(MENAFN - PRLog) In our top story, Netflix flaunted the biggest subscriber gains in its history with a strong first-quarter performance amid emerging streaming challenges from Walt Disney and Apple, two of the world's most popular brands.
The video service added 9.6 million subscribers worldwide during the first quarter, the most subscribers that Netflix has gained during any three-month stretch since the Los Gatos, California, company unveiled its streaming service 12 years ago.
Netflix expects to add another 5 million subscribers during the current quarter ending June, which would a decline from the 5.9 million customers it picked up during the same period last year.
AP reports that Netflix is testing the bounds of its popularity with a recent price hike that raised the cost of its most popular plan to $13 a month, a $2 increase. New U.S. subscribers had to start paying the higher price in January, but it only recently started to hit existing customers.
The company said it doesn't expect the price increase to trigger significant cancellations, though its second-quarter forecast implies otherwise. It expects to add just 300,000 U.S. subscribers from April through June, down from 700,000 at the same time last year.
Competition facing Netflix will heat up toward the end of this year when both Disney and Apple plan to start selling their own video-streaming services backed by big budgets.
Disney's offering, due out in November, could be a bigger threat because it will feature a library of classic films supplemented with original programming cooked up by a company with a proven record of churning out crowd-pleasing entertainment. What's more, the service — called Disney Plus — initially will cost just $7 per month. Meanwhile, Apple hasn't disclosed the pricing of its service, nor a specific date for its debut.
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A classic joke in tech goes something like this: "My daughter asked me what clouds are made of… I told her mostly Amazon and Azure, and a bit of Google." In fact, the joke is now increasingly becoming relevant to Worldwide IT spending.
The big number -- including everything from Data Center Systems, Enterprise Software, Devices, all the way to IT and Communication Services -- is expected to to increase 1.1 percent to nearly 3.8 trillion dollars this year as "currency headwinds fueled by the strengthening U.S. dollar" complicate the outlook, say analysts at Gartner.
"In 2019, technology product managers will have to get more strategic with their portfolio mix by balancing products and services that will post growth in 2019 with those larger markets that will trend flat to down" said John-David Lovelock of Gartner. "Successful product managers in 2020 will have had a long-term view to the changes made in 2019."
Diving into the numbers, the data center systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8 percent mainly due to expected lower average selling prices in the server market.
Relatedly, the shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (noncloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market, which is forecasted to reach $427 billion this year, up 7.1 percent over last year. The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software.
"The choices CIOs make about technology investments are essential to the success of digital business" adds Lovelock. "Disruptive emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence will reshape business models as well as the economics of public- and private-sector enterprises."
Turning to other news, we often hear about an infamous skills gap in IT but what does this look like in the wild?
Experts have estimated that as many as 1.8 million IT jobs could be unfilled by 2022, an increase of around 20% from two years ago. But what are the costs to businesses?
Across the globe, organizations are challenged to find staff with the strategically important skills to deploy and use technology for their digital transformation efforts. But the Machiavellian moiety of the IT Skills Gap is that it is not just an issue that's impacting the IT department — it's costing the business money and stunting our ability to innovate. With that said, IDC put a spotlight on tech skills and has recently released several studies. They also estimated a cost of the skills gap.
In fact, the nuts and bolts of IDC's research of over fourteen hundred IT pros and managers is pretty fascinating (at least it is to us). They examined the "current and future importance of roles, skills, and training as the IT environment evolves" but let's cut to the chase… IDC believes that by 2020, 90% of all organizations will have to adjust project plans, delay product or service releases, incur costs, or experience lost revenue due to lack of IT skills. So how bad is the number? Losses worldwide could total $390 billion annually.
"CIOs must continually build those skills that have strategic importance to their professional success" says Cushing Anderson of IDC. Despite the skills gap, companies are still looking to expand their IT staffs. Experts say, one-third of hiring managers expect to increase their workforces by at least 15 percent. Kind of reminds us of the classic McGuire Sisters song 'Somethings Gotta Give.'
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