Small miracle: HP PCs outgrow Mac for Q1

Considering the barely contained disaster that the mobile and PC side of Hewlett-Packard’s business has been over the last year, today represents some welcome news: HP PCs sales grew at a faster rate during the first quarter of 2012 than Apple’s Mac sales in the U.S.

According to IDC numbers released Wednesday, HP sold 4.6 million PCs in the U.S. during the quarter, a growth rate of 6.6 percent. Apple sold roughly 1.7 million Macs, a growth rate of just 5 percent over the previous quarter.

It’s true that HP is the world’s largest producer of computers by a long shot — it has 18 percent marketshare worldwide and 28 percent in the U.S. But Apple’s computers — especially its MacBooks — have become a surprising success story for the company in the last year or so. The company’s marketshare doesn’t even register in the top five globally, but in the U.S. Apple has worked its way up to the third-largest computer maker with about a 10 percent share. And its sales growth rates have far surpassed its competition over the last few quarters — in the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple was up 18 percent while HP was down a whopping 25 percent year over year. So this last quarter was a significant improvement for HP.

Meanwhile, as expected, the rest of the market saw a bare minimum of growth — 2.3 percent worldwide. But that’s a bit more inspiring than the previous quarter, which saw a .17 percent decline in shipments from the previous year.

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