BlackBerry’s issues have been well-documented over the last several months as the company went through the trouble of firing its CEO Thorsten Heins and effectively putting itself up for sale. BlackBerry eventually raised cash and decided not to sell to Fairfax Financial. Still, BlackBerry has shown little strategic insight into exactly how it will turn things around. And as its smartphone market share continues to plummet, it appears 2014 might be an abysmal year for the company.
Best Buy, the last major brick-and-mortar tech retailer standing, announced recently that its holiday sales were down compared with the prior year. What’s worse, the company said that comparable store sales during the holiday season were down about 1 percent because of a significant reduction in customer traffic during the week leading up to Christmas. All of that follows Best Buy’s decision last year to shutter more stores and attempt to quell unrest among investors, who are growing concerned that its future is in doubt. It is.
Microsoft might still be a wildly profitable company, but 2014 is shaping up to be a difficult year for the software giant. For one thing, it’s losing CEO Steve Ballmer, which means some growing pains should be expected. Microsoft is also forced to suffer through another year with the unpopular Windows 8 and watch Google’s Chrome OS continue to gain market share. By nearly all measure, 2014 appears to be a difficult year for Microsoft.
Panasonic years ago thought that if it hitched its future to plasmas, it could be successful. But as plasmas started to lose their popularity to thin LCDs and now OLED technology, the company was forced to get out of the market. Meanwhile, it’s been hemorrhaging cash and investors have sold shares at an astonishing pace. Worst of all, Panasonic doesn’t seem to have such strong prospects for a solid 2014.
Nintendo announced on Jan. 17 that its Wii U has been selling at an exceedingly slow pace. In fact, the company was forced to cut its Wii U sales forecast for this fiscal year by 69 percent. Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata even said that he might need to rethink the company’s corporate strategy. Unless something happens quickly, Nintendo seems poised to have an awful 2014.
If Dell’s 2013 was bad, the company’s 2014 might be worse. After going private, Dell now can keep its financial woes out of the public eye. However, the company still needs to rebuild a PC business that’s on the decline and find a way to appeal more to corporate customers seeking cloud solutions. Right now, Dell is not nearly as competitive in the cloud space as it should be. And its issues last year seemed to make that all the more clear.
There was a time when HTC was having some success in smartphones, but after the Beats acquisition went awry and Samsung was able to establish itself as the leader in the Android market, HTC was left out in the cold. HTC now has single-digit market share in smartphones and no presence in tablets. Some critics have said that HTC might eventually be forced to bail out and sell to the highest bidder. It should be interesting to see if that happens in 2014.
What’s going on with IBM? Sure, the company is massive and is still capable of generating billions in profits, but the company’s revenue slid over $1 billion in the last-reported quarter ended Sept. 30. Market criticism has also cropped up, suggesting IBM isn’t doing enough to monetize some of its key assets, like Watson. Judging by the recent tenor surrounding the company, 2014 might be a tough year for IBM.
Advanced Micro Devices is in a world of trouble. The company has little market share in the PC market and has been ignored in the mobile space. What’s worse, AMD had every opportunity to show something special at the Consumer Electronics Show and prove it could make a comeback. Instead, the company’s efforts fell flat. Back in July, AMD said that it expected some choppy waters in the coming months and years. One would be silly not to agree.
Although Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are still popular in mobile, the company is in the midst of antitrust investigations in China, which could prove extremely damaging to the company. There’s also been talk that Google and Qualcomm haven’t gotten along too well, and with Samsung and Nvidia delivering newer and better mobile chips each day, Qualcomm might find itself on the wrong end of the mobile battle this year.