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HP Keeps PC Crown But Asian Vendors Take Share

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The only other U.S. maker, Dell (Nasdaq; DELL), stayed in third place, but its share dropped to 11 percent from 11.4 percent a year ago. The Round Rock, Tex., manufacturer sold about 100,000 fewer units, or 9.83 million PCs.

PC Growth in BRICS

The trend shows clearly that PC growth is in Asia and especially in the so-called BRICS markets – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – where growth surpasses that in the North America.

The other PC leaders, respectively, were Taiwan’s Acer Group (TPE: 2353) and Asustek Computer (TPE: 2357), whose first-quarter respective shares were 10.9 and 6 percent.

Tablets, such as the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and Samsung Electronics (KSE: 5930) Galaxy Tab, weren’t included in the Gartner report.

Overall, Asian PC sales rose 2 percent to 30.3 million, with the sharpest increase in Japan, where shipments rose 11.5 percent. A year ago, Japan suffered the Fukushima tsunami and earthquake.

Asia’s Growing Share

That meant Asia accounted for more than a third of overall demand. Sales in the U.S. fell 3.5 percent, to 15.5 million, still better than estimates.

In the U.S. market, Gartner reported, HP’s share rose 6.6 percent to 29 percent, followed by Dell’s 22.3 percent and Apple’s 10.6 percent.

Analysts welcomed the news, saying they were surprised by the gains by HP. At Jefferies, Peter Misek said he was surprised but warned the overall market may be challenged as consumers wait for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) to rollout Windows 8, which should trigger new refreshment demand.

At Nomura Securities, analyst Rick Sherlund suggested the report benefited from sales in Europe and the Middle East that were higher than expected; as well, last quarter, overall PC sales were held back because of flooding of disk drive plants in Thailand, which caused supply bottlenecks.

In Friday trading, HP shares fell 59 cents to $24.51 at midday, up about 6 percent for the week. Dell shares lost a dime to $16.17, down nearly 2 percent for the week.

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