Dell Regains PC Sales Lead

Dell edges past HP in the first quarter of 2003 to regain its dominance in the PC space.

Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. continued their see-saw battle for dominance in the PC space, with Dell in the first quarter of 2003 regaining the lead that it lost to HP in the last quarter of 2002, according to numbers from two research firms.

In a quarterly survey compiled by International Data Corp., Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, shipped more than 3.7 million systems—which according to HP includes PCs, notebooks, workstations and industry-standard servers—garnering 31.8 percent market share.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., sold almost 2.3 million units, for about 19.5 percent market share. IBM, Gateway Inc. and Toshiba Corp. rounding out the top five.

Gartners numbers had Dell selling 5.8 million PCs, with HP moving 5.4 million. In that survey, IBM, Toshiba and NEC Corp. were other top-five finishers.

Worldwide, 34.6 million PCs were shipped in the first quarter, a jump of 2.1 percent over the same period last year, according to IDC. Analysts there also said that the rise of Toshiba—with its focus on notebooks—is another indication of the strong shift from desktop to mobile computing.

Jim McDonnell, vice president of marketing and sales for HPs Personal Systems Group, said the numbers dont surprise him, given the size of his companys consumer business. Consumer sales usually peak during the holiday season, giving HP a leg up over Dell during the fourth quarter.

He also said he expects the two companies will continue to vie for the top spot.

"The difference is pretty small," McDonnell said. "Its less than half a million units shipped, with 34 million shipped in the quarter."