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Merrill Lynch ups world PC sales growth forecast

Dell could win 30% market share

Merrill Lynch believes the world PC market will grow 13 per cent this year, the same rate of growth experienced in 2003, the company told investors yesterday.

It originally had 2004 growth down as 11 per cent, but raised its expectations on the back of "decent consumer showing and an improving corporate market" in the last quarter of last year.

ML's figures cast HP in the role of market leader, with 15.3 per cent of the PCs sold around the world during Q3 2004 coming from that company. However, it warned that Dell could easily "leapfrog" HP during the first half of this year. Dell took 14.5 per cent of the market.

Even if it doesn't make the number one slot, Dell will still increase its market share this year - possibly rising to 30 per cent "someday". HP too will gain share "over time", ML said.

The loses will undoubtedly include IBM, which came in third with a 5.3 per cent share, Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens (3.8 per cent) and Acer (3.5 per cent).

Apple ranked ninth, taking 1.7 per cent of the market - the first time its quarterly market share has dipped below two per cent, ML said. However, the company said it expects the success of Apple's iPod to eventually lead to Mac sales, which could see Apple making some gains. ®

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