Industry analysts have dispelled fears of a slowdown in the PC market that were generated when Compaq pinned the blame for poor results on the general state of the market.
IDC published its research for the first quarter last week, which indicated a Compaq-specific problem, rather than a general trend.
When Compaq announced the lower-than-forecast profit results last month, it led to a sharp fall in share price at other PC vendors and chip maker Intel.
Research found that worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter were indeed down sequentially from Q4 of 1998, but also that such a fall is a normal seasonal pattern.
More tellingly, unit sales worldwide were up a robust 19% year on the year, according to IDC, which also reported a 24% gain in the key US market in the period.
"It seems to fly in the face of all we heard three or four weeks ago," said Christine Arrington, an IDC analyst who described the market as "very healthy".
All of the top five PC vendors posted solid growth - even Compaq, which sold more than 3.5 million PCs, up 10% from last year, IDC said. Compaq is still the world's top PC vendor with a market share of 14.5%, down from 14.9% a year ago.
IBM, which has been declaring the end of the PC era for the last six months, appeared to be making a comeback in PCs, with a market share growing to 8.9%, from 8.1% a year ago.
IBM told PC Week that this signified the beginning of a turnaround for the company, after three years of losses.
"We're proud of our market share gain. We want to be profitable, and we want to become the market leader and to hold on to it," said Douglas LeGrande, general manager of IBM personal systems group EMEA.
Dell held a 10% share, up from 7.8% last year, and outshone all competitors by growing 55% in the US and 52% worldwide from the first quarter of 1998.
Hewlett-Packard and Packard Bell NEC, in fourth and fifth place respectively, both lost some share for the quarter.
In the US market, the picture was very similar, except that Gateway held the third position with 9.3% share, up from 8.2%.
Fujitsu also experienced a strong increase in PC sale in Europe.
The growth, according to Bryan Taylor, managing director of Fujitsu UK, was generated by its coherent channel strategy. Fujitsu told PC Week that it was now the only vendor that had not bypassed its resellers by selling direct to customers.
Fujitsu has also cultivated new routes to market, such as selling through Tesco and Sainsbury, and more recently through the BT and Egg (Prudential) Web sites.
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