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Zidane, Rooney and the rest put the boot into PC vendors in the second quarter with unit shipments knocked off course as punters tuned into the World Cup.

Analysts IDC said that while the market overall grew at a “healthy” 12 per cent to 52 million units, there were unexpected twists at regional level.

The most significant came in Europe, where a combination of inventory overhang from Q2 and “distractions from the World Cup” meant shipments grew by just 7 per cent in the quarter, compared to the forecast 12 per cent.

Who’d have thought Europeans would balk at lashing out on a new PC, after they’d just shelled out for inflated match tickets or stocked up with cold beer and hot new flat screen TVs.

Luckily US shipments were better than expected, growing 6.7 per cent to 15.9 million. Latin America and Asia/Pac both showed better than expected growth, while Japan was slower than expected. Apparently the Japanese preferred to spend their money on flat screen TVs as well.

IDC said it was seeing aggressive competition “as the market transitions to a new phase”. This seems to be a polite way of saying there will be some turmoil as vendors and consumers adjust to Windows Vista and new processor platforms.

Dell took first place for worldwide shipments, growing 10.9 per cent to 10 million units, and taking 19.2 per cent of the market overall. HP was second, with 15.9 per cent share, but its growth was higher, at 13 per cent. Lenovo was hard on its heels, growing shipments 12.8 per cent and taking 7.7 per cent of the market overall.®

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