The worldwide PC market did well in the third quarter, with strong growth in Europe offsetting weak demand in Asia.
Most of the first tier PC vendors performed well, with Compaq apparently back on track, though losing market share, and Dell's momentum unchecked.
Market research firms Dataquest and IDC both published their numbers for the third quarter PC market on Monday. Dataquest saw worldwide PC shipments grow 13.7 per cent year on year, to 22.6 million units. IDC calculated an even more robust 15 per cent growth. The US market grew 18.2 per cent according to Dataquest, 14 per cent according to IDC.
In Dataquest?s version of the numbers, Compaq came out on top with worldwide market share of 13.7 per cent - but this was down from 14.2 in 1997 and made the Texas company the only top five PC maker to lose share.
IBM came in second, with 8.6 per cent share (up from 7.9 per cent). Dell pulled into third position at 8.4 per cent (up from 5.9 per cent), followed by Hewlett Packard with 6.1 per cent (up from 5.8 per cent) and Gateway at 3.9 per cent (up from 3.2 per cent).
All the vendors in the top five except Compaq managed to outgrow the market, year over year, with Dell (61 per cent) and Gateway (37.5 per cent) the fastest growers.
Compaq, while losing share compared to a year ago, can boast a return to solid sequential growth. In the second quarter, Dell almost caught up with the leader in the US market. Now, Compaq is back at 15 per cent US share, while Dell is at 13.4 per cent.
According to Bill Schaub, vice president for Dataquest?s personal computing and peripherals group, Q2 numbers were unrepresentative. Compaq was fighting excess inventory, leading to fewer sales into the channel, Schaub noted.
For Q3 too, the numbers under-represent Compaq?s actual performance, he believes. ?Compaq is bleeding inventory right now," said Schaub. ?They?re moving from a build-to-stock model to a build-to-order model."
The solid worldwide growth in PC shipments is offset by falling prices, especially in the consumer market. ?Revenues are pretty flat," compared with last year, said Schaub.
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