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After the year's economic upsets, continued financial turmoil in Russia and Asia, and fears of an emerging recession, worldwide PC sales are bouncing back, according to research from IDC. Global sales grew by 11 per cent during the last quarter, year-on-year, said IDC, which predicted growth of 12.2 per cent for the second half of the year, following a 9.6 per cent rise in the first half. Growth will amount to 11 per cent for 1998 as a whole. Western Europe is set to become the most buoyant marketplace, with IDC anticipating unit growth of 16 per cent this quarter. The company believes the expansion is being driven by "heightened interest in the Internet, low-cost PCs as well as greater focus on the region by major global brands". The US market will grow at 14 per cent, with low-cost PCs again fuelling demand, particularly in the consumer and portable arenas. Japan will grow by two per cent this quarter, said IDC, though that follows a fall of 14 per cent over the previous three months. For the year as a whole, the market will have shrunk by four per cent. The rest of Asia is expected to see an overall 1998 fall of nearly two per cent. From a vendor perspective, there's little change in the performance of the key players. However, both Dell and Apple were singled out for comment by IDC. The former showed a massive 71.5 per cent growth in unit shipments, year on year, pushing it into the number two vendor slot, behind Compaq and ahead of IBM, HP and Packard Bell NEC. IDC analyst Roger Kay predicted Apple will show the "biggest share gain of anybody, including Dell" in Q3 thanks to continued demand for the iMac. It was also the most improved vendor of the second half, though its growth has yet to see it break back into the top five chart. ®

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