HP grabs punishing lead over Dell in PC market share

Acer also closes in on one-time leader: 'Dude, you're getting Dell's market share'

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s strong third-quarter sales extended the company's already strong lead over rival Dell Inc. in the worldwide PC market.

Market research firm iSuppli Corp. on Thursday reported that HP shipped 13.1 million PCs in the third quarter, 3.2 million, or 32.7% more than in the third quarter in 2006. The latest numbers allowed HP to expand its market share to 19.2% in the third quarter, up from 18.3% in the second quarter and 16.5% in the third quarter of last year.

Matthew Wilkins, an analyst at iSuppli, noted this past fiscal period marks the fifth-straight quarter that HP held a commanding lead over the rest of the global PC market. "Hewlett-Packard continues to gain momentum in the PC market due to its strong channel presence and its moves to capitalize on the strength of the notebook segment," Wilkins said in a statement.

The iSuppli report isn't so rosy for rival Dell, however.

HP's longtime rival underperformed the market with what Wilkins called "meager growth" of 1.5% in the third quarter. Dell shipped 9.9 million PCs worldwide last quarter, just 100,000 more than in the same period last year.

According to iSuppli, Dell's PC market share fell to 14.6% in the third quarter, from 16.3% a year earlier. According to iSuppli's numbers, Dell posted the weakest growth in the third quarter among the top five PC manufacturers.

"Despite a renewed focus on its PC business, and the return of Michael Dell to the company's helm, Dell's channel business is taking time to ramp up and have an impact on company sales," Wilkins said.

To compound Dell's woes, HP isn't the only competitor breathing down the company's neck.

Acer Inc. is lighting a fire under Dell's heels for leadership in the laptop business. Acer, according to iSuppli, delivered a "stellar performance" in the laptop market in the third quarter, as the smaller, Taipei-based company replaced Dell as the world's No. 2 laptop manufacturer. 

Acer actually reported the strongest third-quarter performance in the global PC market, with shipments growing by a whopping 68.8%. Acer's PC shipments shot up to 5.4 million units in the quarter, up from 3.2 million in the third quarter of 2006, said iSuppli. At the same time, Acer's global PC market share rose to 7.9%, up from 5.4% during the same period last year.

Wilkins credited Acer's success with its strong performance in the laptop space.

The analyst predicted that Acer's continued growth will enable it to usurp Lenovo's No. 3 position in the overall PC market by the end of the fourth quarter.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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