Early Q4 PC sales numbers point to Dell's comeback

The Michael Dell reformation strategy evidently paid off for his company in the last quarter of the year, according to the first numbers from IDC. Market share has stopped falling, and shipment growth is finally outpacing the average.

The SEC hadn't stopped Christmas from coming for Dell Computer. It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same.

Analyst firm IDC was first to the punch late yesterday with global sales estimates for the world's top five PC producers. And while the onward march of Hewlett-Packard proceeds on schedule, at nearly 14.7 million units shipped -- up 23.3% over the fourth quarter of 2006 -- Dell's shipments finally rose by double digits, up 17.1% to 11.3 million units, according to IDC's Quarterly PC Tracker report.

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Perhaps most importantly of all, Dell didn't lose market share. Although HP's global share still gained 1.2%, the bleeding may have at last stopped for Dell with an 0.2% share gain. Granted, investment analysts are saying Dell had nowhere else to go but up, but at least it's headed that direction now concertedly.

We still await the latest figures from hardware analysis firm iSuppli to substantiate IDC's estimates.

Number three Acer's overall shipments climbed an eye-catching 60.3% on the year, to 7.3 million units. But much of the reason for that boost was pretty obvious: Gateway now figures into Acer's overall picture. Still, the swallowing of what was once among the US' most proud brands effectively discontinues the virtual tie between Acer and #4 Lenovo. While Acer shipped 150,000 fewer units in the fourth quarter of '06 than Lenovo, in the last quarter, it shipped more than 1.5 million more units than Lenovo, for a market share number of 9.6%.

Toshiba holds the #5 slot at about 3 million units shipped, but that's mostly flat on the year. And this time around, the top five PC producers were responsible for nearly 55% of the world's PC shipments, in a growing display of dominance among the leading players.

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