Hewlett-Packard Keeps Lead Over Dell in PCs

Hewlett-Packard maintained its lead over Dell in the global personal-computer market in the first quarter, market researcher IDC said on Wednesday.

Overall, growth of personal-computer shipments exceeded 10% for the first time in a year, helped by strong demand for laptop computers, IDC said. Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system had only a "marginal" impact on sales, IDC researchers said.

HP's global market share rose to 19.1% from 16.5% in the same
period a year earlier, while Dell's share slipped 3 percentage points to 15.2%, IDC said in its quarterly survey of personal computer sales.

HP also shipped 28.2% more PCs than a year earlier, while Dell's shipments fell 6.9%, IDC said.

The figures show that HP, of Palo Alto, California, is benefiting from cost cuts and strategic shifts in its business in the past three years, IDC analyst David Daoud said.

Dell's market-share loss reflects its own restructuring following slowing sales and adverse publicity from a recall of Sony battery cells in its laptop computers last year, Daoud said.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company in January brought back founder Michael Dell to replace Kevin Rollins as chief executive officer after the company repeatedly missed analysts' financial forecasts.

Dell last year lost its No. 1 PC market-share ranking for the first time since 2003 as a resurgent HP sold more computers in retail stores. Dell only sells directly to customers via the phone or its Web site.

"It's still early for Dell to implement a new business strategy, a new business model," Daoud said. "It will take a good year's worth of revamping and restructuring for them to change course. We haven't seen the end of it."

Among the top five PC makers, Taiwan's Acer showed the greatest growth in shipments, 41.4%, helping boost its market share to 6.7% from 5.3%. Acer's market share tied it with Lenovo Group , China's largest PC maker by market share. Lenovo's unit shipments rose 17.4% in the first quarter.

Toshiba took fifth place in the IDC survey, with 4.3% of the worldwide PC market, unchanged from a year earlier. Its unit shipments increased 12.7%.

In the United States, Dell held on to the No. 1 ranking with 26.8% of the market, down from 32.4%. HP gained on Dell in the United States, claiming 24.2% of the market compared with 20% a year ago.