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Dell Slips to Third Place in Worldwide PC Shipments

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It wasn’t so many years ago when both U.S. and worldwide PC shipments were dominated by one company: Dell. But how the mighty have fallen—or, perhaps in corporate speak, embarked on a retooling phase. First, Dell lost its first-place status in worldwide and U.S. PC shipments to a resurgent Hewlett-Packard, and now—according to both IDC and Gartner—Dell has lost the number-two position in worldwide PC sales to Taiwan’s Acer, although Dell remains solidly in the number two position for U.S. PC sales.

Acer’s rise to be the second largest manufacturer of PCs worldwide is being attributed to the company’s success in the netbook and low-cost notebook computer markets.

“The consumer market continued to lead unit shipment growth, driven by low priced mobile PCs,” said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa, in a statement. “Ongoing price declines continue to be a major issue in the PC industry. PC vendor performance cannot be determined solely by unit market share gains as related revenues and margin performance are key to surviving in very competitive market.”

IDC and Gartner showed Acer chalking up year-on-year gains of 25.6 percent and 23.6 percent, respectively, with the company now accounting for 14 percent or 15.4 percent of the worldwide PC market. Both companies show Hewlett-Packard still the dominant player in worldwide PC sales, accounting for about 20 percent of worldwide PC sales. IDC has Dell slipping to a 12.7 percent of the worldwide market, while Gartner allows Dell a slightly more-generous 12.8 percent.

IDC has Dell in second place in U.S. PC shipments during the third quarter of 2009, with a 25 percent market share; Acer landed in third place with an 11.1 percent share, and Apple in fourth place with a 9.4 percent share. Gartner, on the other hand, has preliminary figures for the third quarter fo 2009 that put Dell back in the top slot for U.S. PC sales during the quarter, accounting for 26.2 percent of the market compared to 25.7 for Hewlett-Packard. Gartner gives Acer 13.9 percent of the U.S. market during the quarter, with Apple coming in at 8.8 percent.

Come of the discrepancies in the companies’ reporting comes from what they consider to be computer shipments: while both companies tally up desktop and notebook computer shipments, Gartner includes x86 servers, while IDC excludes x86 servers and handhelds.

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