updated 05:05 pm EDT, Wed April 11, 2012
IDC and Gartner give early Q1 2012 estimates
Both Gartner and IDC provided early estimates of winter 2012 market share that showed Apple making big strides in the US. The two gave the Mac a tentative share of 10 or 10.6 percent, in either case enough to put it in third place. Both saw rapidly falling Acer and Toshiba below Apple in share.
The trend overall for the PC market as a whole was down outside of certain exceptions. In the US, PC share was either up just one point (IDC) or down 3.5 percent (Gartner). Worldwide, growth hovered between 1.9 to 2.3 percent for Gartner and IDC.
HP stayed out in front and grew its share slightly to 17.2 percent (Gartner) or 17.9 percent (IDC), but Acer, Dell, Toshiba, and smaller PC builders dragged down the industry as a whole. ASUS and Lenovo continued to be fast movers, all growing over 20 percent.
Both research firms attributed some of the problems to the lingering effects of hard drive shortages sparked by 2011's Thailand floods. They also still saw an effect from tablets like the iPad, however, as customers were either still hesitant to buy or were actively picking tablets instead. Gartner's Mikako Kitagawa warned that an emphasis on competing mainly on price posed a risk to the Windows PC industry, as these cheaper systems were the most at risk of being replaced by tablets.
"Questions remain on whether low-end systems can attract consumers, as their attention has moved to other devices," Kitagawa said.
Many are waiting for Apple's quarterly results on April 24 to determine whether or not the company can repeat a breakthrough in the fall of selling more tablets in the US than all PCs combined. At estimates of 15.5 million PCs shipped by Gartner or 16.6 million from IDC, Apple would have to at least match and more likely beat its holiday iPad sales to claim the symbolic lead. The new iPad gives it a chance, but it only had two weeks on the market in the first quarter.
- Jon Fingas