In the first quarter of 2007, Hewlett-Packard officially entered the ranks of the PC giants.
HP racked up a 19.1 percent worldwide market share by shipping 11.2 million computers, according to IDC figures released Wednesday. That effectively ties the 2Q 2006 high-water mark for Dell. In that quarter, Dell scored a 19.14 percent market share, but only shipped about 10 million PCs.
Gartner came up with similar numbers. Gartner said HP had a 17.6 market share by shipping 11 million PCs. In 2Q 2006, Dell achieved a 17.7 percent market share, but only shipped 9.7 million PCs.
Thus, the two companies are essentially tied when it comes to all-time market share for the modern PC era, although Dell can claim a slight edge. The modern era, for my purposes, is the past two decades, after the clone industry began to spring up around IBM.
"HP's 1Q07 worldwide share equals Dell's at its peak back in 2Q06," writes Gartner analyst Charles Smulders. "Historically, other vendors such as IBM have enjoyed higher, but in the early days of the industry,
HP, though, has had the two largest quarters in terms of sheer shipments of any PC maker in history. So in terms of volume, HP can claim the girth prize. In the fourth quarter of 2007, it shipped 11.7 million PCs, according to Gartner. These mark the only two times when a vendor has shipped more than 11 million units. (IDC's numbers are in the same range.)
The bad part for HP is that there's only one place to go: down. Apple, IBM, Compaq and Dell have all sat atop this pile before.