Hewlett-Packard Gains PC Market Share After Mulling Spinoff

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)’s proposal to spin off its personal-computer business didn’t scare off many PC buyers last quarter, with its U.S. and global market share increasing in the period.

The Palo Alto, California-based company’s share of U.S. PC shipments rose to 28.9 percent from 25.4 percent a year earlier, solidifying its lead in the industry, Gartner Inc. (IT) said today. Worldwide, Hewlett-Packard’s share climbed to 17.7 percent from 17.3 percent. IDC, another market research firm, also showed the company gaining ground.

Hewlett-Packard announced a proposal to spin off the PC business on Aug. 18, under its previous chief executive officer, Leo Apotheker. The company, which replaced him with Meg Whitman the following month, has been reconsidering the idea, people familiar with the matter said in September.

“Despite the potential spinoff of its PC business, HP executives’ efforts to give the appearance of ‘business as usual’ seemed to work in the quarter,” Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner said in its report.

Total PC shipments rose less than forecast in the third quarter, dragged down by disappointing back-to-school sales, a sluggish economy and a shift to tablets and smartphones, according to Gartner.

IPad Impact

Shipments climbed 3.2 percent, below the 5.1 percent growth that had been projected, the research firm said. The industry shipped 91.8 million units in the period, compared with almost 89 million last year, Gartner found. IDC said global sales rose 3.6 percent, below the 4.5 percent growth it had predicted.

“Back-to-school PC sales were disappointing in mature markets, confirming that the consumer PC market continues to be weak,” Mikako Kitagawa, a Gartner analyst, said in a statement. “The popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and smartphones, took consumers’ spending away from PCs.”

Lenovo Group Ltd. (992) ranked No. 2 in global shipments for the first time, after Hewlett-Packard. Lenovo had 13.5 percent of the market, boosted by a joint venture with NEC Corp. and aggressive marketing, Gartner said. Dell Inc. (DELL) was third, with 11.6 percent.

In the U.S., Dell was second with 21.9 percent, Gartner said. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, was the third- biggest seller, accounting for 12.9 percent of the market, up from 10.8 percent during the same period a year earlier, Gartner said.

Hewlett-Packard also gained share in market data released by IDC. In the U.S., the company’s market share grew to 28.6 percent, from 24.9 percent a year earlier.

Hewlett-Packard shares were little changed today in New York trading. The stock has declined 39 percent this year, hurt by investors’ concerns about its strategy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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