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Computer sales up around the globe

PC sales are maintaining double-digit growth in both the U.S. and worldwide markets.

Personal computer sales are maintaining double-digit growth in both the U.S. and worldwide markets, according to two surveys of the second quarter by Dataquest and IDC Research.

Compaq Computer continues to hold the top position in worldwide sales with a 9.7 percent market share, although that number was lower than the second quarter of 1995, the Dataquest survey showed. Shipments were up 8.5 percent for the quarter to 1,430,000 units.

IBM and Hewlett-Packard both posted large gains in worldwide sales, with IBM posting a 33.6 percent increase over the previous quarter. HP posted a 30.6 percent rise in sales and has increased its market share from 3.9 percent to 4.3 percent.

Bill Schaub, director of worldwide tracking programs at Dataquest, attributed IBM's growth to smart inventory management. As a result of IBM slowing shipments in the first quarter, he says, resellers began to stock up on newer products in the second quarter.

"IBM has struggled for a number of quarters...The challenge is to ensure that demand stays healthy and continue that growth in the third quarter," Schaub says.

In the case of Hewlett-Packard, Schaub notes that they have posted strong gains each quarter since they refocused on the PC business. Results in the United States weren't as strong; HP failed to make the top five vendor list in both the Dataquest and IDC survey, but worldwide numbers from Dataquest revealed HP's continuing advantage in worldwide distribution.

"HP is a well run worldwide company. They have very good products at the right price point. Their advantage is that they have been worldwide for years. Others have had to develop distribution channels and strategies, where HP just ties [PC sales] in with their printer business," Schaub says.

Packard Bell and Apple posted the weakest results, according to Dataquest. Packard Bell's sales grew only 3.8 percent from the previous quarter, and overall market share fell from 9.4 percent to 8.7 percent from the same quarter last year. IDC actually showed a 21 percent gain in sales over the 1995 quarter, but those numbers reflected the company's acquisition of Zenith Data Systems.

Apple posted a miserable quarter, with a 21 percent drop in sales over the same quarter last year reported by both surveys. Eric Lewis, a senior researcher for IDC, says the news isn't all bad though. The sales numbers are actually up slightly from the first quarter 1996, and Apple actually had strong sales of Power Macintosh products. Third quarter results, which typically include high education market sales, will give a better indication of whether or not Apple is on the road to recovery, he says.

"The third quarter will show if Apple is still doing well with the education business," Lewis cautions. "The second reason it is an important quarter is that Apple will have rolled out new Performas and Power Macs and should have portables back on the shelves. That will show if people are people deserting in droves or hanging on."

"The answer this quarter is that customers are hanging on. Where Apple had good product, they had good sales," he says.

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