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Dell ousts HP from PC top spot

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The worldwide PC market finally showed a return to year on year growth in the third quarter, but the news was soured for Hewlett Packard as it lost the number one PC spot to arch rival Dell Computer Corp.

Figures released by IDC yesterday showed total shipments in the third quarter were 32.6 million, a "modest" rise of 3.8% on the same quarter last year, and the first positive news the PC market has had after five quarters of decline.

In a statement, Loren Loverde, director of IDC's quarterly PC tracker, said that while growth was limited, "we believe the market is a lot healthier than it was three months ago." Inventories had come down, he said, and expectations were more realistic.

Loverde added that business investment remained soft. Consumer spending was improving gradually, he added, although "we don't expect a lot from consumers in the fourth quarter."

However, the figures were a double-edged sword for Hewlett Packard, which actually saw shipments slip 4.9% year on year to 5 million units. Its market share was down from 16.9% to 15.5%. Some slippage may have been expected as last year's figure covered both the premerger HP and Compaq. The vendor's shipments were still up 15% on the previous quarter, and IDC said this suggested it was getting over its post-merger challenges "fairly quickly".

However, the figures only emphasized Dell Computer Corp's surging growth. The Texan giant shipped 5.2 million systems, up 23.3% on the year, and giving it 16% of the market, compared to 13.5% last year. Dell has been emphasizing its above market average growth.

Nevertheless, the companies are still very close in the PC stakes. If they both let pride get the upper hand, a vicious battle for the top spot may become an essential part of their quarterly sales strategies.

© ComputerWire

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