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Dell's PC shipments down 20% in 4th quarter [Austin American-Statesman]
[January 10, 2013]

Dell's PC shipments down 20% in 4th quarter [Austin American-Statesman]

(Austin American-Statesman (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 11--Dell Inc. saw its shipments of personal computers slide downward in the fourth quarter as the PC industry limped to the end of a weak year, according to a market survey released Thursday by International Data Corp.

Round Rock-based Dell, now the world's third-largest PC maker, shipped 9.5 million units in the quarter, a drop of 20.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

IDC's figures reflect its estimates for the calendar fourth quarter. The final quarter for Dell's fiscal year extends through the end of January.

Hewlett-Packard Co. finished first with 15 million units shipped in the quarter, down 0.6 percent; while hard-charging Lenovo Group of China shipped 14.1 million, up 8.2 percent.

Global shipments for the quarter totaled 89.8 million, down 6.4 percent from the year before.

The results indicated the launch of Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows 8 software, which was introduced in late October, did little to brake the sudden market slowdown in the third quarter, IDC said.

"Its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes," IDC said in announcing the year-end results of its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"The PC ecosystem has thus far not adequately conveyed a fuller spectrum of the benefits of the latest Wintel platform," said Jay Chou, IDC's senior research analyst. He said the PC market might be able to rebound in 2013 as Windows 8 matures and other factors such as the pricing of lightweight Ultrabook notebooks declines.

For the past year, Dell has said it would walk away from personal computer sales deals that it deemed would offer little or no profit.

Dell made that decision as more aggressive companies, especially Lenovo, attempted to drive sales volumes by competing with lower prices.

For all of 2012, IDC said, Hewlett-Packard shipped 58.1 million PCs, down 6.7 percent from 2011, while Lenovo shipped 52.4 million, an increase of 19.2 percent. Dell shipped 38.7 million, a decline of 5.6 million units, or 12.6 percent, from the year before.

Two Taiwanese companies, Acer Group and AsusTek, were in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Acer shipped 33.5 million computers, down 9.7 percent, while AsusTek shipped 24.1 million, up 17 percent.

Global PC shipments for the year totaled 352.4 million, down 3.2 percent. It was the first yearly drop in PC shipments since 2001, the year of the dot-com bust.

"It was a weak year for the industry," said analyst Patrick Moorheadwith Moor Insights & Strategy. "I think 2013 will be a big or bigger challenge for PCs." The bounce back for PCs will come in 2014, Moorhead said, when the consumer lust for tablets begins to fade a bit and a new generation of high-performance, low-power notebook computers arrives.

The best case for PCs this year, Moorhead believes is flat sales from last year. The worst case, he said, is a 10 percent drop.

Dell's weak numbers "continued the trend of Dell backing away from PCs as a whole and particularly consumers PCs," Moorhead said. "The fourth quarter is all about the consumer and they (Dell) are not about the consumer as much.

"But it is time to start asking the question how far is far enough for Dell to back off How far will Dell allow this to slide. If you get too small, your parts get more expensive and you don't get the sweet deals on component (prices)." ___ (c)2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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