TECH SECTOR uneasy as big demand drivers falter.......................

WHILE acknowledging the parallels to 2000, Gene Munster, research director for Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm said, ''I think it's different this time.''

Back then, among the best customers for the established chip firms were startups, which had more dreams than revenue As the start-ups faltered, the chip-firms were imperiled. The storm lasted for years.

''These are real companies now, with real customers,'' Mr. Munster said. ''People are willing to look past a few lumpy months.''

Even if the problems do not linger, they are reminder that demand is not eternal. That seems to be what happened with smartphones, which use multiple varieties of chips to run software, process data and connect to cellular networks.

Consider Apple, which gave a muted forecast in October for the holiday season and followed up early last month with its full-fledged revenue warnings in 16 years.

The iPhone maker faces stiff competition and slumping demand in China. Total smatphone shipments fell  15 percent in that country in the fourth-quarter, according to research firm Canalys.

Michael Wolf, who surveys consumers annually about their technology and media usage for his management consulting firm Activate, said people seem to be shifting to lower-priced phone models and cheaper service plans.

But he said demand seems strong for  digital subscription services like Netflix, Video games, online advertising and business-to-business sales for companies like Microsoft.

''From all of our research, I don't see some general consumer malaise,'' Mr. Wolf said.

Yet several other businesses appear to be softening as well, including the market for  server systems used by  cloud service operators, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Sales of  high-priced chips for such hardware have driven profits for companies like Intel and Nvidia  but  they now say that equipment buyers for data centers have turned cautious.

''Cloud service providers shifted from building capacity to absorbing capacity,'' Robert Swan, who was then Intel's  chief financial officer and acting chief executive, said on a conference call after Intel released its fourth-quarter  results.

The honor and serving of that latest global operational research on  Technology, Demand  and Markets, continues.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!