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Global shipments of personal computers rose in the first quarter, despite expected impacts from a disk-drive shortage and a lack of new chips and software to stimulate demand.
Industry researcher Gartner Inc. (IT) said shipments of PCs rose 1.9% from the same time last year to 89 million units, exceeding its earlier projections of a 1.2% decline.
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) remained the top PC maker by volume, with a 17.2% shares of the worldwide market. The Palo Alto, Calif., technology giant grew both worldwide and in the U.S. after having lost share in the fourth quarter due to its public statements that it might attempt to sell or spin off its PC business. The company has since said it will keep the unit.
Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY, 0092.HK), which had picked up share from H-P last quarter, was ranked second largest, with a 13.1% market share. The Chinese computer maker grew more than 28% worldwide over the previous year, the most of any top vendors. Lenovo saw its strongest growth in Europe, Gartner said, as well as with corporate customers.
Dell Inc. (DELL), ranked third worldwide at 11% market share, underperformed in most regions compared to a year prior, Gartner said. In particular, the research firm said Dell's unit shipments in Asia fell for the first time in two years.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) ranked third in the U.S., with a 10.6% market share. Apple was the only vendor in the U.S. other than H-P to show market-share gains, Gartner said.
PC shipments were particularly strong in Europe, Gartner added, saying that demand from companies and professionals was above expectations in most countries. Consumer shipments, by comparison, "varied greatly by country."
Gartner warned that consumer demand appeared to be worse than normal throughout the industry.
Latin America and China both showed lower shipments, Gartner said. In Latin America, generic "white-box" PC makers were affected by the shortage of disk drives that had hit the industry after a manufacturing hub in Indonesia was hit with devastating floods. The Chinese government, meanwhile, ended a rural PC program that had otherwise sparked demand for desktop computers.
Gartner said the PC industry's expectation of strong growth in emerging markets may need to be adjusted, as a slowdown appears to be occurring. "This quarter provides a cautionary notice to vendors that the future growth for the PC industry cannot heavily depend on the emerging markets even though PC penetration in these regions is low," Mikako Kitagawa, a Gartner analyst, said in a statement.
-By Ian Sherr, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-439-6455; firstname.lastname@example.org
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