Despite weak growth in the US, computer makers still posted another double-digit gain in shipments worldwide in the first quarter, according to two technology research firms that said the increase beat their forecasts. IDC and Gartner on Wednesday also said Dell's recent initiative to offer computers in retail stores is helping it gain ground on Hewlett-Packard, which wrestled the title of world's largest PC maker from Dell in late 2006.
Even with growth in U.S. sales slowing to around 3 percent, overseas gains boosted global first-quarter PC shipments 14.6 percent, according to IDC, and to 12.3 percent by Gartner's count. That's because the United States accounted for just 23 percent of global shipments in the first quarter compared with 25 percent a year ago. "Even if there is a particularly bad U.S. market, it's becoming a smaller piece of the global puzzle," said Bob O'Donnell, an IDC vice president.