PC Shipments Slow in Q3

Shipments of personal computers missed forecasts in the third quarter, according to research firm Gartner. The data was confirmed by its industry peer IDC.

The firm said, "Worldwide PC shipments surpassed 88.3 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 7.6% increase from the third quarter of 2009, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. These third quarter results were below Gartner's earlier market outlook. Gartner had expected third quarter PC shipments to grow 12.7%."

Gartner explained that back-to-school sales were slow, as were sales in the U.S. and Europe. Low-end PCs and laptops had particularly sharp drops in demand. Gartner's figures conflicted with its earlier comments about the impact of tablet PCs, like the Apple (AAPL) iPad. The research operation said that consumers had, in some cases, deferred purchases of PCs as they considered tablet products.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) remained the No.1 PC maker worldwide with a 17.5% market share, followed by Acer at 13.1% and Dell (DELL) at 12.2%. In the U.S., HP had 25.3% of the market, followed by Dell at 23.8%. Apple's growth surged 13.7% from the same quarter last year, allowing it to bump Acer from third to fourth place. U.S. shipments rose only 2.2% from the same period a year ago to 17.6 million.

The data confirms earnings warnings issued by Intel (INTC) and AMD (AMD) last quarter that their numbers were being effected by relatively weak demand for the PCs that use their processors.

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