HP and Dell Gain on Asian Rivals. Just Don't Call It a Comeback

Customers shop for HP laptops at a store in Yichang City, China Photograph by Imaginechina via AP Photo

With the computer industry stuck in a rut because of competition from tablets and smartphones, one rule has seemed certain: Longtime leaders Hewlett-Packard and Dell would steadily lose out to Asian rivals like Lenovo, Acer, and Asustek that could more easily cope with the tiny margins of a commodity business. For five years through the middle of 2013, the U.S. companies’ combined market share dropped quarter after quarter after quarter—and sure enough, Lenovo displaced HP last year as the world’s top seller of computers.

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