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Acer shunts HP off top spot in EMEA PC market

Paul Kunert

Acer has toppled Hewlett-Packard from the summit of the EMEA PC market as it became the only major vendor in the region to scale the business during a tough third quarter.

Figures by Gartner show the Taiwanese firm grew 12.4% in the three months while arch rival HP saw a 3.8% drop in shipments, albeit better than the total market decline across EMEA of 10.1%.

"Consumer mobile was essentially the only segment of the PC market to grow and Acer, with a large exposure to that space has seen the upside," Ranjit Atwal, Gartner principal analyst told MicroScope.

Rivals HP and Dell - which was shunted into third place following a 17.6% drop in Q3 sales - are both "suffering from a lacklustre professional market," he added, despite some signs that IT budgets are loosening.

"Hardware will continue to see lifecycles extended. PCs were the first sector impacted by cost containment strategies at the beginning of the year and are likely to be the last IT segment to see a return to spending," said Atwal.

Bobby Watkins, UK general manager at Acer said he was "not surprised" by the results as its core markets were comparatively less impacted by the recession.

"Our consumer and SMB focus is of course where we are strong and where sales have been less impacted by the economic situation, that has enabled us to outperform the overall market," he said.

The global PC market moved into growth, albeit by 0.5% in Q3, but the recovery in the EMEA region will be more protracted said Gartner, as sales for the whole of 2009 are forecast to drop 10% on last year.

Even the long awaited arrival of Windows 2007 is unlikely to spur mainstream professional market adoption until mid-2010, the analyst reiterated.

This leaves HP and Dell with some strategic thinking to do; Michael Dellis banking on a significant refresh cycle in the corporate PC market in 2010 while HP has already said it will not seek market share - at least in the UK - at the expense profit.

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