PC Shipments Keep Rising

IDC analysts were ebullient. "It's phenomenal," David Daoud, client computing research manager at IDC said in an interview Monday. "This is the strongest growth we&'ve seen since the third quarter of 2000."

The 16.6 percent surge was attributed largely by figures from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which were up more than 20 percent. While the European figures were unanticipated, U.S. growth figures of 11.7 percent were in line with forecasts. "The U.S. came in pretty much on forecast," Daoud said. "The other regions did better than expected." Much of the worldwide growth, Daoud said, can be traced to rock bottom prices for desktop PCs and by consumers and businesses growing interest in mobile computing. IBM, now partnering with Lenovo, continued to profit from the popularity of its Thinkpad computers, although its desktop sales dropped off. The IDC analyst said IBM appears to be working successfully through its Lenovo merger with its Chinese partner.

Daoud said strong momentum will likely continue to drive PC sales, particularly as back-to-school sales and, later, holiday purchases will push PC sales.

In the EMEA market, IDC said stiff competition is producing lower prices, which, in turn are fueling demand. The market research firm said: "Replacement and consumer activity, as well as investment related to European Union expansion and integration, helped boost overall EMEA growth above 20 percent after several quartrers of growth in high teens."

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Dell Computer continued to pace sales in the quarter widening its lead with growth of nearly 24 percent and almost 50 percent in worldwide portable shipments and in Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Hewlett Packard logged strong growth of 23 percent and maintained its market lead in Europe.

Gateway showed signs of recovering from a pause caused by its acquisition of eMachines and Daoud noted that Gateway is expanding its marketing outside its U.S. stronghold. Gateway&'s PC shipments were up 26 percent year-on-year. Apple experienced growth of more than 37 percent.