Does Hewlett-Packard PC Success Hurt Apple

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Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) had a break-out quarter in its PC business. And Apple (AAPL) is hoping to take PC market share with it iMac line. The increase in AAPL computer sales is seen as critical to the company’s future.

Sales in the HPQ personal systems group (PCs) rose from $6.9 billion in the quarter a year ago to almost $9 billion. Operating income in the group more than doubled from $275 million to $519 million. It does not look like HPQ is doing much discounting to sell its PCs.

Revenue in HPQ’s critical notebook division rose from $2.8 billion to almost $4.3 billion. Demand for notebooks has been much greater that for desktops at all of the PC companies and AAPL.

DELL has not reported yet, but with HPQ’s strength in PC sales in the last quarter, it is looking tougher for AAPL to sharply increase its market shares above the 5% where it sits now.

AAPL may be making great strides in marketing Macs, but the next move up the mountain could come at a high price.

Douglas A. McIntyre