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Acer Challenging Dell As No. 2 PC Maker

Dell's decision not to lower prices to capture market share may have hurt, as only 0.2 of a percentage point separated it from the No. 3 spot in 2009 PC shipments.
Acer came within a fraction of a percentage point to replacing Dell as the second-largest PC maker in the world for 2009, a research firm says.

Acer last year shipped 38.46 million PCs to capture a 12.7% market share, just 0.2 of a percent less than Dell, which shipped 38.96 million units, iSuppli said Wednesday. Acer's near second-place finish was due to a 21% increase in shipments for the year versus Dell's 9.9% drop.

Acer's increase was the largest among the top five PC makers and was driven by laptop sales, which accounted for 80% of Acer's shipments, iSuppli said. Dell was the only top-five vendor to post a decline.

Last year was a tough one for computer makers, as the economic recession pushed consumers toward low-priced PCs, which accounted for the majority of sales. Dell's drop in shipments for the year is not surprising, given the company's strategic decision not to sacrifice profits by lowering prices to grab market share. In addition, a large portion of Dell's business is dependent on corporate sales, which lagged far behind consumer sales last year.

Acer, on the other hand, shipped lots of regular laptops and netbooks, inexpensive mini-laptops that were the fastest growing PC category last year. Global shipments of laptops for the company were 28% higher than 2008, which was much higher than the 20% growth rate for the market as a whole.

"Acer owes its strong notebook success to the fact that it is covering the key bases well, with a strong portfolio encompassing both regular laptops and netbooks," iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins said in a statement. Acer also managed to limit its losses in the desktop market, with shipments flat for the year, compared to a 15% drop for the entire market.

Of the other top-five vendors, Hewlett-Packard remained number one, with Lenovo finishing the year at number four, and Toshiba ranking fifth. There was no change in the rankings from the third to the fourth quarter. HP was number one, followed, in order, by Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

On a quarterly basis, Acer toppled Dell from the number two spot in the third quarter. However, being second in the last half of the year wasn't enough to displace Dell for the year.

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