Technology

Notebook Market Is on a Roll

Toshiba upgrades Tecra notebooks, WorldCom plans layoffs, and more!
Joseph RadiganJanuary 29, 2001

Notebook Growth Remains Solid

The overall notebook market shows surprising resiliency compared with desktop PCs. Worldwide, notebook shipments grew 21 percent year over year during the fourth quarter compared with desktop PC growth of 1.6 percent, according to a report in Cnet News.

In the United States, notebook shipments increased 6 percent from a year earlier, while growth of desktop PC shipments stalled at a tenth of a percent.

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IBM, thanks to its refurbished ThinkPad line, captured the top spot in worldwide notebook shipments during the fourth quarter. With 13.5 percent market share, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM toppled Toshiba, which, at 12.5 percent share, lost 1.5 points year over year and fell to third place.

But the leaders are bunched together in a tight competition for market share. Second- ranked Dell moved up one position from a year earlier, gaining 1.5 points to 13 percent share. Compaq dropped from third to fourth place and a 12 percent market share.

In a clear attempt to capitalize on the strong demand for notebook PCs, Toshiba America Information Systems said Monday that it is upgrading its Tecra line of notebook computers with three models that each weigh 5.5 lbs and use the Wi-Fi (802.11b) technology standard for wireless local area networks.

The systems carry list prices ranging from $2,900 to $3,500 and have 14.1-inch displays and 128 Mbytes of memory. All three models use Pentium III processors, but the CPUs in two of the systems have clock speeds of 750 Mhz, while the most expensive model has a processor that runs at 850 Mhz.

But Telecoms Are Still in Trouble

The notebook market may be going strong, but the same can’t be said for the telecom sector. Add WorldCom Inc. to the list of phone companies feeling the pressure of the slowing economy. News reports over the weekend said the company plans to cut 10 to 15 percent of its 77,000-person workforce as part of a cost- cutting effort. The layoffs could be announced as soon as today.

Big Merger in B2b

B2B software maker Ariba is filling a gap in its product line with its acquisition of Agile Software in a stock swap worth $2.55 billion.

Ariba makes software for matching buyers and sellers and ordering goods through Internet marketplaces, while Agile develops and markets product content management software that enables companies to collaborate over the Internet and interactively exchange information about the manufacture and supply of products and components.

Under the terms of the deal, Mountain View, Calif.-based Ariba will swap 1.35 of its shares for each Agile share.

Ariba said it expects the deal to boost its earnings in its fiscal year 2002, which begins in October. It expects the acquisition to close in the fiscal third quarter. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, but it is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, Ariba said.

Meanwhile, another big merger is taking place in the chip sector. Maxim Integrated Products, a maker of analog circuits, on Monday said it agreed to buy Dallas Semiconductor for $2.5 billion in stock.

Dallas Secmiconductor’s products are used in broadband telecommunications and cell phones. Maxim said it expects the deal to close in the second quarter.