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Hewlett-Packard loses crown as top personal computer manufacturer
First Published Jul 11 2013 08:41 am • Last Updated Jul 11 2013 08:42 am

Palo Alto • Hewlett-Packard’s reign as the world’s largest manufacturer of personal computers came to an end in the second quarter of 2013, two analysis firms independently reported Wednesday.

Tracking firms IDC and Gartner released their preliminary quarterly results for the PC industry, and both analyses showed that Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo shipped more computers in the recently completed three-month period than HP, which has held the crown as the largest PC maker since at least 2006. Both reports showed Lenovo’s shipments outpacing HP’s by more than 200,000 units, and they tracked roughly 12.4 million shipments in the quarter. HP’s year-over-year decline was greater in IDC’s report, which showed a 7.7 percent decrease; Gartner reported a 4.8 percent loss.

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"We don’t like being number two and we don’t plan to stay there," a Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman said Wednesday. "We have a multi OS, multi architecture and multi form factor computing strategy that we believe will delight customers and rebuild share. We’re also focused on building a profitable business that’s smart about its future."

Overall, the reports continued to show a decline in the PC industry, though there were optimistic findings. IDC reported global shipments of 75.6 million units in the quarter, an 11.4 percent decline from the same quarter in 2012, slightly better than the company’s forecast.

IDC executive Bob O’Donnell said in Wednesday’s announcement that shipment numbers are starting to stabilize along with the average life span of consumers’ personal computers, which had been steadily increasing.

"The end result should be more PC replacements, even if consumers and companies are selective in making replacements and wait until PCs are older before replacing them," O’Donnell said.

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa noted that shipments in the United States experienced an 8.5 percent sequential gain from the first quarter, with enterprise sales possibly boosted by the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows XP. She also threw some cold water on the theory that displeasure with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, was at the core of the PC market’s troubles.

"While Windows 8 has been blamed by some as the reason for the PC market’s decline, we believe this is unfounded as it does not explain the sustained decline in PC shipments, nor does it explain Apple’s market performance," Kitagawa said.

Apple’s total PC shipments — which do not include the company’s popular iPad tablets — did not register in the top six PC companies for global production. The Cupertino company, the only major PC manufacturer that does not mostly rely on Microsoft’s operating system, shipped 1.74 million PCs in the United States, a decline of 4.3 percent, according to Gartner; IDC reported Apple’s total as 1.81 million, a 0.5 percent annual decrease.

Hewlett-Packard stock was not affected by Wednesday’s news, with shares reaching their highest intraday price in the past year. HP reached a 52-week high of $26.71 before closing with a 1.8 percent advance at $25.93. Other firms with solid footholds in the PC industry also gained: Santa Clara chip giant Intel increased 0.5 percent to $23.25, Microsoft gained 1 percent to $34.70, and chip-equipment company Applied Materials moved 4.1 percent higher to $16.30. Apple stock declined 0.4 percent to $420.73 after a judge ruled the company’s dealings with book publishers on e-book prices violated antitrust laws.

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