Apple's meteoric rise continues as a leading analyst reports the vendor has grabbed the top spot in the fourth-quarter 2011 global PC market.
According to Canalys, Apple, which recently revealed record results, has leapfrogged former leaders HP and Dell to the top spot, being one of only two vendors to grow market share in Q4. The other was Lenovo.
The figures reveal that Apple shipped more than 15 million iPads and five million Macs, representing 17 per cent of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally in Q4 and a six per cent growth in market share.
Overall, Canalys claimed, the total client PC market, including desktops, netbooks, notebooks and tablets grew 16 per cent year on year, but excluding tablets (called "pads" by Canalys), the market declined 0.4 per cent. Tablets accounted for 22 per cent of total PC shipments in the quarter.
Dell, Acer and HP all lost market share in the quarter, and HP is now in second place on the leader table, Canalys said, predicting the vendor will struggle to compete with Apple after canning its TouchPad tablet.
Tim Coulling, analyst at Canalys, said: "Currently HP is pursuing a Windows strategy for its pad portfolio, producing enterprise-focused products such as the recently launched Slate 2, until the launch of Windows 8.
"However, questions remain over Microsoft's entry into the consumer pad space. While early demonstrations of the Windows 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource-intensive," he added.
Lenovo grabbed third place and is closing the gap on HP, partly attributed to its decision to use Android for its enterprise and consumer tablet range. Dell slipped into fourth place, with Acer in fifth.
Despite Acer's drop, the vendor is banking on its new Ultrabook range, which Canalys predicts will regenerate interest in the notebook form factor.
Michael Kauh, research analyst at Canalys, said: "We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign.
"In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple's annual iPad refresh approaching."
Coulling added: "The consumerisation of IT continues to be a significant disruptive force in the PC industry, but many of the leading vendors have failed to capitalise on the trend to date.
“This year will be a pivotal year for those vendors that were slow to launch pads. It is not just the product that they need to get right, business models are equally important – driving revenue from content delivery can help vendors reach lower price points in a market that is incredibly price sensitive."
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