IBM lagged behind its rivals last quarter in the European PC market, which saw overall sales growth doubled since the quarter before.
Second quarter sales of PCs across Europe rose by 16 per cent year on year - admittedly compared to a particularly weak Q2 the year before. This increase was double that seen in the first quarter of 1997.
But IBM was one of the few majors not reaping the full rewards. While Dell and Siemens Nixdorf saw European PC sales rising by almost 60 per cent, Hewlett Packard by 53 per cent and Compaq by 42 per cent, IBM's shipments grew by only 6.7 per cent. The giant held on to its number two spot in the market by only 1.8 percentage points over nearest rival HP - down from its 4.2 points lead last year. And Compaq extended its lead over IBM, taking 15 per cent market share, compared to IBM's nine and HP's 7.2. HP regained its third ranking, which it lost in Q1 to Dell.
The stars were almost all in the top tier of the business, with smaller suppliers and own label resellers losing share. Also suffering were consumer products, both trends indicating the weakness of the home market in many parts of Europe where recession still bites. Sales of home PCs grew only nine per cent year on year.
The corporate market accounted for most of the boom, with server sales up by 34 per cent and business desktops by 18 per cent. Laptop sales also rose healthily, up by over 20 per cent.
Steve Brazier, senior analyst at Dataquest, which compiled the figures, said the "triumph of the top tier" is attributable to increased competition. Only the giants have the resources to cut prices and launch new initiatives to meet the challenge. Of these initiatives, the most important of the quarter were build and configure to order programmes, added Brazier.
Regionally, the highest growth area was in Scandinavia. The UK was also healthy because of its reviving economy.
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