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HP ships wrong PDA figures, revival now notarevival

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Hopes that the PDA market is stabilizing were dashed yesterday when Gartner Dataquest revised its third quarter figures for the market after it emerged Hewlett Packard Co had supplied erroneous shipment numbers to the research firm.

Palo Alto, California-based HP this week discovered a discrepancy in the data it originally supplied to Gartner only after the research firm published its third quarter PDA figures earlier this week. The revised figures HP supplied to Gartner showed its shipments in the first quarter were 292,850, 23% lower than previously thought.

The discrepancy meant that HP did not take second place in the market behind Palm, as previously thought, but was in fact in third place, with 11.5% of the market overall, compared to 12.1% last year. As a result Sony took second place, with 13.5% of the market, compared to 3.5% last year. Market leader Palm took 31.7% of the market.

More importantly, HP's slip-up meant that total market shipments were 2.55 million, down 2.4% on the year, instead of up 0.9% as earlier thought.

Todd Kort, principal analyst at Gartner, said the revised figures showed that the market was in decline. Kort said the analyst firm still felt the market would grow some time in the future, but "at this point in time it's definitely in the doldrums."

The PDA market was still a hostage to the economy, he said, and if enterprises decide they need to tighten their belts next year, widespread deployments will be affected. Companies were also becoming more aware of the costs of ownership of PDAs, compared to more familiar platforms such as PCs. Kort said that even if products like Palm's latest consumer devices took off, revenues would still be in decline.

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