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Apple bounces back into US PC vendor top four

Jumps ahead of IBM/Lenovo

Apple took 4.5 per cent of the US PC market during Q2, establishing it as the fourth most successful vendor of the quarter, figures from market watcher IDC reveal.

The Mac maker still has a long way to go to challenge Dell and HP, respectively the number one and number two firms in the US chart, with 34.7 per cent and 18.7 per cent of the market. However, Apple is within shouting distance of Gateway - the number three player's Q2 share came to six per cent, IDC said. Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's PC business put it in fifth place, with a 4.1 per cent share.

Still, it's good news for Apple. Once one of world's the top three personal computer vendors, the Mac maker has for the last decade or so languished outside the top ten, let alone the top five vendors, with a share that has in the past fallen to under two per cent. Apple chief Steve Jobs noted a few years ago that the company only needed to lift its market share a few percentage points to realise big gains in revenue. With a shift toward lower-priced products like the Mac Mini, that's less true these days, but Apple is at least moving in the right direction.

The test will come during the current quarter and the next as the impact of Apple's planned shift to Intel processors becomes apparent. Will buyers hold back to await Intel-based systems, or can Apple persuade them that PowerPC-based purchases are not about to become obsolete?

Apple shipped 658,000 units in the US, with a year-on-year growth rate of 33 per cent - well above the average figure, 11.7 per cent.

Worldwide, Apple experienced a 37 per cent increase in shipments, with European and Asia-Pacific sales growing by more than twice the global rate, IDC said. The Asia-Pacific figure excludes Japanese sales, where Apple fared poorly, a fact it admitted during its recent quarterly results conference.

Globally, Apple didn't make the top five, pushed out by Acer and Fujitsu/Fujitsu-Siemens.

IDC puts Apple's success down to the iPod halo effect and the availability of the Mac Mini. "The company appears well positioned for education and consumer sales going into the second half of the year," the researcher forecast. ®

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