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Arm now has an 8% PC chip market share, powered by Apple • The Register

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It took Apple less than a year to seemingly start undoing decades of x86 and Intel dominance in the traditional PC chip market.

The Cupertino-based iMonster provided the boost needed for Arm-compatible chips to take noticeable desktop and laptop processor market share away from x86, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

Arm’s market share in PC chips was about eight per cent during Q3 this year, climbing steadily from seven per cent in Q2, and up from only two per cent in Q3 2020, before Arm-compatible M1 Macs went on sale.

Apple is gradually dropping Intel’s processors from Macs in favor of its homegrown Arm-flavored processors. Arm’s PC market share growth was mostly powered by strong Macs sales, McCarron confirmed.

“Apple transitioned much more quickly than anyone expected,” McCarron said, adding the Arm share numbers also included shipments of Arm processors in Chromebooks.

Apple transitioned much more quickly than anyone expected

Arm’s PC processor market share will continue to expand as consumers upgrade Intel-based Macs to ones with Apple’s chips, McCarron said. That market share growth may level off once the Mac upgrade cycle slows down, but that remains to be seen, he added.

Sales of Chromebooks with Arm chips have slowed, and Windows PC users are not switching over to Arm-based laptops with chips from Qualcomm. The numbers reinforce Apple’s strength as a silicon design powerhouse. The super-corp has also gone through its fair share of personal computer CPU architectures, notably from 6502 to 68000 to PowerPC to x86, and not only has experience with these transitions but has been designing its own Arm cores for years.

In another corner, Intel is being pecked away at by x86 rival AMD, which has been taking market share away since its Ryzen chips starting appearing in PCs, and Epyc microprocessors in servers, in 2017. Perhaps AMD undersold itself with its Buster Douglas analogy at the launch of its Zen family.

And in the background to this, there’s the ongoing popularity of Arm-powered single-board computers, primarily the Raspberry Pi, potentially providing alternative systems to traditional PCs.

AMD had a 24.6 per cent x86 processor market share – servers, PCs, and games consoles included – in Q3 this year, growing from 22.5 per cent a year ago, according to Mercury. Intel’s share declined to 75.4 per cent in Q3, compared to a 77.6 per cent share in the year-ago quarter.

Breaking down Mercury’s numbers further, AMD’s desktop share went from 20.1 per cent in Q3 2020 down to 17 per cent in Q3 2021, though laptops and other mobile PCs climbed from 20.2 per cent to 22.0 per cent. Servers jumped from 6.6 per cent to 10.2 percent.

With Ryzen and Epyc parts, AMD measures up to Intel with a full stack of offerings from entry-level personal computers to gaming boxen to servers. Before Ryzen, AMD was mainly competing on the low-end to mid-range with Intel chips such as the Pentium and Core i3.

“It’s not so much they are lagging; AMD went from a modestly competitive to a more significant competitive,” McCarron said.

Facebook, which wants to be known as Meta, recently announced it would use AMD chips in its data centers to power its latest and greatest microservers.

Intel’s newest Alder Lake x86 family, introduced last month, could slow down market-share loss to AMD. Intel’s general-purpose processors are also facing competition from accelerators like GPUs, FPGAs, and custom silicon optimized for particular workloads.

During Q3, the supply-chain crunch led chipmakers to prioritize their more profitable, high-margin processor, and the CPU product mix for PCs leaned toward higher-end systems.

“That pretty much drives processor suppliers to focus on high-end products, like a Core i9 or i7 versus a Celeron,” McCarron said.

The focus on high-end processors and a corresponding decline in demand for Chromebooks hurt entry-level PC chips in Q3. Chromebooks were popular in the early days of the pandemic as people sought systems to use wherever they ended up working or studying, and that market demand was satisfied in Q2 this year, McCarron said.

During the Chromebook boom, Intel’s Celeron and an AMD non-Zen product code-named Stoney Ridge – the A4-9120C chip – shipped in the millions. It’s hard to determine when demand for Chromebooks will return, McCarron said. ®

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Amazon Web Services outage hits sites and apps such as IMDb and Tinder | Amazon

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Several Amazon services – including its website, Prime Video and applications that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) – went down for thousands of users on Tuesday.

Amazon said the outage was probably due to problems related to application programming interface (API), which is a set of protocols for building and integrating application software, Reuters reported.

“We are experiencing API and console issues in the US-East-1 Region,” Amazon said in a report on its service health dashboard, adding that it had identified the cause. By late late afternoon the outage appeared to be partially resolved, with the company saying that it was “working towards full recovery”.

“With the network device issues resolved, we are now working towards recovery of any impaired services,” the company said on the dashboard.

Downdetector showed more than 24,000 incidents of people reporting problems with Amazon. It tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform.

The outage was also affecting delivery operations. Amazon’s warehouse operation use AWS and experienced disruptions, spokesperson Richard Rocha told the Washington Post. A Washington state Amazon driver said his facility had been “at a standstill” since Tuesday morning, CNBC reported.

Other services, including Amazon’s Ring security cameras, mobile banking app Chime and robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot were also facing difficulties, according to their social media pages.

Ring said it was aware of the issue and working to resolve it. “A major Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage is currently impacting our iRobot Home App,” iRobot said on its website.

Other websites and apps affected include the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), language learning provider Duolingo and dating site Tinder, according to Downdetector.

The outage also affected presale tickets for Adele’s upcoming performances in Las Vegas. “Due to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage impacting companies globally, all Adele Verified Fan Presales scheduled for today have been moved to tomorrow to ensure a better experience,” Ticketmaster said on Twitter.

In June, websites including the Guardian, Reddit, Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times were hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to US-based content delivery network provider Fastly Inc, a smaller rival of AWS.

In July, Amazon experienced a disruption in its online stores service, which lasted for nearly two hours and affected more than 38,000 users.

Users have experienced 27 outages over the past 12 months on Amazon, according to the web tool reviewing website ToolTester.

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South Korea sets reliability standards for Big Tech • The Register

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South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has offered Big Tech some advice on how to make their services suitably resilient, and added an obligation to notify users – in Korean – when they fail.

The guidelines apply to Google, Meta (parent company of Facebook), Netflix, Naver, Kakao and Wavve. All have been told to improve their response to faults by beefing up preemptive error detection and verification systems, and create back up storage systems that enable quick content recovery.

The guidelines offer methods Big Tech can use to measure user loads, then plan accordingly to ensure their services remain available. Uptime requirements are not spelled out.

Big techs is already rather good at resilience. Google literally wrote the book on site reliability engineering.

The guidelines refer to legislation colloquially known as the “Netflix law” which requires major service outages be reported to the Ministry.

That law builds on another enacted in 2020 that made online content service providers responsible for the quality of their streaming services. It was put in place after a number of outages, including one where notifications of the problem were made on the offending company’s social media site – but only in English.

The new regulations follow South Korean telcos’ recent attempts to have platforms that guzzle their bandwidth pay for the privilege. Mobile carrier SK Broadband took legal action in October of this year, demanding Netflix pitch in some cash for the amount of bandwidth that streaming shows – such as Squid Game – consume.

In response, Netflix pointed at its own free content delivery network, Open Connect, which helps carriers to reduce traffic. Netflix then accused SK Broadband of trying to double up on profits by collecting fees from consumers and content providers at the same time.

For the record, Naver and Kakao pay carriers, while Apple TV+ and Disney+ have at the very least given lip service to the idea.

Korea isn’t the only place where telcos have noticed Big Tech taking up more than its fair share of bandwidth. The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) published a letter from ten telco CEOs asking that larger platforms “contribute fairly to network costs”. ®

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Twitter acquires Slack competitor Quill to improve its messaging services

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As part of the acquisition, Quill will be shutting down at the end of the week as its team joins the social media company.

Twitter has acquired the messaging platform Quill, seen as a potential competitor to Slack, in order to improve its messaging tools and services.

Quill announced that it will be shutting down at the end of the week as its team joins the social media company to continue its original goal “to make online communication more thoughtful, and more effective, for everyone”.

The purchase of Quill could be linked to Twitter’s new strategy to reduce its reliance on ad revenue and attract paying subscribers.

Twitter’s general manager for core tech, Nick Caldwell, described Quill as a “fresher, more deliberate way to communicate. We’re bringing their experience and creativity to Twitter as we work to make messaging tools like DMs a more useful and expressive way people can have conversations on the service”.

Users of Quill have until 11 December to export their team message history before the servers are fully shut down at 1pm PST (9pm Irish time). The announcement has instructions for users who wish to import their chat history into Slack and states that all active teams will be issued full refunds.

The team thanked its users and said: “We can’t wait to show you what we’ll be working on next.”

Quill was launched in February with the goal to remove the overwhelming aspects of other messaging services and give users a more deliberate and focused form of online chat.

In an online post, Quill creator Ludwig Pettersson said: “We started Quill to increase the quality of human communication. Excited to keep doing just that, at Twitter.”

The company became a potential competitor for Slack, which was bought by Salesforce at the end of 2020 for $27.7bn. The goal of that acquisition was to combine Salesforce’s CRM platform with Slack’s communications tools to create a unified service tailored to digital-led teams around the world.

Last week, Salesforce announced the promotion of Bret Taylor to vice-chair and co-CEO, just days after he was appointed independent chair of Twitter after CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down.

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