updated 04:20 pm EST, Wed January 14, 2009
IDC Q4 2008 PC Results
Apple has potentially slipped from third place to fourth in US market share among computers, according to data for the holiday quarter from research firm IDC. The Mac producer is estimated to have shipped about 1.25 million computers to the country, dropping it from its previous position and lowering it from 9.1 percent market share in the summer to 7.2. The company's sheer unit growth has also cooled from 32 percent year-over-year in summer to 7.5 percent.
Acer appears to have taken most of the growth, boosting it from 8.5 percent to 11.9 percent between quarters with 2.07 million PCs shipped. Its year-over-year growth has slowed from 112.3 percent to 35.8 percent but is now in its first full year since its takeovers of Gateway and Packard Bell. Its emphasis on better retail sales and a focus on low-cost PCs, including netbooks, are cited by IDC as having been key to improving its standing in the US.
Rivals Dell, HP and Toshiba have held their respective first, second and third places with little change, though shipments from Dell and HP shrunk by 16.4 percent and 3.3 percent versus late 2007.
Positions remain similar for annual results but look more favorably on Apple, according to the estimates. Apple is believed to have shipped about 5.26 million Macs for all of 2008 and will have claimed 7.7 percent of the market, gaining significantly over 6.2 percent of the market it had in 2007 but growing more slowly than Acer, which leapt from just 5.8 percent to 9.1 percent in 2008. IDC warns that much of the help came from the Gateway deal and that Acer technically lost 0.4 percent share when the combined share of its companies is included.
World share both for the quarter and for 2008 continues to place Apple out of the top five. HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba occupy first through fifth place and have remained largely unchanged.
Most of the reduced growth and declines are attributed directly to the poor economy and are labeled a repeat of similar behavior from 2006, when Windows Vista's delay and economic trouble produced a similar effect. Netbooks are credited with softening the blow and saw 10 million of the mini portables ship in 2008, half of which were sold during the holidays alone; the number accounts for 7 percent of all notebooks and should double to 20 million this year, IDC predicts.
Apple has so far consciously opted out of the netbook market, with company chief Steve Jobs it a nascent field and warning that Apple doesn't believe it can produce a quality computer at $500 or less.