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HP Still Playing Catch Me If You Can

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HP Still Playing Catch Me If You Can

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If you listen to IDC, PCs were up a solid but still less-than-expected 15.5% worldwide in Q4. If you listen to Gartner the number was 13.1%.

If you listen to Credit Suisse, which is a lot more buoyant, you hear that the IDC-Gartner results “were largely at odds with one another, calling into question the validity of the results,” something you don’t often hear.

The brokerage generally prefers Gartner’s numbers but says its 13.1% figure is below normal seasonality of 13.2% and way off Credit Suisse’s own estimate of 17.7%.

IDC describes the PC market as “very healthy” but – there’s always a but – it anticipates slower growth for the next couple of years.

It says, “Rising concerns about economic growth are likely to reduce expectations further, although we’re still likely to see double-digit growth through 2008 and probably 2009.”

It’s projecting 12.2% growth this year.

Credit Suisse, ever the optimist, says its “independent checks continue to support solid PC results while leading economic indicators continue to sour.”

It figures that PCs, what with emerging markets representing 40% of worldwide ships, are relatively insulated from the potential weakness and that Vista and digital content, which require more robust configurations, offer not only shelter against declining ASPs but a revenue stimulus.

Anyway, IDC and Gartner agree that HP is still number one and Dell, improving its showing off an easy compare, is making headway.

According to IDC, Dell is back from an 8.4% decline a year ago with double-digit growth thanks to its new retail strategy.

It was up maybe 17.1%, year-over-year, for a total of 11.3 million units to claim 14.4% of the global market.

HP grew units 23.3% moving 14.7 million units out the door for 17.8% market share.

Acer was third with 7.4 million units, up 60.3% (6.9% share), Lenovo fourth with 5.8 million units, up 22.3% (7.1% share) and Toshiba fifth with 3 million units, up 19% (3.8% share).

Acer, showing stronger growth than anybody, look like it’s solidified its position considerably ahead of Lenovo with its Gateway acquisition.

IDC says the critical US market was up a better-than-expected 8.8% and Gartner says it was 7%.

Apparently we can thank the consumer – or the retail expansion of Dell and Acer – and SMBs.

IDC remarks that the “results do not reflect changes in the fundamental of demand” but allows that “demand could soften further if bad news over the economy persists and consumer confidence worsens.”

Dell was number one with 5.5 million units, up 15.2% for a 28% share. Gartner gives Dell 5.3 million boxes, up 14.9%, for 31.4% of the market.

HP was second with 4.5 million units, up 9.8%, for a 24.3% share. Gartner gives HP 4.4 million boxes and 26.1% market share.

IDC puts Acer third with 1.5 million units, up a giddy 294.2%, which still only translates into 2.3% of the market.

Apple was up 30.9% with 1.058 million units for a 4.7% share and Toshiba did 903,000 units, up 12.8%, tied with Apple with 4.7% of the pie.

EMEA was coming off a very strong Q3 but still managed to be up 15%, with notebooks up around 35%. Its falloff from a high impacted the players of course.

Japan is recovering after declining for quarters with growth of 10% (on a easy compare) largely from the commercial sector. Gartner puts it at 6%. Outside of Japan Asia was up more than 20% (IDC) or maybe it was only 18.3% (Gartner).




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