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Compaq and Dell play cat and mouse with PC sales

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Dell has beaten Compaq to the top slot in US PC sales for the first time, netting around 17.4 per cent of the market for Q3. According to IDC and Dataquest, Compaq saw its portion drop to 15.3 per cent, from 16.8 per cent last quarter. Dell's share grew from 16.4 per cent in Q2. The change took place as worldwide PC shipments grew 23.2 per cent to 28.5 million, according to Dataquest, and 25 per cent to 27.9 million, according to IDC. Compaq retained it number one position on global PC sales, with 13.8 per cent of the market, shipping 3.8 million units. Dell was a close second with 11.6 per cent, with sales of 3.2 million. Both IDC and Dataquest agreed on the placing of the top four vendors worldwide, with IBM in third place with 8.1 per cent, and Hewlett-Packard in fourth with 6.7 per cent. However, Dell lost the number one slot in the UK back to Compaq. Last quarter it overtook Compaq for the first time, with 18.5 per cent of sales. But figures out by UK research company Context today show that Compaq took 18.8 per cent of sales for Q3, from 15.8 per cent for Q2. Dell slipped to 17.1 per cent. Jeremy Davies, a senior partner at Context, told The Register that the cat and mouse games between the top two vendors would end, with Compaq the victor. "Dell's success is a seasonal blip. It has had its products there at the right time. It soaked up a lot of SME sales, and had finished its already finished its transition in portables, whereas Compaq has had top level changes and has been through a portable product refresh." However, Davies said Compaq’s broader product range and wider spread of customers would win through in the end. Analyst Charles Smulders, a PC analyst at Dataquest, agreed. He said: "As we get into the fourth quarter, it will be more difficult for Dell because Compaq has more consumer sales. That works in Compaq’s favour in the fourth quarter." ®

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