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PC Market Makes First Step Toward Recovery

PC shipments grew slightly in the second quarter for the first time in six months, according to market researchers iSuppli.
The recession-hammered PC market made its first step toward recovery in the second quarter, posting growth for the first time in six months, a market researcher said Friday.

Global PC shipments rose 1% in the quarter to 67.2 million units, compared to 66.5% in the first quarter, iSuppli said. While the sequential growth is not enough to generate growth for the entire year, it marks the start of continued sequential growth in the third and fourth quarters.

Driving growth for the rest of the year will be the slowly improving global economy and the release in late October of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. "However, this growth had been expected and doesn't change iSuppli's forecast of a 4% decline in global PC shipments for the full year of 2009," iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins said in a statement.

Microsoft will embark on a huge advertising campaign for the Windows 7 launch, generating lots of mainstream electronic and print media attention. "This advertising blitz will get more people thinking about PCs," Wilkins said. "This can only be a plus for the market."

While the market is resuming quarter-to-quarter growth, it remains down compared to last year. Shipments in the second quarter fell 4.3% compared to the same period in 2008, iSuppli said.

In looking at the major vendors, iSuppli found that the market share gap between No. 2 Dell and No. 3 Acer continued to dwindle, as Dell saw a 19.5% decline in shipments in the quarter from a year ago and Acer posted a 23.3% increase. As a result, the gap between the two companies narrowed to only 1.2 percentage points from 6.5 percentage points in the same period last year.

Hewlett-Packard remained the top PC vendor in terms of shipments for the 12th consecutive quarter. HP's shipments rose 2% from a year ago to 13.4 million units.

"Hewlett-Packard not only is maintaining its leadership position but is also gaining market share due to its robust notebook PC business, which has outgrown the overall notebook segment for the past two quarters," Wilkins said.

Rounding out the top five vendors were No. 4 Lenovo followed by Toshiba.

ISuppli adds to the mounting evidence that the PC market has turned a corner. Analyst firm IDC reported in July that it expected the PC market to return to growth before the end of the year. In addition, HP and Dell have reported seeing stabilization in the market, following months of decline.

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