Consumers plan to spend more on consumer electronics this holiday season, as technology garners a larger share of holiday gift budgets, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Four out of five adults (80 percent) plan on buying CE products this holiday, the highest results in the 16 years of the survey. Overall gift spending this holiday will increase four percent over last year despite a drop in overall holiday spending. Spending on CE will also increase over last year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $222 on consumer electronics this holiday, a gain of eight percent over last year. Half of consumers (48 percent) also plan to buy a CE product for themselves this holiday.
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Starent Networks (NASDAQ: STAR) today announced a definitive agreement for Cisco to acquire Starent Networks. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay $35 per share in cash in exchange for each share of Starent Networks for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.9 billion. Starent Networks was founded in 2000 and completed its initial public offering in 2007. The company is based in Tewksbury, Mass. and has approximately 1,000 employees worldwide.
Reliance Communications and China Telecom have today announced the opening of the first direct terrestrial cable link between the Chinese and Indian domestic markets. The Reliance Communications and China Telecom constructed cable was the first cross border terrestrial connectivity project to be planned between India and China, and was completed earlier this month.
Sony released a slimmer version of the PlayStation 3 and cut the price of its existing PS3 video game consoles. The new 120 GB PlayStation 3 Slim will sell for $299 beginning on September 1. It will replace the 80 GB and 160 GB PlayStation 3 models, both of which are being reduced by $100 for a price of $299 and $399, respectively.
The Broadband Forum today announced the latest broadband and IPTV statistics, which show impressive growth in the face of the global economic downturn. Its report hows that broadband grew by 16.6 million lines globally in the last quarter alone, with more than three million being added across North America - while IPTV continues to expand strongly. China had 88 million broadband users in Q1 2009, up from 71 million in the prior year.
Worldwide PC shipments fell 6.8% in the first quarter of 2009 (1Q09), about 1.4% better than expected but still the largest decrease since the third quarter of 2001, according to researcher IDC. Although volume declined less than expected thanks to some positive activity in the latter part of the quarter, the Commercial sector and key macroeconomics indicators remain weak.
Lenovo today announced a new organizational structure with the creation of two new business units – one focusing on customers in mature markets, and the other focusing on customers in emerging markets. The new structure replaces the company's existing regional market organizations and is designed to align the company more closely with its strategic direction and market dynamics to better serve customers.
ChinaTel Group (ChinaTel) (OTCBB:CHTL), a high speed wireless broadband and telecommunications infrastructure engineering and construction services, today announced it closed a transaction with private investment group Olotoa Investments for the sale of 49 percent of ChinaTel’s Class A common stock for USD$300 million. This shall be payable commencing March 9, 2009 through September 9, 2010.
Two analyst firms, IDC and Gartner released numbers that indicated a decline in the PC hardware market.
Despite market optimism early in the fourth quarter, the pace at which the economic environment unraveled and the extent to which PC purchases were affected was faster than anticipated. Following roughly six years of growth, with the last five averaging 15% increases, worldwide PC shipments were down 0.4% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2008 (4Q08), according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The dramatic slowdown was enough for a sequential decline of 2.5% from the third quarter in place of an expected increase for the holiday season.
Sales for 5 weeks ended 1/2/2009 were up 4.3% in the US to $30.969 billion but down -10.4% to $10.4 billion in Wal-Mart's international markets. However, on a constant currency basis (i.e., assuming foreign exchange rates remained the same as the prior year), International sales increased 8.3%.