The Roundup: PDA Battle Reaches the Enterprise

By David Aponovich

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PDA Battleground for 2002: The Enterprise
Buoyed by strong consumer purchases in the fourth quarter, global PDA shipments reached 13.1 million units in 2001, up 18 percent increase from 2000, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner. Fourth-quarter shipments surged 58 percent over the third quarter, thanks to holiday gadget-shoppers buying sub-$200 PDAs.

With 5 million units shipped, industry leader Palm shipped more than three times the volume of nearest competitor Handspring, which shipped 1.6 million units, followed by Compaq, with 1.2 million.

However in 2002, the action in the PDA market will focus on the more profitable enterprise business segment. Dataquest says about 80 percent of Windows CE-based PDAs are purchased directly by organizations or by individuals later reimbursed by their employers. Expect Palm to make a stronger push into the enterprise. Its OS 5.0 and the ARM processors will "offer the company an opportunity beginning in the second half of 2002 to significantly reduce the performance gap and compete strongly for corporate sales," Dataquest says.

AMR's 2002 IT Spending Outlook
AMR Research, based in Boston, offers projections for IT spending and investments in 2002. Among its projections:

Net Bankruptcies Hit 17-Month Low
Webmergers.com, which tracks business failures among Internet-related firms, reports that 19 Internet companies closed or filed for bankruptcy in January, the fewest since August 2000, when 10 companies made its list. Webmergers says the January results reflect a trend of fewer companies failing, after peaking in May 2001, when 64 companies failed. Major companies inthe sector to file for bankruptcy in January include Global Crossing, Usinternetworking and Beyond.com.

January's shutdowns and bankruptcies bring the total number of dot com failures to 788 since January of 2000.

Stronger Authentication Measures Sought
While more and more Americans are willing to register personal information on an e-commerce site, they're looking for stronger online authentication procedures.

Jupiter Media Metrix reports that the percentage of U.S. consumers willing to register info on a Web site rose to 47 percent in 2001, up from 26 percent in 2000. But JMM says 80 percent of online consumers are looking for better authentication beyond the common logon ID, such as four-digit PINs or special passwords created by their credit card company.

This is important to e-commerce operators who need to boost online authentication security to make consumers more confident conducting business online. Rob Leathern, Jupiter analyst, says, "Current password-based online authentication is cumbersome, insecure and unsafe. Without cost-effective ways to authenticate users securely and increase confidence in the online medium, online commerce will not only fail to reach its full potential, but also fail to bring to fruition future user-centric services that combine data and preference information from many consumers or companies.

Jupiter analysts says consumers still feel more at risk online than they do off-line, with 14 percent of consumers surveyed seeing no need for increased security online; 24 percent saw no need for increased protection when making purchases in stores.