Direct vendor Dell has overtaken Compaq in the UK PC market for the first time, as the manufacturer suffered a drop in reseller loyalty because of its inconsistent sales strategy.
According to preliminary figures from research company IDC, the direct vendor overtook Compaq in the second quarter in terms of units shipped.
IDC's figures include sales of desktop PCs, notebooks and servers.
Dell holds an 18.7 percent share of the market, compared with 15.8 percent for the same period last year. Its PC sales recorded growth of 43.3 percent in the second quarter between 1998 and 1999.
But Compaq saw its market share slip to 15.5 percent, down from 18.7 percent in the second quarter of 1998. PC sales increased only 0.6 percent in the 12-month period.
Andy Brown, research analyst at IDC, said the main reasons for Compaq's fall from the top slot were internal organisational problems and the fact that it upset the UK channel with its move to more direct sales.
He pointed out that Compaq's notebook range had done particularly badly. "There are still questions asked of the quality of Compaq's notebooks. Growth was flat in this area," Brown added.
Along with IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Dell had capitalised on Compaq's problems and each had experienced strong second-quarter growth, he added.
"The UK PC market has turned into a fight between Compaq and Dell, but IBM did very well having sorted out its inventory problems. HP also had a very good quarter."
Although Dell is number one in unit terms, Compaq remains at the top in terms of revenue.
Brown said: "Compaq is performing in the server market. It all depends on the restructure. Michael Capellas, the company's chief executive, has a lot of work to do."
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