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Acer pulls ahead in global PC race

Taiwan firm outstrips global PC market growth by a factor of three to climb to fifth position in worldwide sales.

Taiwanese PC maker Acer pulled off a spectacular 44 percent growth in PC shipments during 2004, as the rest of the global PC industry played out along predicted lines, market researcher iSuppli said this week.

According to the researcher, global PC shipments last year were 191.4 million units, conforming to its earlier projections. This represented a growth of 13.4 percent over the previous year's 168.8 million units.

Acer grabbed the fifth position on the top-10 list from Toshiba, iSuppli said.

Dell once again retained its No. 1 slot by selling 31.4 million units, up 22.8 percent from 25.6 million PCs sold in 2003. Hewlett-Packard shipped 27.76 million PCs to garner a growth of 10.6 percent.

In third place, IBM, which recently sold its PC business to Chinese firm Lenovo, crossed the 10-million PC mark. Lenovo, whose performance was slightly better than the industry average at 14.9 percent, pushed NEC down one rung down to claim the seventh position. Another firm that broke into the top-10 manufacturers list was Gateway, which acquired its rival eMachines last year.

iSuppli said the desktop segment of the market grew by 10.6 percent, but its share in the overall market dwindled to 73.3 percent from 75.1 percent in 2003. On the other hand, notebook PCs registered 22.1 percent growth, as the segment inched closer to a quarter of the total PC market. The total number of notebooks shipped in 2004 was over 45.8 million, iSuppli said.

Entry level servers grew by 19 percent over last year, with the volume increasing to about 5.3 million units.