“Technology research firm Gartner Inc. on Wednesday said Hewlett-Packard Co. strengthened its grip on the title of the world’s No. 1 PC company in 2007, while top rival Dell Inc. added to its top position in the U.S. market during the fourth quarter of the year,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch.

Crum continues, “According to its preliminary results, Gartner said that HP shipped 49.4 million PCs in 2007, a 30% increase from 2006, and giving the company 18.2% of the total worldwide market. Dell’s came in second place with a 14.3% market share, but its shipments of 38.7 million units rose just 1.7% from a year ago.”

“The rest of the top five worldwide vendors included Acer Inc., Lenovo Group and Toshiba. Total worldwide PC shipments for the year reached 271.1 million units, up 13.4% from 2006,” Crum reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: As usual, in both reports, Apple’s worldwide sales and share do not make the top 5 and are therefore not broken out in any detail. What we do know is that in the preliminary IDC report on worldwide PC shipments for the full year 2007, #5 Toshiba is credited with 10.936 million units for a 4.1% share. From Apple’s earnings reports, we know that Cupertino shipped 1.517 million Mac’s in the first calendar quarter of 2007, 1.764 million in the second quarter, and 2.164 million in the third. Throw in 2.3 million for the holiday quarter (Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s current number) and that’s 7.745 million Macs worldwide in calendar 2007. Divide that by IDC’s total PC shipments in 2007, 268.96 million, and Apple Mac had 2.88% worldwide market share.

Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld, “According to Gartner Inc., Apple shipped 1.04 million machines in the last three months of 2007 [6.1% of the U.S. market], compared to 808,000 in the same quarter a year earlier, a 28% increase. The sales surge, however, wasn’t enough to keep Apple from falling a notch, to fourth place, in U.S. sales. In the previous quarter, Apple held the third position in the U.S. market.”

MacDailyNews Note: Apple posted the largest year-over-year growth in Gartner’s research, as its Macintosh shipments rose 28% from the fourth quarter of 2006. IDC’s U.S figures pegs Apple Mac at 1.058 million units, or 5.7% share, up from 808,000 units (4.7% share) for a year-over-year increase of 30.9%. Both firms use slightly different methodology to arrive at their preliminary results.

Keizer continues, “Apple had held the third-place spot in the third-quarter U.S. rankings released by Gartner and IDC last October. That quarter, which accounts for July, August and September, is traditionally a strong stretch for Mac sales because it’s the peak of the back-to-school selling season.”

“Also playing a part in Apple’s demotion was Acer’s acquisition of Gateway Inc., a deal that was announced in August and finalized in October. The research firms’ fourth quarter estimates were the first to combine shipment estimates of Gateway, which had been a top-5 U.S. seller, with those of Acer,” Keizer reports.

“Both Gartner’s and IDC’s estimates indicated that Apple’s year-to-year growth continued to beat the industry average by a wide margin. While Gartner said shipments in the U.S. grew by 7.2% overall, it pegged Apple’s year-over-year increase at 28%. IDC, meanwhile, calculated the industry average growth rate at 8.8%, and Apple’s at 30.9%,” Keizer reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Both Gartner’s and IDC’s numbers are preliminary figures assembled prior to financial earnings reports. Apple will release definitive sales figures on Tuesday, January 22, after market close.

IDC’s Top 5 Vendors, United States PC Shipments, Full Year 2007 (Preliminary) (Units Shipments are in thousands)

• IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
• Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
• PCs include Desktops, Notebooks, Ultra Portables, and x86 Servers and do not include handhelds. Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.

MacDailyNews Take: The good news for Mac sales just keeps on coming! As always, the actual percentage numbers are not as important as the trends shown since all “market share” reports have unique measurement sources. The trend seen in IDC, Gartner, and other reports shows Apple’s Macintosh is clearly ascendent.