This story replaces an earlier version of the same article; that older version included incorrect percentages based on my misreading of the data. The original premise of the article—that Apple appears to have had a solid quarter despite tough economic conditions facing other PC makers—is unaffected by my math errors. My apologies for the initial mistake.
It was buried at the bottom of the Computerworld report on fourth-quarter PC sales posted at Macworld.com earlier on Thursday, but preliminary signs point to Apple having a pretty good end to 2008. The report, which focuses on a preliminary estimate of fourth-quarter sales by market-research firm Gartner, paints a grim overall picture of the PC market, with year-over-year revenue tumbling from 2007’s numbers and netbooks cannibalizing sales of other machines.
Not so for Apple, however. The same Gartner report estimates that Apple’s U.S. shipments rose 8.3 percent over the same period in 2007; that was good enough to give the company an 8 percent share of the U.S. market (up from 6.7 percent at the same time last year). Compare that to Dell, still your market leader in the U.S., which saw its fourth-quarter shipments fall 16.4 percent from 2007, according to Gartner. No. 2 PC maker HP saw a 3.4 percent drop in shipments.
The news isn’t entirely rosy for Apple. As this IDG News Service report notes, Acer enjoyed such a strong fourth quarter—its shipments jumped 55 percent—that it leapt over Apple into third-place among U.S. PC sellers.
These are, of course, one firm’s estimates. We’ll get a complete picture of Apple’s quarterly performance next Wednesday when the company announces its fiscal first-quarter earnings. Macworld.com will have live coverage of Apple’s 2 p.m. PT conference call with financial analysts.