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Mobile Sales Grow 12% Report Says

“Overall fourth quarter 2004 PC sales were in line with projections, despite some weakness in the U.S. and EMEA consumer markets,” said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide Group. “Lower prices, better performance and wireless accessibility accelerated mobile sales.”

Dell strengthened its lead in the worldwide vendor market (see Table 1) with solid performance in all regions. “In the fourth quarter, falling component prices allowed Dell to further lower prices and gain margin and market share,” Mr. Smulders said.

Table 1Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004(Thousands of Units)----------------------------------------------------------------------                            2004    2004       2003    2003  2003-2004Company                  Shipments Market   Shipments Market   Growth                                   Share(%)           Share(%)   (%)----------------------------------------------------------------------Dell                      30,995     16.4      25,169   14.9    23.1Hewlett-Packard           27,567     14.6      24,624   14.6    12.0IBM                       10,381      5.5       8,929    5.3    16.3Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens    7,134      3.8       6,275    3.7    13.7Acer                       6,399      3.4       4,937    2.9    29.6Others                   106,502     56.4      99,125   58.6     7.4Total                    188,978    100.0     169,058  100.0    11.8----------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and X86-32 servers.Gateway and eMachines are reported as one company, as are Fujitsu andFujitsu Siemens.Source: Gartner Dataquest (January 2005)

Hewlett-Packard’s PC shipments increased 12 percent in 2004, however the company did face some challenges at the end of the year. In the fourth quarter, HP’s growth rate was lower than the worldwide average due to slower sales in its key U.S. and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets.

During the fourth quarter, IBM announced that it would sell its PC business to the Lenovo Group of China. Lenovo will move up to third place in the worldwide PC market rankings after the acquisition is completed. “The stress on PC vendors from operating on such low margins led to IBM’s exit,” Mr. Smulders said. “Expect further consolidation going forward.” In November, before the IBM-Lenovo announcement, Gartner forecast that three of the top 10 PC manufacturers worldwide would leave the business by 2007.

In the United States, PC shipments totaled 62.3 million units in 2004, an 8.3 percent increase from 2003 (see Table 2). During the fourth quarter of 2004, the consumer market showed mixed results, with weaker than expected desktop growth but very solid notebook market growth.

“With Gateway’s renewed focus on retail as well as the entrance of new notebook vendors, including Averatec, the battle for the retail shelf space became more intense,” Mr. Smulders said.

Table 2Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004(Thousands of Units)----------------------------------------------------------------------Company                2004        2004      2003     2003   2003-2004                    Shipments     Market  Shipments  Market   Growth                                  Share(%)           Share(%)   (%)----------------------------------------------------------------------Dell                   18,878      30.3    15,944      27.7      18.4Hewlett-Packard        11,453      18.4    10,708      18.6       7.0Gateway                 3,601       5.8     3,622       6.3      -0.6IBM                     2,907       4.7     2,727       4.7       6.6Apple                   1,965       3.2     1,693       2.9      16.1Others                 23,473      37.7    22,822      39.7       2.9Total                  62,279     100.0    57,515     100.0       8.3----------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and X86-32 servers.Gateway and eMachines are reported as one company.Source: Gartner Dataquest (January 2005)

In the EMEA region, PC shipments increased 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter, slightly better than the worldwide growth rate. Mobile PC growth continues to drive the market, with the majority of retail sales coming from lower priced models.

In the Asia/Pacific, shipments increased 13.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004. Both China and India showed strong. During the fourth quarter, many vendors typically stimulate demand with aggressive prices and accessory bundles.

Latin America showed the strongest fourth quarter growth, with PC shipments increasing 24.7 percent. Gartner analysts said PC ownership continues to be driven by increased awareness, cheaper and more available credit, lower prices and the appearance of new brands, such as Gateway in Mexico.