Apple Is No. 3 PC Maker … for Now

A strong surge in notebooks and back-to-school purchases lifts Apple past Toshiba and Gateway.

Apple is the No. 3 seller of PCs in the United States.

Apple owns 8.1 percent of the PC market, according to the latest quarterly PC shipment report, released Oct. 17 by Gartner. Apple trails Dell, which has 29.1 percent of the market, and Hewlett-Packard, at 25.7 percent, but is ahead of Toshiba and Gateway. A similar report by Gartner rival IDC found Apple to own 6.3 percent of the U.S. market, but still put the company at No. 3.

Apples PC shipments rose 1,338,000 units in the third quarter of 2007, up 37.2 percent from the previous year. This increase of more than eight times the industry growth rate, according to Gartner, seems to validate Apples decision to focus on notebooks and the education market. IDCs report gave Apples third-quarter U.S. shipment total as 1,130,000 units.

Apples position as No. 3 is only temporary, however, as Acer closed its acquisition of Gateway Oct. 17, which will catapult it to the No. 3 post when the two manufacturers sales are reported together in the fourth quarter. Acer also has a pending arrangement to purchase Packard Bell.


Click here to read more about Dells momentum in worldwide PC sales.

Overall, PC shipments rose in the third quarter by 14.4 percent worldwide, and by 4.7 percent in the United states, Gartner said. Gartners report also noted that notebook computers sold at a far faster rate than desktops; and, in fact, notebooks outsold desktops for the first time.

This trend plays to one of Apples strengths. The companys PowerBooks and MacBooks have long attracted even customers who prefer to boot up Linux or, using Apples Boot Camp feature, Windows.

The third quarter was also a strong one for educational sales. Recent reports from many universities, including Harvard and Dartmouth, have shown a rise in Mac use.

Worldwide, however, the picture is not as rosy for Apple. Gartners report did not place Apple within the top five vendors overall.


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