Local Tech Wire

MORRISVILLE, N.C. – PC sales are surging worldwide, boosting the world’s No. 4 PC maker share of the global market to above 10 percent.

The company, which bases most of its operations in China but maintains its global headquarters in Morrisville, showed “impressive gains in all regions,” market research firm IDC

A 47 percent leap in sales lifted Lenovo’s market share to double digits from 8.5 percent for the same quarter a year ago. Since undergoing a massive reorganization and several changes in management a year ago, Lenovo retooled to focus on China and emerging markets.

Lenovo also has returned to profitability with

The company also has rolled out scores of new models ranging from cheap netbooks to elaborate laptops for graphic designers and desktop models. A new 3-D machine is also in the works.

The surge lifted Lenovo to within close range of No. 3 Acer (12.6 percent) and Dell (13 percent).

“Lenovo had a strong quarter with over 47% growth and impressive gains in all regions, especially [Europe, Middle East, Asia] and emerging markets,” IDC reported.

“The company continued to capitalize on its strength in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), but also maintained rapid gains in North America and Europe. Strong Portable PC growth was a major driver, but Desktop deals into emerging markets and business renewals also played a part.”

Lenovo shipped 8.34 million machines in the quarter compared to 5.7 million a year ago.

Despite the surge, Lenovo isn’t among the top five sellers in the U.S.

HP remains No. 1 overall at 18.1 percent.

However, the global market share of the top three firms declined as Lenovo and ASUS, which is sixth behind Toshiba, each made strong gains.

A year ago, Dell and Acer had a much bigger lead over Lenovo at 13.4 percent and 12.7 percent market share.

The industry itself reported a 22.4 percent increase in shipments for the second quarter, IDC reported. Businesses are replacing older computers and consumers are buying more inexpensive laptops, IDC reported.

"The PC market remains robust, and in a recovery phase, despite challenges to a broader economic recovery, such as slow job growth and a more conservative outlook in Europe and Asia/Pacific," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, in a statement. "The factors which led to the recent PC rebound – an aging commercial installed base, a proliferation of low-cost media-centric PCs, and low PC penetration through much of the world – remain key drivers going forward."

Still, the growth was half a percentage point less than IDC predicted because of slightly lower PC shipments in the U.S. and Asia. IDC analyst Loren Loverde said the group will likely reduce estimates for the current quarter and the rest of the year slightly, but he still calls the industry’s performance in the quarter "quite good."

Businesses that stopped buying new technology during the worst of the recession have started replacing PCs, IDC says. That contributed to the rise in the quarter.

But Loverde said that doesn’t mean the industry should expect to see a dramatic surge in demand for PCs in the coming months. As PC processors become more powerful, it’s not as critical for many businesses to furnish employees with the most up-to-date technology. As a result, more companies are hanging on to older computers longer and replacing them on an as-needed basis, the analyst said.

In all, PC makers shipped 81.5 million computers in the quarter.

Consumers still sought out low-end laptops and netbooks – computers that are even less expensive, but also less powerful. However, Loverde said consumer PC buying seems to be slowing in the U.S. as big business spending picks up.

That has helped Dell overtake Acer and reclaim the No. 2 spot. Dell relies on corporations for much of its business, while Acer is more focused on consumers.

In the U.S., PC shipments rose 12.6 percent. HP, Dell and Acer were the top three. No. 4 Apple Inc. shipped 15.4 percent more of its Mac computers in the quarter. Toshiba was fifth.

Gartner Inc., another research group that tracks computer shipments using slightly different methods, said it estimates worldwide shipments rose 20.7 percent in the quarter to 82.9 million.

By Gartner’s count, Acer still shipped more PCs than Dell in the quarter on a worldwide basis, but Dell was No. 2 in the U.S.

Mikako Kitagawa, a Gartner analyst, said netbook shipments grew at about 20 percent in the quarter – much less than the 70 percent rate in the two prior quarters.

Kitagawa said the netbook market has matured, and some people who might have bought the smaller laptop-style devices in the past may have opted for Apple’s newly launched iPad tablet instead.

(The AP contributed to this report.)

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