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TFT shortage bites into notebook sales

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Notebook sales are being held back due to a shortage of screen components. IBM, Dell are just two manufacturers struggling to meet demand for notebooks. This shortage and its effects on the notebook market were predicted by The Register back in July. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. The problem may even be exacerbated next month when Apple starts shipping its first iBook laptops, according to some. Randy Guisto, IDC analyst, said: "Vendors are scrambling to get panels. They could sell a lot more, but there's a lack of LCD panels." The shortages may hit overall revenue at top vendors which rely on notebook sales to pump up figures. Nearly a quarter of Dell's $6.14 billion sales for the quarter ended 30 July stemmed from laptops, while IBM was said to be relying on the higher margins on mobile products to prop up its ailing PC business. Analysts were predicting the entire industry would be hit. IDC forecast shipments would rise just 13 per cent and 12 per cent in the third and fourth quarters, down on 26 and 30 per cent in the first and second. Dell has already admitted that shipping has been restricted by the shortages. This week Tom Meredith, Dell CFO, said: "We could have shipped more notebooks for sure." And IBM said Thinkpad deliveries had been delayed by weeks. A spokesperson for Sharp, which makes LCDs, said: "We forecast this shortage of supply will continue for a year. Our production lines are working non-stop, and we have a situation where monitors are going straight into PCs as soon as they're made." ® See also: CRT displays -- not as dead as you'd think

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