Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) maintained its lead over Dell Inc in the worldwide personal computer market as industry shipments continued to grow in the first quarter, according to reports released by two top technology research firms.
IDC and Gartner Inc published slightly different results on Wednesday on the industry's growth and vendor rankings during the quarter, but both depicted a fiercely competitive market with No. 1 ranked HP beating No. 2 ranked Dell by about 4 percentage points while their smaller rivals jockeyed for third place.
After three quarters of single-digit growth, global PC shipments grew by 10.9 percent in the first quarter, according to IDC, which expects double-digit growth to continue for the next two years. Gartner registered a 9 percent increase.
"The strong first quarter is a good indicator of the health of the industry," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
Notebook computers and strong consumer demand continued to be the primary drivers for the growth, analysts said. The January release of Microsoft Corp's Windows Vista operating system also gave a small boost.
HP, which supplanted Dell as the world leader in PC shipments in the third quarter of last year, gained momentum in the first quarter with strength in the retail and consumer segments, analysts said.
Dell, meanwhile, was hampered by internal reorganization and slow PC sales in the US and business markets -- both historical strongholds for Dell.
Gartner and IDC had HP's worldwide market share at between 18 percent and 19 percent, and Dell at 14 percent to 15 percent.
In the US, HP continued to chip away at Dell's dominance, leaving Dell with a 27 percent to 28 percent share, compared to HP's 24 percent to 26 percent share. A year ago, Dell's share in the US market was 32 percent to 34 percent, compared to HP's 20 percent to 21 percent.
Under IDC's measure, China's Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) tied Taiwan's Acer Inc for third place in worldwide shipments, each achieving a 6.7 percent slice of the market. Gartner's found Acer with a slight lead over Lenovo for the first time, garnering a 6.8 percent share compared to Lenovo's 6.3 percent.
Japan's Toshiba Corp rounded out the top five with a 4 percent market share, according to both firms.
Though Round Rock, Texas-based Dell has been losing ground to Palo-Alto based HP in recent quarters, Dell still claimed the crown for being the world's leading PC provider for the whole of last year.
"But if current trends continue it'll go to HP for the current year," Loverde said.
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