While Microsoft touted its Tablet PC during the Comdex trade show, many PC makers said they would take a 'wait and see' attitude to the technology.
Dell chairman Michael Dell said his company was not going to build Tablet PCs right now. "We talk to our customers and they haven't been telling us that this is something they absolutely want to have," Dell said.
Likewise, Gateway, Hewlett Packard and IBM executives said they were cautious about Microsoft's next generation vision, and they would be listening to their customers with regard to going forward with a Tablet PC.
Because of the current economic slowdown and other conditions, IBM said Tablet PCs were an experiment that did not fit into the company's IT services approach. A Gateway spokesperson said the company had no plans for a Tablet-type device for the next year or so.
In contrast, a number of Japanese PC manufacturers, including Acer, Toshiba and Sony, along with US PC maker Compaq, are working on developing the devices.
During Bill Gates' keynote, he showcased Acer's Tab100 Tablet PC. Also on the stage was Compaq's Tablet PC prototype.
Meanwhile, Dell, already the world's largest PC maker, has grown its global market share. IDC reported that the company boosted its share of the worldwide market to 14.5 per cent in the third quarter, from 11.5 per cent in the second quarter.
Michael Dell gave away the numbers during the trade show, and suggested the company's growth could be attributed to market confusion surrounding HP and Compaq.
The news comes just as Dell revealed a fall in its fiscal third quarter profit and sales.
Profit in the three months to 2 November fell to $429m from $674m quarter-on-quarter. Sales fell nine per cent to $7.47bn, down from $8.26bn.
Dell said profits would remain constant over the next three months while sales would rise "slightly".
Jim Schneider, chief financial officer at Dell, added that the PC maker expected that fourth quarter sales for the PC industry would probably be down, with no change in shipments. The company expects its unit shipments to increase about five per cent.
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