that consumers did their part and bought 90 million new computers during the holiday season, in the last quarter of 2009. But with computer pricing dropping by 23% to an average of $581 per computer, profit margins remain about the same.

Everyone was hoping that Windows 7 would spur increased sales, which it did, but what didn’t increase were profits.

Maybe the CEO of Acer was right and American computer companies may fade into the sunset.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Acer Boss – We Will Not Build iPad Like Tablet Computers

Once Apple announced its new iPad tablet computer, I was wondering if any other major computer company would build a similar device. Acer claims it has no intention of entering into the tablet computer market. Acer seems to be content with its business model in which it continues to concentrate on notebook and netbook computers as its bread and butter products.

The boss at Acer also stated that the company could build tablet computers since the company has the knowledge to do so. But Acer believes that tablets are only a niche market and doesn’t want to enter what it perceives as a low volume arena.

A recent article also states:

Apple is able to support the iPad through its iTunes ecosystem, while few other makers, including Acer, have comparable experience in operating an online store, Lin noted.

Historically, closed platforms are typically limited in terms of scale and are confined to niche markets. Apple has built is business out of carving its own niche, which means that while Apple could see success with devices like the iPad, other players are unlikely to be able to replicate its result simply by copying, Lin noted.

However, Lin said he believes the iPad is unlikely to impact the notebook/netbook markets as the two products target completely different consumer groups

Lin also cited research firm figures saying that Acer shipped about 31 million notebooks in 2009.

That last number is impressive. It appears that Acer is heading itself to the #2 position in computer sales if it continues its recent pace. As many of you may know, Acer also builds the Gateway and eMachines as well, which has increased its sale figures.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Source

Wii Doesn’t Need HD Because Consumers Don’t Want It?

Last week I wrote about the Wii and its deal with Netflix to stream movies. The thinking was that the Wii would also be offering HD to compliment the Netflix experience, but that doesn’t seem to be high on Nintendo’s list of what the Wii consumer wants.

In what I find are unbelievable statements, the CEO of Nintendo of America states that:

Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime has been talking about the streaming service that is coming to the Wii.

Reggie went on CNBC and said that Wii owners won’t miss the HD content available on the other game consoles via Netflix that the Wii won’t be capable of streaming. He said, ” …there is really no loss for the Wii consumer.”

He continued saying, “But, even more importantly than that, the consumer has voted. Over 26 million consumers have bought a Wii. The consumer is saying, for them, the quality of the visual is not nearly as important as the overall entertainment, the overall value of that experience and that is really, what has propelled us. In terms of what the future holds, we’ve gone on record to say the next step for Nintendo in terms of home consoles will not be simply to make it HD, but to add more and more capability and we’ll do that when we totally tapped out all of the experiences for the existing Wii and we are nowhere near doing that yet.”

Interesting statements. It seems that if consumers continue to buy the current Wii, Nintendo may have no intentions of upgrading its product. I believe an HD upgrade is overdue and would be a valuable asset to the Wii.

What about you? Does the Wii need a facelift?

Comments welcome.

Source.