Oct. 09--Global personal computer shipments continued their slide in the third quarter, but the three largest vendors -- Lenovo Group, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. -- all managed slight gains from a year ago, according to a report from International Data Corp., which tracks technology markets.
Lenovo showed very strong growth in shipments to U.S. customers to retain its global lead with 14.1 million units sold, up 2.2 percent from a year ago. Much of the company's sales are in Asia, but its U.S. shipments in the quarter increased to 1.7 million, up 25.8 percent from last year.
Hewlett-Packard was just behind with 14.0 million shipments worldwide, up 0.4 percent. Its U.S. shipments totaled 4.4 million units, up 3.5 percent.
Round Rock-based Dell, the largest private employer in Central Texas, showed its first year-over-year uptick in PC shipments since late 2011, with 9.5 million shipments, up 0.3 percent. The company's U.S, shipments in the quarter totaled 3.5 million, up 2.3 percent from last year.
For Dell, which is poised to go private before the end of this month, getting even a small year-to-year increase was an improvement. Dell wants to remake itself into a stronger supplier of advanced information technology products, services and software, but the company has said it intends to stay strong in personal computers and it wants to become a viable competitor in tablet computers, which have eaten away at some sales of conventional PCs.
Globally, PC makers shipped 81.6 million units in the quarter, down 7.6 percent from a year ago. Those results were a little better than IDC's forecast, said analyst Loren Loverde. "Buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements," Loverde said. The results "suggest that there's still a high probability that we'll see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014."
Acer Group and Asustek, two companies that concentrate on consumer sales, took a beating in the quarter. Acer shipped 5.5 million PCs, down 34.5 percent from last year. Asustek shipped 4.2 million units, down 34.1 percent.
The U.S. market, which saw a 0.2 decline, was stronger than in Asia, which saw an 8.8 percent contraction. In the U.S. more business customers were upgrading systems from older computers based on Microsoft Corp.'s aging Windows XP software, which was first released in 2001.
In Asia, some markets were hut by declining currency exchange rates, but commercial buying in China was better than expected, IDC said.
While much of the global industry remains in a slump, IDC picked out two companies there were outperforming. Chinese vendor Tongfang saw its shipments increase by 10 percent through August this year because of stronger sales to commercial customers and education customers. And Brazil's Positivo, ranked 11th in the world, in part because of a jump in sale of laptops to commercial customers.
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