Apple Notebook Sales Up, iPod Sales Down

For the month of March, Apple was the fourth largest seller of notebook computers, grabbing nearly 10 percent of the market behind Gateway, Toshiba and HP. The retail numbers, consolidated by NPD Group, do not include Dell, which only sells directly.

Apple's 9.9 percent share in March puts the company back in the top five notebook retailers after it dropped out in February. Apple previously held a 10.1 percent market share in January. Toshiba led the market in March with a share of 26.2 percent, closely followed by HP at 23.9 percent. Gateway placed third with 13 percent of the market.

Perhaps more importantly for the company, Apple also for the first time placed in the top five retailers of desktop computers thanks to strong sales of its iMac. A 7.7 percent market share puts Apple far behind Compaq, Gateway and eMachines, each with around 16.5 percent, as well as market leader HP at 35 percent.

However, the retail sales news from NPD was not all good for Apple. Its ubiquitous iPod player continued to lose market share, dropping below 70 percent for the first time in a year. SanDisk's Sansa took up the slack, reaching 11.2 percent share in March. Creative, meanwhile, inched up its portable media player share from 2.7 percent to 3.6.

Microsoft's Zune stayed put at 2.5 percent share, but the company remains optimistic about its chances. The company believes it will eventually take the lead in the category once it releases new models and begins international sales. Rumors indicate Microsoft is preparing a new version of the Zune to improve upon the first generation device.

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