Dell Reclaims PC Crown

The PC maker overtakes HP in global PC shipments for the first quarter of 2004.

Driven by strong demand from business, Dell Inc. overcame Hewlett-Packard Co. in worldwide PC shipments for the first quarter of 2004, said analysts Thursday.

Dell shipped 7.7 million PCs worldwide in the quarter, while HP shipped 6.4 million, according to International Data Corp., of Framingham, Mass. Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., also reported Dell on top for the quarter, although it estimated 7.5 million shipments for Dell and 6.3 million for HP. The numbers vary because the two firms use slightly different methodologies, said IDC analyst Roger Kay.

HP beat out Dell in PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003, driven by consumer sales during the holiday season. For that quarter, HP shipped 7.5 million PCs worldwide, while Dell shipped 7.2 million PCs, according to IDC. Dell, however, led in total PC shipments last year with 25.8 million PCs, according to IDC—25.3 million according to Gartner. IDC estimated that HP shipped 25 million PCs in 2003; Gartner estimated that the company shipped 24.2 million PCs.

"HP and Dell have traded it back and forth quite a lot since [HPs] merger [with Compaq Computer Corp. in 2002], but this is the widest gap between the two since the merger," said Kay.

IDC estimates that Dell held 18.6 percent of the worldwide PC market in the first quarter, up from 16.9 percent a year ago, while HPs share dipped slightly year-over-year, from 15.7 percent to 15.6 percent. IBM came in a distant third, taking 5.5 percent for the first quarter, up from 5.3 percent a year ago, IDC estimates. Gartners numbers were slightly different, with Dell at 16.5 percent, up year-over-year from 14.6 percent; HP at 14 percent, up year-over-year from 13.6 percent; and IBM at 4.9 percent, up year-over-year from 4.7 percent.

Worldwide PC shipments overall jumped for the quarter, both research firms reported. IDC estimated 41.2 million units shipped in the first quarter, a 16.5 percent increase from the same year-ago period. Gartner estimated 45.3 million units shipped, a 13.4 percent year-over-year increase.

Although all regions saw an increase in PC shipments in the first quarter, the most growth was in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to both research firms.

"The PC market right now is looking good. I wouldnt say on fire, but it is moving along pretty steadily," said Kay.

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