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iPad/Slates Impact PC Shipments

11/08/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Despite posting healthy gains, PC
shipments for the third quarter grew at a slower
pace than expected, and two research firms pointed
a finger at media-pad type devices as one reason for
the contraction.

IDC and Gartner’s third-quarter PC shipment reports,
issued last month, had shipments increasing
11 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. However,
in each case this figure was between 3 percent and
5 percent lower than what the research firms had
predicted for the quarter.

The companies cited poor consumer sales during
the period for the unexpected falloff, with sales
of notebook computers a specific problem. Notebooks
had been a mainstay of consumer purchases
throughout the recession.

The back-to-school buying season usually guarantees
a better-than-average third quarter, but this
year the lingering effects of the recession tied to
the iPad/slate products helped convince students
and their parents that they could put off a computer
purchase, both firms reported.

Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said
media tablet devices like the iPad are not necessarily
grabbing sales, but the media hype surrounding
these new products are giving consumers a reason
to hold up on making a computer purchase.

“At this stage, hype around media tablets has led
consumers and the channels to take a ‘wait and see’
approach to buying a new device,” she said.

Gartner and IDC do not include iPad shipments
in their quarterly shipment reports. Earlier this year
shipment estimates for the iPad in 2010 ranged from
8 million to 10 million.

IDC Bob O’Donnell, clients and displays VP, noted
that netbook sales had slowed during the quarter, in
part due to the influence of the iPad. He added that
whatever negative impact the iPad may have had on
the category was countered by its effect on Apple
as a whole.

“The halo effect of the device also helped propel
Mac sales and moved the company into the No. 3
position in the U.S. market,” he said.

IDC had Apple just nudging out Acer, shipping
1.99 million units for 10.6 percent of the U.S. market
to Acer’s 1.949, or 10.3 percent.

Gartner’s report placed Apple at No. 4, just barely
behind Acer. Apple shipped 1.831 million computers,
compared with Acer’s 1.848 million during the
quarter. Acer had 10.5 percent of the market to Apple’s
10.4.

The difference between IDC and Gartner’s numbers
is due to different tracking methodology.

Overall, Hewlett-Packard retained its top position
on both companies’ charts. IDC had HP shipping
4.6 million units for 24.3 percent of the market, while
Gartner had the technology giant at 4.5 million for a
25.3 percent share.

Dell kept its second-place spot on both lists and
Toshiba held the No. 5 spot despite losing several
points of share.