PC Trends: Notebooks Pass Desktops & Disturbing Apple Trends (AAPL, HPQ, DELL)

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The good news is that PC sales are not dead if the latest iSuppli data is accurate.  But there are some trends in which are going to revolutionize the PC industry.  We have harped on and on about all the low-cost notebooks that can be purchased for under $400.00 about this may wreck many PC and tech business models.  Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is also finding itself in a position it is not used to.

Worldwide PC unit shipments rose 15% to 79 million during the Q3period, which is still impressive considering the slowing economy.The caveat is that this is Q3 data, and it wasn’t really until Q4 whenthe bottom fell out of Joe Q. Public’s back pocket.

iSuppli is confirming that notebook computers have now surpasseddesktops and tower PC’s.  The Q3 data shows thatnotebook shipments rose nearly 40% to 38.6 million units and desktopshipments fell 1.3% to 38.5 million units.  This trend is one which hasbeen building, but this is the first such inversion.

The most notable change came from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).  It isnot a good change.  iSuppli noted that the company’s market share fellby a half-point from Q2 to 3.2%.  We had previously noted thatApple was seeing some weak sales data.  It seems that this was reflected.  Again, this is Q3 data, but itconfirms some trends.  Apple also has no laptop answer to the sub-$400laptop market.  Even though that would only hurt its margins, thesub-$400 laptop (and other more powerful models for $700) is bringingin many new laptop buyers.

The order of market share leaders remained the same withHewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) as the leader, followed by Dell Inc.(NASDAQ: DELL), Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba.  Acer is the one which sawthe largest gains.

All in all, this reflects the trends we have seen in the computercompanies.  But this is going to possibly take some enthusiasm out ofthose who have been "perma-bulls" in the Apple camp. It seems that no companies are immune from the economy.  Not even Forrest Gump’s shrimp company that Captain Dan got him invested in.

Jon C. Ogg
December 23, 2008