Though the global market for personal computers continued to expand in the third quarter, shipment levels were not as strong as expected.
In its quarterly update on the PC business, research outfit Gartner said that global PC shipments rose by 9.7 per cent in the three months to September 2004, compared to a year ago, slightly behind its forecasts. It blamed the weaker-than-expected shipment levels on the US, where growth amounted to just 5 per cent - versus an 8 per cent forecast.
In the US, PC shipments totaled 16.2m units in the third quarter of 2004. In that market notebook sales were strong, but desktop demand was much weaker, Gartner said.
"US home notebook shipments were strong during the quarter, but desktop demand was much weaker, which brought down back-to-school shipments overall," said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's computing platforms worldwide group.
Dell grew its global market share lead to 16.8 per cent, shipping almost 7.9m PCs during the period, up from 6.5m a year ago. Hewlett-Packard took the number two spot with 15 per cent market share, or 7m unit shipments, a rise of more than 500,000 from a year ago.
Smulders noted that HP is under pressure in the US market, where other PC makers are taking up more retail shelf space. In fact, the company lost a portion of its US market share during the quarter as shipments remained largely flat at just over 3m units. Dell, meanwhile, gained share, taking control of 30.4 per cent of the US market, partly at the expense of Gateway, which saw its share slip one per cent to 5.1 per cent.
Rounding out the top five globally were IBM with 5.6 per cent market share, Fujitsu-Siemens with a (3.6 per cent) and Toshiba (3.1 per cent). All three vendors saw shipments grow and both IBM and Toshiba gained worldwide market share, while Fujitsu-Siemens' share was the same as last year.
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