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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Friday, April 20, 2007

Q1 2007 worldwide PC market share

Both Gartner and IDC have released their worldwide PC market share figures. As usual, they're pretty close to each other, but here's how the top five PC makers fared in each report:

58.9 million PCs sold worldwide, up 10.9 percent overall

1. HP - 11.24m - 19.1 percent share
2. Dell - 8.99m - 15.2 percent share
3. Acer - 3.97m - 6.7 percent share
3. Lenovo - 3.97m - 6.7 percent share
5. Toshiba - 2.55m - 4.3 percent share

62.7 million PCs sold worldwide, up 8.9 percent overall

1. HP - 11.03m - 17.6 percent share
2. Dell - 8.69m - 13.9 percent share
3. Acer - 4.25m - 6.8 percent share
4. Lenovo - 3.96m - 6.3 percent share
5. Toshiba - 2.55m - 4.1 percent share

If you average 58.9 million and 62.7 million, you get 60.8 million. As always, I'll use this averaged number to determine the Macintosh's Q1 2007 market share when Apple releases its sales figures on April 25.

Some market share observations from the quarter and how they relate to Apple:

- Gartner estimates that Apple accounted for 5 percent of the PC market in the US during the first quarter of 2007. This estimate comes ahead of Apple's sales data and, like all of the US data, is preliminary. Certainly, it's not improbable that Apple could control 5 percent of the US market.

- Both Apple and Hewlett-Packard (HP) experienced roughly the same growth in Q1 2007, according to Gartner (30 percent for Apple in the US only; 28.7 percent for HP worldwide, 25.8 percent in the US). However, note that HP saw huge gains worldwide, while Apple's growth is only known for the US. I've often discussed the fact that growth is easier to achieve when you're starting from a small position in the market. That HP was able to basically duplicate Apple's growth, and do so across the globe, and not just in the richest PC market, is somewhat astonishing. They were already the number one PC maker by most estimates. You don't typically see that kind of growth from one of the dominant players. (Also notable: Toshiba grew 26.8 percent in the US.)

- I've seen some outlandish claims out there about "Appleā€™s Mac sales are now growing twice as fast as other major American PC makers." Actually, according to Gartner, both HP and Toshiba are growing just about as fast as Apple in the US (see above), and HP and Acer (46 percent) are growing dramatically faster than the rest of the market worldwide. I'm interested in the facts, not FUD or wishful thinking, and those are the facts.

Looking ahead to April 25, I don't have a feeling one way or another about Apple's worldwide market share. The company has been stuck in a 2.x percent trajectory for a while now with modest gains over time.

And of course, there's the ever-present argument that market share doesn't matter. That's not entirely true. Market share isn't the only way to measure the health of Apple, the Mac, other PC makers, or the overall PC market, of course. But it is one way, and it's one of the most accurate, which makes it especially appealing to me. More opinion-oriented measurements, like "mind share" play into this, as does the ever-elusive usage share, which would be wonderful to have if there were any accurate way to measure it. And of course, Apple is increasingly moving into other markets, which will earn more money for the company over time.

Regardless of the outcome, April 25 will be interesting.

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